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Perhaps I should be fair. Rookies tend to go through far more ups and downs throughout the course of a season than veterans do, and so it's no surprise that Harrison Barnes is the third rookie highlighted in this article. Moreover, periods of struggle are much more common than periods of success for rookies, so having both Barnes and Ezeli as "least improved" players is no cause for grave concern.
It is especially no cause for concern when one considers how well Barnes played during his first 14 games, all of which he started in. The 20-year-old small forward was aggressive with the ball, explosive off the dribble, able to move well without the ball, active on the boards and energetic all over the court.
| ||PTS ||REB ||FG% ||3pt% ||FT%
|Barnes' stats before November 29 || 10.7 || 5.0 || 47.5 || 35.5 || 69.4
|Barnes' stats after November 29 || 6.3 || 3.2 || 31.2 || 26.1 || 64.3
After he threw down the dunk of the season on Nikola Pekovic on November 24, it seemed as if Barnes was becoming a catalyst for the Warriors and rising to the top of the NBA rookie ranks. Since then, however, he's taken a major step back.
He's only scored in double digits during three of his past 14 games, after seven double-digit scoring games in his first 14. He also grabbed at least nine boards four times during those first 14, but has failed to grab more than six since.
While the shooting percentages may suggest Barnes has simply gone cold from the field, the reality is that the Warriors rookie has been attacking the rim less, picking his spots less effectively and disengaging more frequently when the ball isn't in his hands.
Again, there is no reason to panic in Oakland—yet. However, inconsistency and apparent disengagement plagued Barnes at North Carolina, so the Warriors are hoping he grows up fast.