Harrison Barnes: UNC Swingman Headlines Class That'll Resurrect Warriors
No one is laughing now.
Will GS make the playoffs in 2013?
The vast majority of NBA fans mocked the Golden State Warriors after the team traded Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. Their laughter proved their cluelessness.
Golden State’s rotation that once featured multiple undersized players with an I’d-rather-just-stay-on-offense mindset now highlights a core that’s capable of carrying the Warriors back to the playoffs. Their greatest needs going into the offseason were for an upgrade at the 3, as well as frontcourt depth. They solved both of those problems on Thursday night.
With the seventh overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Bob Meyers pulled the trigger on North Carolina’s star small forward Harrison Barnes. After dealing away their leading scorer in Ellis, Golden State needed a scoring boost, and they’ll get one from Barnes. Last season at UNC, he averaged 17.1 points per game and showed the ability to score from anywhere on the court.
Barnes should be an instant upgrade over Dorell Wright, whose production dipped this season after leading the league in three-pointers the year before.
While Barnes’ greatest weakness is that he’s one-dimensional—he only averaged 1.1 assists per game his sophomore campaign—playing on team as talented as the Warriors will mask his deficiency. Unlike if he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Barnes won’t be a primary offensive option right away in Oakland because the Warriors already boast lethal scoring weapons in David Lee and Stephen Curry.
Now, with a lineup of Curry, Barnes, Lee, Bogut and Klay Thompson, Golden State’s starting five is without weakness. But the scariest part about the Warriors’ draft, though, is the fact that they improved their bench even more than their starters.
After completing their blockbuster deal at the trade deadline, Golden State proceeded to move Jackson to the San Antonio Spurs for Richard Jefferson and a first-round pick. That first-round pick turned into Festus Ezeli—a seven-foot, 264-pound monster with a 34-inch standing vertical.
With Lee and Bogut combining to form one of, if not the most unathletic big-man duo in the league, they desperately needed an injection of athleticism. They’ll receive just that from Ezeli.
With his incredible size and athleticism, it’s no surprise that the Nigerian is a rebounding and shot-blocking fiend. What’s quite shocking is that his offensive game isn’t that bad for a man who didn’t pick up a basketball until he was 14. Ezeli is raw, and he has plenty of room to improve, but the player that the Warriors drafted early in the second round is as pro-ready as they come.
Which pick provided GS with the greatest value?
Finally, Draymond Green’s polished skill set and Einstein-like basketball IQ will translate to him making an instant impact in the NBA. Chad Ford of ESPN ranked him 20th on his big board, but he somehow fell to the Warriors at No. 35. At 6’8”, 236 pounds, Green will be able to come off the bench for both Barnes and Lee because he’s capable of playing both forward spots.
If Golden State doesn’t make the postseason next year, it’d be a shocker.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?