Dallas Mavericks: Harrison Barnes entering crucial season

Dallas Mavericks Harrison Barnes (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Harrison Barnes (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Harrison Barnes has been the centerpiece of the Dallas Mavericks since he joined them, but now offseason additions have changed his role dramatically.

The more that the Dallas Mavericks invest in young players that they see as cornerstones for the future, the more valuable Harrison Barnes becomes. Not only do the Mavs want him to mentor the young players and be another veteran presence for a young team, but Barnes is also becoming more valuable on the court as the team gets younger.

Barnes is best suited to be the third or fourth option on a championship team. With Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, DeAndre Jordan and others finally in the picture, that is exactly what Barnes has evolved into in Dallas. In Golden State, Barnes was the team’s primary role player after Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

While Smith Jr. and Doncic aren’t the splash brothers yet, the Mavs are giving Barnes a similar job. It is his responsibility to complement the bigger guns on the team both offensively and defensively. Fortunately for the Mavs, Barnes is among the best role players in the NBA.

It sounds silly to rank the league’s best third and fourth options, but the Mavs have built their roster in a way that can maximize Barnes’s skill set.

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Long-term piece?

Entering his third season of a four-year max contract that he signed for just under $100 million, this is Barnes’s year to prove to the Mavs that he deserves a spot on the team for the long term.

Cap space will not be a problem for the Mavericks next year, but the team will have some difficult choices to make when it comes to the following summer.

As they are every year, the Mavericks will be hoping to be active in free agency next summer. But if they are able to bring in a high-priced free agent, and re-sign Deandre Jordan, there may not be enough remaining the following summer to retain Barnes, even with his bird rights.

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This upcoming campaign will be a crucial one for Barnes to prove his worth to the Mavs. Before too long, the organization will need to decide how much they want to prioritize Barnes and how much they want to pursue other role players. It all kicks off in just over two weeks.