Harrison Barnes is the key for Golden State

Are the Golden State Warriors truly destined to win the Larry O'Brien trophy this season? Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
Victory is sweet, even if you’ve got three more to go. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

When you talk about The Golden State Warriors you’re quick to name Stephen Curry the leagues MVP and Klay Thompson. Both combined to lead the league in scoring as a back court, while leading the league in three point shooting and three point percentage. The Splash Brothers are dynamic players and NBA young statesmen. But the quiet assassin is in Harris Barnes. Harrison scored a quiet 11 points, 5 rebounds, and an assist. Now, when you look at his stats it looks as if he was only a participant and a helper to the Splash Brothers. His game is much deeper than just being a sidekick. Last night’s game showed how important he is. He was matched up with the league’s scoring leader, James Harden, who scored 14 while being guarded by Barnes, but had a combined 33 overall. He can guard small, faster guards and forwards. Corey Brewer, Trevor Ariza, and D. Motiejunas scored a combined 17 points.

Barnes’ shot selection is efficient from the field and it was clear that head coach Steve Kerr didn’t want to take him off the court tonight. Barnes saw some minutes at power forward when the Warriors opted to go small with Andrew Bogut in foul trouble, so he looks poised to play big minutes for the rest of this series. Barnes is the Warriors’ X-factor, and he finished Sunday’s win with a plus/minus rating of plus-18. He does a little bit of everything for Golden State, and through the first five games of the Playoffs he’s compiled averages of 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 three-pointers, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. Those numbers, however, aren’t really cutting it for ownership in standard leagues. In eight games since March 21, Barnes is now averaging 8.3 points on 40.7 percent shooting, with 0.9 threes, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals. He’s a more enticing fantasy option when the Warriors rest players like Draymond Green, Klay Thompson or Andre Iguodala, but he’s obviously had a tough slog lately.