Mars Reel

Bench role no problem for Harrison Barnes


via Sporting News

Things are looking up for the Golden State Warriors. They have quick, young players and the league’s best shooter. They still got a good free agent even if they missed out on Dwight Howard.

Andre Iguodala is another wingman, and one of the elite defenders in that position. Something the Warriors don’t have a lot of.

This will relegate Harrison Barnes, a fast-rising star, to the bench. Yet it’s not a problem.

Now about the sleeved jerseys…

per Sporting News:


As a rookie last year, small forward Harrison Barnes played 81 regular-season games. All 81 of those games were starts, and he was the starter in all 12 games of the Golden State Warriors’ impressive playoff run.

That is probably going to change, though. In the offseason, the Warriors signed wing manAndre Iguodala and though Barnes said that he has not spoken to coaches yet about what his role will be next year, it is more than likely that Iguodala will take over the starting small forward job. That would mean Barnes would go to the bench.

And, he says, he is OK with that.

“My role will remain the same—do whatever it takes to win,” Barnes told Sporting News on Monday. “Whether it is starting, coming off the bench. There are plenty of minutes to be divided up among everybody. I just have to make sure I am ready.”

What is more important, Barnes said, is that the Warriors did not rest on their laurels following last year’s breakout 47-35 season that saw them reach the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, where they lost to the eventual conference-champion San Antonio Spurs in six games.

Instead, the Warriors overhauled the roster while keeping the core of Barnes, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, David Lee and Andrew Bogut intact. The Warriors lost some key contributors—Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry—but added Marreese Speights and Toney Douglas, and figure to get bigger contributions from second-year player Draymond Green. Guard Kent Bazemore, too, has been one of the better players in this year’s Summer League. The team has also reportedly signed center Jermaine O’Neal, to give the team a backup center while Festus Ezeli recovers from knee surgery (out for six-to-nine months), but that deal has not yet been announced.

Even if the comes off the bench, Barnes probably will up his production now that he is more comfortable in the league. He was solid in the regular season (9.2 points, 4.1 rebounds) but excelled in the postseason, averaging 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds as the Warriors adjusted to an injury to Lee. With the new additions, the Warriors could land near the top of the West.

“It’s great,” Barnes said. “It shows our ownership’s commitment to wanting to be great, the fact that they’re going out and still pursuing players, not being complacent at all, even with the season that we had. I am looking forward to it.”

As for his starting job, it is possible that the Warriors will keep him at small forward and start Iguodala at shooting guard, with Thompson going to the bench. But Barnes said he is not itching for answers from the Warriors brass, not seeking assurances that he will remain in the starting five.

“No need for that,” he said, smiling.

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