Matt Barnes is the kind of player you love when he is on your team but hate when he is on the other side.
Clipper fans are going to get a taste of that next season. For the past three seasons, Barnes has brought his intense, physical style of play to the Clippers (who needed it, they had been seen as soft at times). His sons were a fixture in the Clippers locker room.
This summer he got traded (to Charlotte, which moved him on to Memphis).
Barnes warned former Clipper teammate DeAndre Jordan that once the ball goes up he is not going to play nice, reports the Los Angeles Times.
“I told him, ‘Even though we’re good friends, I’m still going to foul the beep out of you when we play,'” Barnes recalled Tuesday during his introductory news conference in Memphis. “That’s just the kind of player I am. There’s no hard feelings…
“Basically coming from the enemy and now they’re the enemy,” Barnes said of the Clippers, “my kids are a little confused still. I have twin boys and they’re just like, ‘So, Daddy, do you not like DeAndre, Chris [Paul] and Blake [Griffin] no more?’ And I’m like, ‘No, they’re still my friends, it’s just they’re my enemy when the ball goes up.'”
That’s vintage Barnes. He is a perfect fit in for the “grit and grind” style of the Grizzlies. That’s the only way he knows how to play.
If you are looking for a team where it’s an advantage to foul them, the Clippers are the prime example with Jordan and now Josh Smith on the roster — Jordan shot 39.7 percent from three last season, Smith 49.8 percent. Hack-a-Clipper will be a near nightly occurrence. Television executives may want to allow an extra 30 minutes for each Clippers game because of how slow it will go with the parade to the free throw line.
The style of play is not the only reason Barnes fits in along Beale Street — he shot 36.2 percent from three last season. The Grizzlies desperately needs more threes to fall to open up the court.
Memphis will need Barnes’ toughness and shots from beyond the arc if they are going to seriously compete with the elite of the deep and improved Western Conference. An elite group that includes and improved Clippers roster even without Barnes.