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Golden State Warriors: Is Harrison Barnes Regressing as a Reserve?

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Golden State Warriors: Is Harrison Barnes Regressing as a Reserve?
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

When the Golden State Warriors acquired Andre Iguodala, it was an almost perfect fit to their puzzle. Only, it came at the expense of Harrison Barnes. And now it looks to be playing a role.

After being drafted No. 7 overall in the 2012 NBA draft, Barnes had a respectable rookie campaign of 9.2 points and 4.1 rebounds, all the while playing just 25.4 minutes per night.

He saw increased playing time (38.4 minutes) during the postseason, and in turn increased his production, putting up 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in 12 games.

Since Iguodala's arrival, the transition to becoming the Warriors' sixth man hasn't been as easy as many had hoped. Despite putting up 10.1 points on 41.3 percent shooting this season, Barnes has slowly regressed each month thus far. 

Below are his month-by-month statistics:

MIN PPG FGM/FGA FG%
November 32.4 13.3 5.4/10.8 50.0
December 31.2 10.4 3.8/10.3 37.2
January 23.9 6.8 2.2/6.3 35.2

ESPN.com

It should be noted that Barnes received a bigger role through December, as Iguodala went down with an injured right hamstring. Even so, his shooting percentage has continued to drop this month as the Warriors have gone 8-6.

It's not all Barnes' fault though, as Golden State has several players who can step up when another struggles. Yet his problems shooting have extended past a one-off scenario, instead becoming an ongoing saga.

What's interesting, however, is Barnes' production differential as a starter and as a reserve. Per the table below:

MIN PTS FGM/FGA FG%
As Starter 38.7 14.3 5.5/12.1 45.3
Off the Bench 24.1 7.9 2.9/7.5 37.9

ESPN.com

It may be a case of Barnes trying to force his shot in a limited role, as his average field-goal attempts aren't far off from being equal despite the 14.6-minute differential. The Warriors have plenty of personnel who can score, so it's feasible he's trying to do too much off the bench.

Per Hoops Stats, Golden State currently possesses the lowest-scoring bench in the league at 23.3 points per game. It's still a squad that can contribute, but not nearly as efficiently or timely as the Warriors would like.

Is there a reason for Harrison Barnes' declining production?

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As such, Barnes is the only true reserve player than can realistically make an impact. Newly acquired guard Jordan Crawford should change that slightly going forward, but a case of Barnes forcing it could be made.

In turn, it's also possible head coach Mark Jackson tries to force the bench production through Barnes. 

In any case, it's a situation Golden State could do without as it looks to keep up in the Western Conference playoff race. Barnes has proven to be a reliable scorer in his short career, so a mere shooting slump could realistically be to blame.

Yet how long can it last?

 

All statistics courtesy of ESPN.com, unless noted otherwise. 

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