This special Harrison Barnes-themed episode draws upon the perspectives of Dallas Mavericks fan Jason Gallagher, who currently serves as a multimedia editor at The Ringer, as well as Andy Liu of Warriors World, to try to determine Barnes’ ultimate potential in the NBA. After four years with the Golden State Warriors, including the final two that resulted in NBA Finals appearances, the 24-year-old forward signed a four-year max contract with the Dallas Mavericks. While Kevin Durant has taken his starting spot on the league’s most dominant team, Barnes has been tasked with carrying the injury-riddled Mavericks on his shoulders. So far, the results have been mixed. Without further ado, enjoy the show, and check out some excerpts from the episode if you’d like:
Jason Gallagher at 3:57-4:12: They’re kind of playing in a nothing-to-lose sort of mentality at this point, and so I think that him learning to develop these skills of leading a team without the pressure of having to win games is good for a young player.
6:17-6:44: “I really like Harrison on defense…and specifically Harrison when he plays the 4 he’s found a lot of success as well, especially on defense, in exploiting bigger players. He’s showing himself to be a versatile guy, and you really have to start thinking that way with Dirk [Nowitzki] on his last legs.”
12:15-13:01: “Let’s be clear. Kevin Durant specifically said he wanted to go to the Warriors. He’s going to be getting open shots now. That’s just a fact. And that is a fact that Harrison Barnes benefited from when he was with the Warriors. And now he’s with a team with far less talent. His companion 3-point shooter, the guy that he is supposed to be leaning on the most is a trash shooter right now, and that is Wesley Matthews…So Barnes is at many, many times in the game, the only scorer on that team, the only person who can create his own shot.”
17:38-18:13: “The defense has been really good. He’s been able to, like I said, switch, defend larger guys, defend smaller guys. Since Shawn Marion left, they’ve really missed that sort of guy who can defend all of those positions, and that is something that Barnes brings to Dallas that is a huge positive that people do not give him nearly enough credit for. In most cases, it’s either he or Wesley Matthews that is defending the No. 1 guy. And so when LeBron comes to town, it is going to be Harrison Barnes who is tasked to defend him, and he’s not bad.”
Andy Liu at 30:17-30:57: The thing with Barnes is he’s a huge rhythm guy…He has to get his touches in order to get the good feel for that particular game, and that’s why he looks better. That’s why in 38 minutes he plays better. Because he’s just getting the ball so much, not that they have a choice. He’s one of those guys where he looks better when he gets more touches, but you’re not a good team. And then if you want to be a good team, he’s not going to get as much touches, then he doesn’t have the same type of feel or comfort or confidence with the game itself.
37:14-38:11: “I think his lowest floor is always gonna be a really, really, really good role player no matter where he is. I think probably Vince Carter right now as a Memphis Grizzlie…He’s gonna be someone that no mater what he’s not really gonna make mistakes out there. He’s gonna make open shots…his worst-case scenario is probably that guy that can get to the rim here and then, make the defense semi-honest, can make open shots, open 3s, solid defender, kind of makes all the right plays, doesn’t really screw anything up. Basically like a sixth, seventh man that you can trust that will finish games if he’s hot, be a solid NBA player.”
39:48-40:32: “He was there for four years and these guys just kind of said, ‘Hey, we don’t need this guy anymore.’ They were just all-out recruiting him [Kevin Durant] during the season. This team wasn’t a scrubby team. This team won 73 regular-season games and was one win away from the second straight NBA championship…They were that close. That’s something he took personal I think, which is fine because he’s a human. He understands why they did it, but at the same it’s like, ‘Screw these guys. These guys didn’t want me back,’ and, ‘they didn’t want to pay me.’ So that was a very odd and interesting ending to Barnes’ career as a Warrior.”