The Mavs committed just under $100 million to Harrison Barnes last offseason. After a strong first year, the Mavs will need Barnes to improve his all around offensive game considerably.
Harrison Barnes signed a max free agent contract with the Mavs last offseason, and quickly became worth the hefty investment after posting career highs in several major categories. While his team missed the playoffs and wasn’t much of a contending force in the Western Conference, Barnes’ improvement is a major development for a team looking to get younger and find their future core.
Barnes improvement was mostly due to his vastly developed jump shot. Every NBA fan remembers Harrison Barnes barely hitting the backboard on many of his attempts in back to back NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Barnes was a force with the mid-range jump shot as well as the three pointer. Barnes’ improvement shooting the ball is encouraging, but this coming season will be a true test of Barnes’ true abilities as a scorer.
An efficient defender and competent shooter, Barnes is a good all around player who deserves to start in the NBA. But this coming season, the Mavs need to see him become a more well-rounded offensive talent.
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Dennis Smith Jr.’s arrival should help the offense flow better, but the Mavs need Barnes to improve his ability to drive and slash considerably.
All to often a season ago, Barnes would try to cut to the rim only to see his suspect handle and footwork fail him. This is in part why Barnes regularly resorted to mid range jump shots instead of complete attacks of the rim.
This season will be a telling one for Barnes. Last year’s solid showing was a good first return on the massive investment the team made in the twenty-five-year-old, but this year is a key one to watch.
Last year, his shot simply fell more than it had in recent years, making this year his most important one yet for himself and the team.
The Mavs cannot be fooled too much by Barnes’ success from a year ago. Barnes’ play was better than expected, but his all-around game is still raw and will have to continue to improve at the same steady rate for the Mavs to feel confident in the move they made to bring Barnes in.