Joke’s On You, Harrison Barnes is a Gold Medalist


With all the jokes and criticism aside, newly signed Dallas Maverick, Harrison Barnes, is a gold medalist after Team USA beat Serbia on Sunday.

It was just over a month ago when the Dallas Mavericks struck out on the big fish in free agency and disaster had struck again. Could Dallas recover and put a competitive enough team together to keep Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas for the rest of his career?

Then Kevin Durant made his decision to join the Golden State Warriors and suddenly, the Mavs found themselves capitalizing on the opportunity.

Taking Andrew Bogut off the Warriors’ hands for literally nothing was a no brainer, but handing Harrison Barnes a max contract over four years brought much criticism.

Not only was Barnes a role player and the fourth/fifth best option on the Warriors, he just came off a horrific playoff run where is poor shooting was magnified in the Finals. As a reward, fans laughed as Dallas handed him $94 million over four years.

Then it was time for the Rio Olympics.

When the final roster for Team USA was announced, finding Barnes’ name on it was a surprise to some, but the 24-year old had done enough to show Jerry Colangelo and the gang that he was worth a spot on the team.

But to any fan (with common sense) who had seen the final roster going into exhibition play, you knew it was going to be tough for Barnes to find minutes behind Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George at the three spot.

From the five exhibition games in the United States, all the way to Rio, the jokes and criticism flooded social media making fun of Barnes and his lack of playing time.

Even current NBA players like Brandon Jennings felt the need to chime in…

There is one thing to crack a joke about the lack of playing time, but to actually think its a nod against him as a player is just ludicrous…like Jason Concepcion at The Ringer did.

“This is weird to say about guy who just signed a four-year, $94.4 million contract, but it’s been a bruising few months for Harrison Barnes. His NBA Finals shooting drought was so excruciating to watch that it took me an hour to work up the mental fortitude to look up his stats (65 total points, 25-for-71 from the floor, 35 percent shooting, a minus-32) .There’s probably no worse way to brick a contract year that doesn’t involve criminal proceedings, and it took place on the biggest stage in the sport.”

What was Barnes supposed to do, take minutes from George, Durant, or Anthony? Some Mavs fans might be higher on Barnes than many, but everyone knows he’s not on the same level as those all-stars.

Perhaps my favorite comment about Barnes from Jason Concepcion was this.

“The 2016 men’s basketball team struggled with defense and a lack of consistent 3-point shooting. Yet Barnes, former member of the Lineup of Death, champion, member of a team that won 73 regular season games, could not get on the floor. That is bad times.”

Bad times? Last I checked, Harrison Barnes just won an Olympic Gold Medal after signing for $94 million…if that is the definition of hard times, sign me up.

From the famous Dream Team to the 2012 team in London, the prestigious roster consisted of just twelve players to represent their country on one of, if not the biggest, stages in all of sports. TWELVE players.

Yeah, would Harrison Barnes be on the team if everyone decided to play? Absolutely not. But could you say the same about Draymond Green and Jimmy Butler? Probably even DeMarcus Cousins and Kyrie Irving? Absolutely.

Back in August 2015, Team USA held it’s mini-camp in Las Vegas where 34 players in the NBA were invited to attend and compete for a spot on the final roster. Obviously, only twelve made the team, but what about the other players? What about the non-superstars that didn’t make the team?

Looking at the wing spots, players such as Chandler Parsons, Gordon Hayward, Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, and Rudy Gay were players that was invited to the camp but did not make the final roster. There was also the Select Team that had Devin Booker, C.J. McCollum, Jabari Parker, and others.

But hey, Harrison Barnes making the team means nothing right?

We all knew going into Rio that Barnes was not going to be hitting the court very much behind a loaded cast on the wing, but what we didn’t know would be how his ex-teammate, Draymond Green, would be spending a lot of time beside him on the bench.

Barnes averaged just TWO minutes less a game than Green as they both averaged under 10 minutes a game. DeMar Derozan, who’s minutes was under 10 for most of the Olympics, rose his minutes to just 11 a game after the gold medal match. So Barnes wasn’t lonely on the bench for the majority of the Olympics.

Next: 5 Questions I Have For the New Look Mavericks

All I am trying to say is that if you are having fun joking and cracking on Harrison Barnes for not getting playing time in Rio, the joke is on you.

Barnes was one of TWELVE Americans to win an Olympic gold medal in basketball and he (along with all Dallas Mavericks’ fans) should be proud of it.