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On The Rise: Harrison Barnes Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before


Photo: USA Today Sports

No matter what your feelings were about Harrison Barnes before this season started, there were a few hopeful points Dallas Mavericks fans could agree on:


  1. Barnes being only 24 years old meant there was room for potential growth. 
  2. Barnes had never been more than the fourth or fifth option on a stacked Golden State Warriors team. Therefore, it was a mystery how Barnes would perform as a first or second option. 


Nearly 1/8th of the way into the 2016-2017 season, we’re starting to get a glimpse of what Barnes is truly capable of. Although it’s a small sample size, Barnes is exceeding everyone’s expectations at this point. Here are his averages so far this season and how they compare to his career averages prior to this season:


2016-2017 Season


PPG: 22.6 

RPG: 6.1

FG%: 49.3

3P%: 34.5

FT%: 93.9


Career (four seasons with Golden State prior to this year)


PPG: 10.4

RPG: 4.7

FG%: 44.9

3P%: 37.5

FT%: 74.9



A big reason Barnes’ production has skyrocketed is because he has been used more this season that he ever has been before.  So far, Barnes is averaging 38.1 minutes per game, which is nearly 10 more minutes per game than what he played in Golden State. Not only has Barnes been playing more minutes, but the way he’s being used while on the court is also a reason for his spike in production. Prior to this year, Barnes was basically just a guy that stayed in the corner, waiting for Steph Curry or Klay Thompson to collapse the defense and kick it out to him for a 3 pointer. This year, however, Barnes is being utilized in many more iso situations. He has been most lethal when he plays at the four spot.  The speed advantage Barnes holds over most opposing power forwards means that there’s more opportunities for drives to the basket, as shown below:



Defensively, Barnes has been really solid as well.  He is athletic enough and fast enough to guard smaller players, yet he is also strong enough to hold his own against bigger players on the block.  One of my favorite defensive plays from Barnes this season happened just last night against Carmelo Anthony.  



Barnes’ fantastic play hasn’t translated to many wins for the Mavs yet, but it sure has made MFFLs excited for what the future holds.  With Dirk Nowitzki’s finals days on the horizon, the Mavs organization and fan base as a whole needed something to look forward to.  After many years of swings and misses in the offseason, it seems as if the Mavs front office finally got one to go their way.  Hopefully the Mavs can become healthy in time to turn this season around and make the playoffs.  But if they don’t, we still have Harrison Barnes’ continued growth to look forward to.

Born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I received my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration - Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern Mississippi. If you're unfamiliar with Southern Miss, think Brett Favre. I'm currently working full time as a salesperson for my family business. My fiancé and I are huge MFFLs, and we never pass up a chance to see the guys play in person.

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