Harrison Barnes, the rookie out of North Carolina, was up and down at NBA Summer League. Against the Lakers he was aggressive, attacking the rim on his way to 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He showed a real chemistry with Klay Thompson. But then the next night Barnes would come out passive and the game ran past him, and he would go 5-of-17. He finished the league averaging 16.8 points per game but on 39.5 percent shooting.
And that was against Summer League competition. Things are about to get a lot tougher.
Barnes is on the wing for Golden State, where Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush can already play. And they are going to hit their shots. Which puts the pressure on Barnes, something Matt Steinmetz breaks down at CSNBayArea.com.
Barnes’ strengths seem to be his size, his athleticism and his ability to shoot the basketball in certain situations. He’s not the type of player who can consistently create his own shot – and it remains to be seen whether he’ll become one – but he does have the ability to elevate after one dribble and shoot over some defenders….
How much Barnes plays will probably be determined in large part by whether or not he can make shots consistently. He’s said to be a pretty good shooter, but his numbers in college weren’t that impressive: 43 percent from the field, 35 percent from 3-point range in 75 total games.
It’s simplistic and obvious to say “he has to make shots to get on the court” but that doesn’t make it any less true in this case because his defense is not going to win him minutes. That’s not his area of focus. He’s going to have to put the ball in the basket to see the court, because Rush and Jefferson will hit their shots.
Barnes is the long-term guy at the three for Golden State. But long term does not mean he starts or gets big minutes next season.