Harrison Barnes: Future of Warriors' Franchise Rides Heavily on Wing's Potential
Harrison Barnes fell into Golden State's eagerly-awaiting lap with the No. 7 pick in Thursday night's draft. The future of the Warriors' franchise now rests firmly on the abilities of the former Tar Heel wing.
He fills Golden State's most pressing need. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are two marksman from beyond the arc. Andrew Bogut is a capable pivot inside, and David Lee is a rebounding machine. The Warriors needed an elite presence on the wing.
Barnes could be that guy. He's an above-average three point-shooter (35.8-percent last season) and shoots it even better from 17-feet and in. He struggles to create his own shot, but he will work well with Bogut setting quality picks.
Defensively, Barnes is a big athletic player. He can match up with the premier scorers in the Western Conference, and that's something last year's No. 28 scoring defense could really use. He's a hard worker, and he wants to win at all costs. That makes up for any shortcomings he may have in terms of quickness or explosiveness.
Who would you have taken?
Golden State isn't far away from being an NBA playoff team. Trading Monta Ellis last year and adding Bogut to the mix, it gave this lineup its current versatility. Last year, Golden State made more three-point buckets than anyone, but Bogut's presence in the middle will free up the perimeter for Curry, Thompson and now Barnes.
Before the draft started, I expected the Warriors to wind up with Andre Drummond. I didn't think Barnes would make it this far, but Mark Jackson and his team received a gift.
They desperately needed that floor-stretching athlete to put pressure on the defense. Barnes is a high-character player who is always going to work for what he gets. The Warriors need more of that "can-do" attitude, and Barnes (along with second-rounder Draymond Green) will bring a lot of that to the table.
Golden State could have pursued a more experienced option through trade or free agency, but Barnes will be able to grow with the core of this team. He is going to play a major role in their long-term success, because he is the most versatile scorer in their repertoire.
If Bogut stays healthy, I like this Warriors team going forward with the addition of Barnes. But if Barnes doesn't show up, the Warriors will be right back where they started.
No matter how this turns out, Golden State made the right pick for the future of their franchise.
Now, they must hope Barnes can carry that heavy weight on his shoulders.
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