Harrison Barnes on Warriors landing Kevin Durant: ‘I guess I died’

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The Warriors have been anointed so resolutely, it’s almost easy to forget there was a time before Kevin Durant played for Golden State.

Remember that guy Harrison Barnes, who started at small forward for a championship and 73-win season?


Marcus Thompson II of The Mercury News:

It took coach Steve Kerr to go off script and interrupt the end of Durant’s introductory news conference, thanking the departed Warriors, for Barnes to be remembered.

“I guess I died,” Barnes said with a shoulder shrug, before breaking into a smile. He then explained why he was prepared for his departure.

“Dwight trade rumors. Kevin Love trade rumors. Kevin Durant … oh, that one happened. There’s been a few instances where you consider what might happen. I was just more so glad to be there as long as I was.”

There are segments who overrate and underrate Barnes — and not enough who properly appreciate his ability.

Too many still see Barnes as the prospective go-to player he was hyped as when Golden State drafted him No. 7 in 2012. They saw him stuck behind Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, unable to show his full potential. And while Barnes can probably do a little more, they’ll be disappointed if they’re counting on him to be the No. 1 option.

But too many others blame Barnes for not living up to his billing. Just because he’s not a high-end scorer doesn’t mean he failed. His ability to defend bigger opponents inside and improved 3-point shooting opened the Warriors’ death lineup.

Obviously, Golden State did well to upgrade from Barnes to Durant. But that’s far more Durant compliment than Barnes insult — or at least should be.