30Q | Articles

30Q: Can Harrison Barnes improve on last season?

After a career year, can Harrison Barnes find ways to continue to improve?

Harrison Barnes had a career year last season. His scoring average wasn't the highest it's ever been, but when we look at the entire picture, it was undeniably the best year of Barnes' career. 16.1 points is the highest Barnes has averaged outside of his time in Dallas, but his time with the Mavericks saw a much higher shooting volume and lower efficiency.

Barnes' 49.7% FG% was the highest of his career, and Barnes managed that while still taking 11 shots per game. His eFG% of 57.5 was a career best. Barnes also had career highs in rebounds (6.6) and assists (3.5), while also providing the team with solid defense and the ability to stretch the floor (39.1% from 3 on 4.4 attempts per game).

In short, Barnes did everything you'd want him to do. So where does he go from here?

Obviously we hope that Barnes can at least maintain that same level of production, and there's no reason to suspect he can't. None of his numbers are absurd outliers from his career production, he simply got a little better across the board. At 29 years old, Barnes is still conceivably in his prime and we shouldn't expect dramatic decline for at least a few years. Given his basketball intelligence and work ethic, I'm not concerned about regression.

Can Barnes do more for the Kings? He could score more points, but that's not really what the Kings need from him on a night-to-night basis. He could be a more disruptive defender, but that applies across the roster and Barnes is far from the worst defender.

It's possible that we've seen the best we're going to see from Barnes, and all we can hope for now is to maintain that same production. But Barnes is one King who doesn't have a glaring weakness. If Barnes continues to provide well-rounded production while being a stable force in the locker room and a positive force in the community, I'll be perfectly happy.

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deepshot22
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September 14, 2021 8:52 am

Hard to believe he is 29. Seems like he has been in the league for 2 decades. I see his minutes and stats decreasing some but his overall efficiency remaining the same.

Can we just trade for Ben Simmons yet?

LongLivePeteCarril
September 14, 2021 8:57 am
Reply to  deepshot22

I agree across the board. Good basketball player, class act, excellent vet to mentor our youth. His wisdom makes him seem older. Hope he stays healthy and is still a King when the Simmons trade goes down.

austinracer999
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September 16, 2021 12:00 pm
Reply to  deepshot22

Also in amazement that he’s only 29. Why’d I think he was a lot older?

Kingsguru21
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September 14, 2021 9:01 am

If Barnes just does what he did last season over the next 2 years, than he’s a good value player.

Seems to be a simple equation to me.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
SMF-PDXConnection
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September 14, 2021 9:43 am

I just want to know why Will and Youngman are teasing us so badly about Kings news on Twitter.

jwalker1395
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September 14, 2021 9:45 am

I understand many want to put him at the 3 since he’s the only person on the roster who could play that position effectively, but Barnes has demonstrated time and again that his best position is as a stretch-4 with opportunistic usage on the offensive end. From that position he can stretch the floor, switch on defense, and provide a steady veteran presence on either side of the ball.

I’d like to see the Kings start to optimize their pieces now that the long term roster is starting to come more into focus (Barnes and Holmes frontcourt, Fox and Hali backcourt). We just need that starting caliber 3 to pull everything together, which could maybe be had given some maneuvering with the loose trade pieces we have (Buddy, Bagley, TT, the prospects and picks).

bearcatjack
September 14, 2021 12:38 pm
Reply to  jwalker1395

I agree with you. We do need an above caliber wing. As a possibility what about a trade with buddy and bagley to the warriors foAndrew Wiggings. Money works. Years work.He has worked hard on is defense.

jwalker1395
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September 14, 2021 2:30 pm
Reply to  bearcatjack

I feel like the idea of Wiggins sucks much more than the application. He’s a young high volume scorer who can play league average defense on the wing. That’s kind of our ideal player right now, right?

bearcatjack
September 14, 2021 3:35 pm
Reply to  jwalker1395

Another really good wing is the Rockets OG Anunoby. One of the best wing defenders in the NBA. He can defend almost all positions and can also score. He does have an escalating salary so something might be worked out.

murraytant
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September 14, 2021 5:03 pm
Reply to  bearcatjack

ok, now some talking. Kings passed on OG to take Justin Jackson a few years ago. Traded down from 10 and took Jackson + Harry and passed on OG.
I like him but not for both Buddy and Bagley.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 14, 2021 6:16 pm
Reply to  bearcatjack

Isn’t OG on the Raptors? Or did I miss a trade? I’m not sure he’s available though. My understanding is that the Raptors are moving forward with a VanVleet, OG, Barnes, Siakam core. While that kinda looks like OG, Barnes, Siakam, even Precious looks like a log jam, they’re all pretty versatile and can probably go from 2 (OG, Barnes) to 5 (all of them) in various rotations.

Kingsguru21
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September 15, 2021 10:27 am

He’s still listed on Toronto’s main website so one could reasonably assume he’s still a Raptor.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
murraytant
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September 14, 2021 5:01 pm
Reply to  bearcatjack

Hard pass.
Wiggins is like cotton candy-looks good, tastes good but done in 5 minutes and not much there.
This proposal sounds like a dump of 2 guys “we” don’t like

BestHyperboleEver
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September 14, 2021 6:17 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Yeah, I have no interest in Wiggins unless he comes with other valuable pieces/picks.

jwalker1395
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September 14, 2021 7:15 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I just think it’s relatively good value if Buddy and Bagley come out with more of the same this season, and Wiggins fills a position of need.

RikSmits
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September 14, 2021 10:05 am

Did he also have a career year on defense?

Kangz_Landing
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September 14, 2021 11:15 am
Reply to  Greg

The ole eye test vs advanced stats debate.

A regular popcorn consumer for me in these comment sections.

Barnes was beloved by Popovich on the US team and was wanted at the trade deadline, if you believe in reports, for a reason. He’s a positive for this team.

RikSmits
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September 14, 2021 11:23 am
Reply to  Greg

Well, those stats do show something. Holmes had better stats in these specific categories, for instance.

Here are some other stats.
Harrison Barnes – Stats & Analytics | CraftedNBA

IMO, it’s a bit misleading to make a sweeping statement like “a career year” and focus completely on one end of the court, with the exception of two short sentences.

Also, how much is offense impacted by team offense? Or by the lack of focus on D?

BestHyperboleEver
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September 14, 2021 6:19 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

He played his usual defense. A reliable average at multiple positions. Which would make him a slightly above average defender overall, IMO. He isn’t going to elevate your defense much, but he isn’t going to hurt it either.

Kangz_Landing
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September 14, 2021 11:02 am

Is it far-fetched to ask Barnes to be more aggressive? He’s the 2nd best scorer so why not take the 2nd most shots every night?

He was 4th on the team in shots per game behind obviously Fox, but Buddy and then MARVIN BAGLEY (?!?!).

He averaged 19 ppg his first 2 seasons on Dallas on about 16 shots per game, and this year he avged 11 per game. Now take a better, stronger Barnes who has eliminated the mid range shot from his game, which attributed to his inefficient rep in Dallas, and now has feasted in the paint, the post and from 3 and tell me with 5-6 more of these shots per game and a higher usage rate, Barnes can’t average 20 ppg.

Why is 20 ppg for Barnes so important? The point was raised above that the Kings don’t need him to be a scorer,, but I think they really do and it should be a point of emphasis for this team’s improvement. While not the be all end all of success of course, when Barnes scored 20 or more last season the Kings were 14-8, and when he shot 15 or more times, something that only happened a shockingly low 5 TIMES, the Kings were 4-1.

I know and understand the argument that Barnes works as a low volume scorer and higher attempts might dampen efficiency but Barnes has transformed his offense to fit the NBA and benefit this team the most. I don’t think he will be more aggressive unless it is a point of emphasis for the team but if he does, he should have his best year yet.

Kosta
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September 14, 2021 12:16 pm
Reply to  Kangz_Landing

After Fox, I’m guessing Buddy takes the most shots?

Maybe if Barnes takes some of those, Buddy will have to be more selective with his shots.

andy_sims
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September 14, 2021 2:55 pm
Reply to  Kosta

A career 40% shooter from distance should be taking damned near any open shot that he can get. If he can eliminate some of the non-shot-clock related forced shots, he ought to have the green light.

I’m also encouraged by his improved ability at facilitating the offense from time to time. If he can average half an assist/hockey assist for every forced shot he doesn’t take, that really takes him to another level.

Kosta
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September 14, 2021 3:51 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Absolutely. Yeah, what you mentioned are the type of shots I hope he can eliminate/be more selective about.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
murraytant
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September 14, 2021 5:05 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Buddy, selective? Any shot is a good one.
I actually like Buddy but he is not selective except: “I get, I touch, I select, I let fly”
But he can shoot the ball.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 14, 2021 6:21 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I’d love to see him get back to his constant-movement-catch-and-shoot-spot-up-on-the-break style. Honestly, if he isn’t putting up a shot on the CnS or a single escape dribble, he should be immediately moving the ball and sprinting to his next spot.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 14, 2021 11:27 am

I feel Barnes can remain very effective as the Kings starting SF/PF, but only if the talent around him improves. Ideally he is your 4th banana. on a good team where he doesn’t need the be a primary scorer. Truth be told, he’d be ideal on the current Warriors team.

All that being said, I love him on the Kings for his quiet composure, lunch pail production on both ends of the floor, and solid locker presence. His contract is perfectly fair and declining. I feel the Kings should hang onto him unless there a swing for fences talent that is to be acquired.

eddie41
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September 15, 2021 6:19 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I agree with most of this, except I think he has shown his offense is good enough, with efficiency and versatility, to be a third option offensively. I would trust him to pick his spots, when to be more aggressive, when to attack a mismatch, etc. It’s great having him on the floor. Hope he continues playing well.

1951
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September 14, 2021 12:10 pm

Ben Simmons can make him a little bit better.

Kosta
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September 14, 2021 12:12 pm

Ah, thought you’d said “Improv” on last season. Sorry.
comment image

(rest in peace, Norm)

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
KingOfTheMonsters
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September 14, 2021 12:19 pm
Reply to  Kosta

shit that sucks.
One of the few comics who retained his gonads after Trump was elected.

1951
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September 14, 2021 12:24 pm

That’s where you went on the news of his death?
comment image

KingOfTheMonsters
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September 15, 2021 8:29 am
Reply to  1951

Sure. Dude took pride in being the guy who shouts, “The emperor has no clothes.”
He never bought in to politically correct censorship. Sometimes he wasn’t funny; most times he was. But more than anything he spoke up to the hypocrisy of the ruling classes, whether they be on the right or left.
His take on OJ and celebrity culture was spot on, and not popular at the time with the establishment.
He didn’t disintegrate into pathetic half men like Jimmy Kimmel or Stephen Colbert who shamelessly prop up the corrupt, elite establishment. He would never praise black lists and write off half the nation as crazed racists like they have. He never wished death on a large swath of the populace as they have.
His integrity in regards to speaking to power was on par with George Carlin, though he was not as funny.
Colbert was a clever, witty guy at one time. He’s a mouthpiece now for the corrupt elite. That is sad.
I think MacDonald would appreciate that his courage to stand up to the bullshit is being remembered after his passing.
As it is said so often on this site, your mileage may vary.
But as I often notice in this era of tolerance and diversity, diversity of thought is an illusion.

She is a hotty.

1951
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September 15, 2021 8:51 am

comment image

Carl
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September 15, 2021 8:52 am

Lot of cognitive dissonance here.

Jimmy Kimmel or Stephen Colbert who shamelessly prop up the corrupt, elite establishment.

A quote, unquote “billionaire” who becomes president of the most powerful country in the world isn’t “the elite?” Okay.

Dude took pride in being the guy who shouts, “The emperor has no clothes.”…His integrity in regards to speaking to power

Is that different than those two individuals did in regards to “the elite” over the last five years? Or is the issue that you don’t happen to agree with them? Just looking for a little logical consistency.

But as I often notice in this era of tolerance and diversity, diversity of thought is an illusion.

Diversty is accepting things about people that they can’t change, not accepting ideas and actions that harm other people.

And I say all that as a person who often, often disagrees with Twitter social justice orthodoxy.

Last thing on this – in what I’ve seen, Norm MacDonald was rarely political, really didn’t do race-based comedy, and rarely made groups of people the butt of the joke. I’m not sure where the anti-politically correct thing comes from in the first place.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carl
murraytant
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September 14, 2021 12:12 pm

He did seem ( eye test) to have a solid year- more efficient. Can’t get his own shot so much but opportunistic. He should be 4th or 5th best player on real good team.
I like Hali and Mitchell but neither is going to be a big time scoring option. One is a do everything guy and the other a defender. Kings still need big time scoring guy- and this is not Barnes. Right now require big game from Fox and contributions from others. Need a first or second consistent scoring guy: like CJ, J. Murray, etc. With 2 consistent scorers then don’t have to rely on all the others. Barnes will be one of the others.

He may drop off a bit from last year but anything close for next couple f years is great.

SexyNapear
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September 14, 2021 12:16 pm

Quality player who has improved his game. And Walton basically runs nothing for him. But I’m not sure he moves the needle on Kings timeline.

markdog333
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September 17, 2021 6:29 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

I just wanted to point out that I can read your username without a shudder.

Marty
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September 14, 2021 12:41 pm

Of course he can. Anything is possible in the City of Off-season Transformations.

1951
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September 14, 2021 12:44 pm
Reply to  Marty

In the offseason we can create anything we can think of, like Aslan singing a song!

1951
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September 15, 2021 7:34 am
Reply to  1951

Sheesh. Y’all need to read a book or ten.

Someone once told me to never argue with anyone whose TV is larger than their book collection. I disagreed with that advice but I didn’t argue with him because his plasma screen was fucking huge!

Last edited 1 year ago by 1951
andy_sims
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September 14, 2021 2:35 pm

It may be tough to define improvement for Barnes in some ways, because I think that his role will be a bit different than last season.

My hope is that with a back line that has better defenders, Barnes will be pulled out of position less often to cover a botched defensive switch, or when ballhandlers blow by the guards (which I’m also hoping will be less of a problem).

In larger lineups with Barnes at the three, he may get advantageous matchups on both ends, as he faces, for the most part, smaller players. I don’t know if this will translate into better offensive production, improved defensive numbers, both, or neither. I also have no idea how often this kind of lineup might be played.

It could easily play out similarly to last season, but my guess is that this season and the previous one will be apples & oranges to some degree when comparing them for Barnes.

LOUiE
September 14, 2021 2:53 pm

I haven’t looked at the numbers but I think he was better as a three then as a small ball four. I think his efficiency took a hit when they started playing him more at the four. So I guess it’ll depend on how he’s utilized.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 14, 2021 3:30 pm

Best all around and most intelligent player on the roster.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
September 14, 2021 8:20 pm

As of today, yes. That being said, I think Hali may supplant him in the near future. He has the youth and intangibles to make himself that best all around and most intelligent player, while also not being the “star” on the roster.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 14, 2021 9:19 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Agree.

Barnes is the closest thing the Kangz have to actual player development as well.

“Watch him” is about all they have.

In my opinion trading him is not smart at this point.

SacTownKing916
September 14, 2021 10:25 pm

Hurry up and get Simmons im guessing Davion,Buddy,3 firsts gets it done,starting lineup?
Pg- Fox
Sg- Haliburton
SF- Barnes
Pf- Simmons
C- Holmes

Dozer
September 15, 2021 7:26 am

HB has always reminded me of Eddie Johnson from back in the day. True professional who shows up every night and quietly gives you exactly what you expect every game.

Carl
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September 15, 2021 10:26 am

I love Barnes as a person, but we all might have a little recency bias here. Barnes had an excellent year, no question. And maybe he’s turned a corner as a player. But prior to that, he’s really been pretty average overall as an NBA player. I hope for a continuation or improvement, but I worry about a reversion to the mean. This team is bad and needs changes. McNair should sell high on Barnes for a younger, higher upside player, if possible.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carl

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