Is Harrison Barnes ready to be “the man” on the Dallas Mavericks? The man is an NBA Champion. The man has played in two NBA Finals. The man is competing for a gold medal in Rio for the 2016 summer Olympic games.The man has quite an impressive resume but is he ready to be the top dog on a team who desperately needs a successor to the legend who has ran this city for the last 18 years? Thats a tall task to ask for in this town. For the last 18 years, Dirk Nowitzki has become a legend in the city of Dallas.Yes, Nowitzki set the tone for what being “the man” means in Dallas.
He has been doing it for the last 18 years but we all know its time for Dirk to pass the baton. We all thought Chandler Parsons would be that guy. He was ok, he was a solid player, but it was pretty clear that he wasn’t going to be “the man” in Dallas. He confirmed that for certain when he bolted the Mavs this offseason and decided to go to Memphis.Harrison Barnes is wearing those shoes now. Im pretty sure they are a nice pair of $94 million dollar shoes now that Barnes is the highest paid player on the Mavs. With all that money comes very high expectations. Barnes is coming from a Golden State Warriors team that won an NBA Record 73 regular season games and were just seconds away from repeating as NBA Champions.Barnes was a good player for the Warriors. His career 10 pt 4.6 rebounds per game may raise questions as to why the Mavs gave him a $94 million dollar contract.
The answer to those questions comes with two parts. The first part is we all know the NBA cap went up so lots of players got paid a huge amount of money. The other part comes that a lot of people feel that with Barnes having a major role in Dallas that he will be able to be the superstar that this city needs to take that baton as Dirk enters his final years.As I mentioned earlier, Barnes was a good player in Golden State, the problem is that he played behind Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Barnes was the forth option on a 73 win team ad he was able to average 11.7 ppg and 4.9 rebounds last season. The Mavs feel that Barnes can explode those numbers being the major option on the team.
Barnes did not play well in the NBA Finals this season. He shot 35% from the field, which was an 11 point drop from what he shot in during the regular season. Barnes was held scoreless in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, in which the Cleveland Cavaliers won to force a game 7 in Oakland. Despite the bad NBA Finals, Barnes has a lot of time to up his game. He is 24 years old and on the verge of being the major option in a city that has high expectations for star players thanks to Dirk Nowitzki, it should be a fun and optimistic journey for Barnes. He is a man who knows how to win. He is a man that seems to like a challenge. It will be fun to watch the ride for us fans. It will be fun to watch him grow.
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