Dallas Mavericks: Why I’m Not Sold on Harrison Barnes
With the free agency period finally over, the Dallas Mavericks have emerged from the dust with a unique situation that has left many fans, myself included, questioning the signings.
The Dallas Mavericks have had a whirlwind free agency that has left many fans in shock at how quickly everything fell apart and how equally swiftly everything came back together. I wish I could get used to this considering it seems like we do it every free agency but, sadly, it still catches me off guard.
The strikeout of Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside along with the severing of ties between the Mavs and Chandler Parsons left a broken team with no way to turn. Then, out of nowhere, either heaven or hell convinced Kevin Durant to leave his home in Oklahoma City to head towards the Bay and the powerhouse Golden State Warriors.
For most teams this would be viewed as a punch to the gut seeing as the Warriors were a single win away from a championship before Durant joined the squad. This would all but seal this team as a dynasty for years to come.
However, the Dallas Mavericks sought to benefit from the change and immediately signed Harrison Barnes and traded for Andrew Bogut to fill out the remainder of our starting lineup. This is great because Dallas actually got someone to come join the team but it opened up some questions.
Is Harrison Barnes ready for the role he is about to earn?
Harrison Barnes is a player that brings far more question marks than exclamation points in my mind. Be it the fear of young players or the worries accompanied with any Warriors not named Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson or Draymond Green, my faith in Barnes is minimal.
A large portion of this stems from the fact that Barnes is going to need to step his game up, plain and simple. Many coaches and scouts believe that he is ready to make this jump but that does not mean it is a done deal.
As the 4th option in Golden State, Barnes rarely drew the attention of the defense. This does not mean he was incapable of doing his job but it did make it easier. Now with the Mavericks, it is likely that he will be our 2nd or 3rd option offensively or even first if he is capable of it. This is a big jump from being a player that sits on the wing to a focal point of an offense.
If Barnes is ready to make the jump then the Mavs got a steal of a deal with the 24-year old but if he is not, we are paying a lot of money to a role player.
Will he be able to elevate his offense?
We all know that Barnes is a capable enough player on the defensive end. He is long and athletic and can keep up with the best of the wings fairly well. This will be great for Dallas who will have two players on the wings ready to step up big time defensively.
But Barnes has not shown any true potential offensively in his time in Golden State. Changing the scenery and the teammates around him could make a big impact but it is all question marks still. We need to see the elevated play before I will be willing to jump on the bandwagon.
A pick and roll based team like Dallas will definitely need Barnes to be ready to handle the ball and attack the rim. If he can’t do those, he may be lost in Rick Carlisle’s offense quickly.
Does his defense trump Chandler Parsons’ offense?
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Quite simply, no. The Mavericks have had issues in the past on the defensive end but we have overcome them with above average offense that has propelled us into the playoffs. Now it is looking like the Mavs are going to need to rely heavily on Dirk Nowitzki to provide offense for the team as Wesley Matthews, Andrew Bogut, and Barnes are all mostly defensive minded players.
Add that along with the fact that the Mavericks will have players like Justin Anderson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Salah Mejri coming off the bench and Dallas has plenty of defense available when needed. But where is the scoring coming from?
Chandler Parsons was not an excellent player for Dallas a majority of the time he was here, but we did see that he is a capable scorer when healthy. I understand that injury history plays a big part in the decision to offer big money to Barnes instead of Parsons, but team needs should also be considered.
Is $21 million too much for a guy that averaged less than 12 points per game?
It seems like this is a question that needs to be asked with all the big time contracts thrown around the last few weeks. People like to justify the Harrison Barnes signing saying that if Ryan Anderson is getting $20 million per year, Harrison Barnes at $21 is a steal.
What people fail to realize is that Anderson averaged 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game last season. That compared to Barnes 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists is a fairly reasonable difference.
Obviously there are more aspects to the game than are shown in statistics and most people would agree that Barnes is a better option than Ryan Anderson, but it is still interesting to see the money going to a guy who is all potential and no proof.
Did the Mavericks have a choice?
This is a hard question for me to answer. I was a firm believer that Dallas should re-sign Parsons and keep him around both for potential and some continuity that we have sorely missed the last half decade. Injury concerns were definitely there but I personally believe they were overblown.
Once the bridge was burned with Parsons, it was clear that Dallas was going to throw everything at Barnes in hopes that he would choose to join the Mavericks team. As the best option available and a young player with high potential, money had to be a second thought when going after the restricted free agent.
So, in the end, the Dallas Mavericks were forced to offer big money for Barnes just as they were two years ago for Chandler Parsons in Houston. It could work out for us in the long run or it may bite us in the butt. Only time will tell.
Next: Dallas Mavericks: Saying Goodbye to Last Year's Players
Harrison Barnes is excited to be in Dallas and the organization and fans are equally excited to have him here. We are eager to see what kind of reformation he can bring to the team but, as of now, my skepticism is taking over for the young forward.