In the offseason the Dallas Mavericks let free agent Chandler Parsons leave for the Memphis Grizzlies, instead signing forward Harrison Barnes. What if they were swapped?
As I sat watching the San Antonio Spurs versus Memphis Grizzlies underwhelming and lopsided playoff matchup, continually procrastinating on the homework which would never get done, a thought popped into my head. What if rather than letting Chandler Parsons walk in free agency, the Dallas Mavericks re-signed the walking knee-injury, and accordingly the Mavs’ Southwest Division rival Memphis snagged Harrison Barnes?
Barnes and Parsons will forever be compared due to the circumstances of their free agency and the fact that they play similar roles. The comparison isn’t worth much currently, as Parsons has been severely underperforming in his first year in Memphis while Barnes thrived despite the negative feedback after his signing. Parsons averaged 6.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in the 2016-17 season playing in only 34 games, while HB posted 19.2 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in his first season as a go-to scorer.
In this hypothetical situation, lets put Barnes onto the Grizzlies for their playoff matchup versus the Spurs, which so far has been a snoozefest (besides Fiddle’s awesome rant) with two Memphis blowouts putting them down 0-2 in the series. Could he turn the tide for the Grizz?
I personally think he could make a huge impact. Barnes fit with Memphis would work exceptionally well, as he could play the stretch 4 in place of Jamychal Green, and slide up to SF in lineups with Zach Randolph. Two of the Grizzlies top weakness are three point shooting and overall scoring ability, which the Black Falcon could provide.
Barnes shot 35% from deep for the season, and showed that he has an elite post-up and face-up game in 1v1 situations. He could take pressure off of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol with his scoring and give them more space by dragging defenders out of the paint just by sitting in a corner.
Tony Allen is the Grizzlies primary wing defender, and his absence has certainly been felt in the first two games of the series. The Spurs star Kawhi Leonard has been able to run rampant, averaging 34.5 points in two games. Barnes isn’t quite an elite defender, however his unique combination of lower body strength, rangy wingspan, and excellent footwork makes him a well above-average defender.
He could matchup well against Leonard, forcing the Spurs to find more of their offense elsewhere. Also, a potential lineup with both Barnes and Green could make for a very versatile defensive front which could make handling the pick and roll far easier.
I’m not quite confident enough to claim that this move would allow Memphis to win the series, however I would lay a bet that it would be more competitive and most likely go to at least 6 games, if not 7.
HB is a special player who would be far more coveted on the free agency market this past offseason had teams known what he was capable of, and I for one will simply be glad that the Mavs ended up with the better player between Barnes and Dallas fan favorite Chandler Parsons (lol). Memphis and San Antonio tip-off Game 3 Thursday at 8:30 CT.