Harrison Barnes is Liking the Move Back to the Three

Dallas Mavericks Harrison Barnes Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Harrison Barnes Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Rick Carlisle continues to experiment and this time it is moving Harrison Barnes back to his natural position at the three spot.

In high school at Ames High in Ames, Iowa, Harrison Barnes was a three next to Doug McDermott at the four.

At Chapel Hill, Harrison Barnes was a three next to John Henson and Tyler Zeller for the Tar Heels.

After being drafted by the Golden State Warriors, he was a three next to David Lee, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut.

After signing a contract with the Dallas Mavericks in the summer of 2016, Harrison Barnes came in as a three but eventually turned into a four. When Dallas decided to turn away from the Nowitzki/Bogut experiment, it resulted in Barnes moving to the four with only one center on the court.

Some thought this would change coming into the season with Nerlens Noel coming to training camp, but Carlisle doubled-down and moved Noel to the bench, thus leaving Barnes at the four and Nowitzki at the center spot.

Now, with a couple of months left in the season and only 19 wins under their belt, it’s time to go back to Harrison being a three.

“The thing we have to look at is positions,” Rick Carlisle said after practice last week.

“The majority of his time the last two years have come at the four. When we signed him we thought he was a three that could play four. We have to get him three reps and see exactly what it looks like over some kind of extended period of time,” Carlisle said.

This has come with the addition of Dwight Powell to the starting lineup at the end of January. This shifted both Barnes and Matthews back down to their original positions at the three and the two. Carlisle would go on to talk specifically about getting Barnes and Smith Jr. back playing their natural positions together.

When I asked Barnes if he likes the move back to the three, this was his answer.

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"“Absolutely. Playing the three is easier for me. I think it helps us in terms of our rebounding. We have been going against teams that have bigger lineups and have bigger guys. With Dwight being in there it doesn’t mean he has to be a shot blocker but it gives us a roll presence on offense and better space on defense,” Barnes said."

Since Smith Jr. and Barnes are the cornerstones of the franchise at this point, seeing what Barnes looks like next to an athletic power forward could be a nod to potential draft prospect fits.

When looking at some of the top prospects in the draft, players like Marvin Bagley III, Jaren Jackson Jr. and even Michael Porter Jr. are all guys who could come in right away in the same type of role that Dwight Powell is currently playing.

Carlisle knows what he has in Barnes at the four if that is the direction he wants to go next season, but now he needs to see what Harrison looks like back at the three with Dennis Smith Jr. in Dallas.

Next: Stotts, Casey Both Having Great Seasons

The experiments continue to take place down the stretch in Dallas and that is perfectly ok.