Poole: Harrison Barnes is more hype than hope
By Monte Poole
Bay Area News Group
Posted: 07/04/2012 11:59:39 AM PDT
Updated: 07/05/2012 04:05:37 AM PDT
His face is smooth as a baby's bottom, almost as smooth as his jump shot.
He works a basketball court, as well as a room, with choreographed comfort, as if he has been rehearsing in front of a mirror six days a week since fourth grade.
Harrison Barnes is bright, polite and polished, almost processed.
There is a lot to like, even admire, about the latest answer to the Warriors' prayers.
But no matter how happy the Warriors are, and they're singing in the key of giddy, it's unfair to expect Barnes to reach the thin-air heights of the hype that preceded him.
More to the point, such expectations are unwarranted.
Barnes, 20, was identified as a basketball prodigy in middle school. He was signing autographs as a high school sophomore at Ames High (Iowa) and was rated by some services as the No. 1 national recruit when he Skyped -- yes, Skyped -- his commitment to coach Roy Williams at fabled North Carolina.
That's where the competition, far superior to anything Barnes had experienced in the heartland, narrowed the gap.
Barnes was good, occasionally superb, but rarely dominating and too often disappointing. His two-season legacy with the Tar Heels, which ended with a 20-for-61 shooting performance in the 2012 NCAA tournament, was unexceptional -- especially when compared to the brief collegiate exploits of those who entered with similar credentials. His impact was well short of, say, Carmelo Anthony at
Syracuse, Kevin Love at UCLA or Derrick Rose at Memphis.
Warriors fans viewing Barnes through the prism of his high school accolades will be disappointed.
Those basing expectations on his college achievements -- and I'm in that group -- will need to lower the bar from the level typically reserved for the No. 7 pick in the NBA draft.
Barnes says he understands the skepticism but urges patience before issuing a label.
"A lot of people were upset about the way things ended, and rightfully so," Barnes says of his final college game, an 80-67 Elite Eight loss to Kansas during which he scored eight points in the final four minutes of the first half but only one basket the rest of the game. "We had a lot of talent, and I came up short in the tournament.
"But in terms of me being great or me being a bust or whatever, that is yet to be determined. I'm going to continue to come out and work as hard as I can. Whatever my ceiling is, I plan to reach it."
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the question. What, exactly, is his potential?
As a citizen, it's unlimited. Barnes was an honors student, has a mature sense of culture along with a discerning eye for finances. When he returned to Carolina for his sophomore season, he said in an interview with The Atlantic magazine -- The Atlantic -- that he wanted to better build his "brand."
It wouldn't surprise me if Barnes, who comports himself with the composed elegance of Shane Battier, someday becomes a Fortune 500 CEO.
But he's in Oakland to play basketball. The Warriors need him to be a star, or something close. That's going to be the hard part.
Barnes has a nice stroke but is streaky, like Jamal Crawford. He's silky and skilled but lacks the killer first step of the young Paul Pierce. He played a lot at guard in Ames but doesn't have a particularly good handle, like Jason Richardson. The Warriors still have no wing who can create off the dribble, because Barnes is not that guy.
Most troubling, though, is that Barnes' ruthlessness rarely surfaces. Skill without fierce determination is why Chase Budinger is not Andre Iguodala and why Kobe Bryant never had to worry about Vince Carter.
"A lot people have a lot of things to say not just about me but about this team ... that's just more motivation," Barnes says. "Seeing that we've only been to the playoffs once in the last 18 years and the last All-Star was Latrell Sprewell in 1997, that's just more motivation."
Barnes knows the history well enough to realize he's in position to make a difference here. But can he?
We've seen mellow, cerebral types (Joe Barry Carroll, Adonal Foyle, Mike Dunleavy) and been unimpressed. We've seen former high school superstars (Chris Washburn), the North Carolina lottery picks (Antawn Jamison, Brandan Wright) and even the French Michael Jordan (Mickael Pietrus).
What we haven't seen since Chris Webber in 1993 is a rookie with the potential to lift the Warriors. I doubt Barnes is that guy.
"I love that," he says, as if ready for the challenge. "We have that extra motivation of everyone saying this team is soft, that they drafted soft players. 'Barnes is from Carolina; he's soft. And now he's joining Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson), who are also soft.' That definitely fuels you. I can't wait to get to summer league."
"Those basing expectations on his college achievements -- and I'm in that group -- will need to lower the bar from the level typically reserved for the No. 7 pick in the NBA draft."
Thats the line that got me. This guy is getting slept on so bad its ridiculous.
What is the level typically reserved for the 7th pick? A guy like Hinrich is rarely called a bust and he is nothing more than a quality starter/bench player who defends and shoots. I'm sure Barnes can manage that
I don't think this guy is a Barnes fan to say the least. He has rehashed the same points we have heard a million times maybe GSW fans only know very little about him. If Barnes becomes as talented/accomplished as J-Rich , Crawford , and or Vince over his career as Mr. Poole wrote as comparisons I think the Warriors hit it out of the park with the 7th pick. Mr. Poole wrote this article as if he just paid attention to Barnes in the last 2 weeks. If Barnes is an 18ppg scorer for 10-12 years(which is what J-Rich is)you can't complain at all , this dude is acting like Barnes was still expected to be the next Kobe Bryant when anyone with half a brain knows he isn't.
In my personnal opinion the author Monte Poole should take his words back before it's too late. But that's only my view. There definitely are many sceptics about Barnes, but I'm one of those who believe that he can be really really good.
Yes, he has a very big flaw in his ball handling, which also negatively impacts other his game aspects as creating for himself and for others. BUT, he is a hard worker, he has physical tools and I didn't saw his lack of killer instinct, actually, he was the guy that was getting the ball in crunch time with several seconds left, he was taking those shots without any hesitation, although, yes, he wasn't making all of them, but he definitely has guts to be the guy.
That's the problem. Barnes probably will be an 18 point scorer. He can get off a long two anytime he wants because of his size and hops. He will only hit that shot 40% of the time, so it won't help you win any games. But he can and will take that shot. He will take enough shots to get his 18 or so points. The problem is that he is going to give you nothing else. Nothing on the boards, nothing in steals, nothing in blocks and darn little in assists. But once he has a few seasons of 20 point scoring, he will demand a max contract.
And some poor franchise is going to pay him that money.
Ugh, that 20-62 performance in the NCAA tournament will stick with me for a while since we needed him to step up with Marshall sidelined with his broken wrist. Quite frankly, he was terrible in the tournament. Couldn't create anything versus the mighty Bobcats and couldn't hit a shot versus Kansas. There have been so many posts about Harrison since the tourney, people saying he sucks, people criticizing his handle, questioning his killer instinct, it's been crazy. What worries me about Barnes is his lack of intangibles. If he isn't scoring, he's not really contributing in any other ways. For a guy with so much talent, he was a pretty poor rebounder, was an okay defender, a non-existent passer and a pretty poor ball-handler. I don't know what went on behind the scenes at Carolina, but I think something was seriously off during his sophomore year. I dunno if it was chemistry issues, or something personal, but his stoic attitude and lack of passion really concerned me. Many games it looked like he just wasn't trying. I think he was just way too hyped coming out of high school. He just didn't play against top notch competition in high school and really was never a great player at all. He'll be a solid pro, but nothing more.
you know as well as I do Roy's system was just not made to adjust to a situation without Marshall. I remember when he went out, they were trying to figure out do they start Stilman White or go with Justin Watts at PG (which they tried and Watts turned the ball over left and right for the brief time he was at the spot). It was so bad that they seriously considered playing Barnes at the PG. I think his rebounding is underated....wait a minute...you are UNC fan right? What were you looking at? Barnes had two double figure rebounders beside him and his job was to stay on the perimeter. Even though he is a SF, he has been Carolina's primary perimeter threat for the past 2 years. He is a perimeter player...yet he avg over 5rpg each year. I dont think we have enough evidence to say he is a poor rebounder, that is yet to be seen. You are looking at him with UNC system blinders on. I think Barnes is more of a mystery if anything because to be the star coming out of HS, his role at UNC was very, very limited.
The.only person hyping Barnes at this point ironically is the article's author. NO ONE said Barnes was gonna be an all-star level player during any draft analysis I read or watched this year. They all did say however that he fits in nicely on the current Warriors roster
"Warriors fans viewing Barnes through the prism of his high school accolades will be disappointed."
As a fan... i didn't like this pick at all..being a tarheels and a warriors fan. He's unimpressed me so many times and may have actually degressed from his freshman to sophmore year to the point at the end of games i was like "GIVE THE BALL TO REGGIE"
I wanted damian or PJ3 .. when i realized pj3 was gone drop i was hoping we could use our 2 second rounders to trade up and get him somewhere round 26...I was also upset we passed on Drummond..all these knocks on dre's game and he's 18 dude will become a beast .. ..im rambling again... I hope he becomes atleast as half as good as the hype
Isnt bad. His ballhandling is not as bad as people make it out to be. The problem is, he has not fully incorportated his handle into his jumpshooting. He clearly wasnt comfortable doing that at UNC. Check the video at mark 1:09, a few years ago, scouts would drool over a 6'8" 220lb guy that could handle like this.
Idk, Luol Deng Can't really handle the rock and was a much worse shooter at the same age. Luol was picked seventh I believe as was Barnes. I think Barnes can be a better Deng. Still not a big time all star every year guy but can probably sneak a few in on off forward years. I see him as like an 18 and 6 guy and he can be a really good defender. I think he is a steal at 7. GS still has a creating problem that Barnes won't help much with but you have a solid starter for 12 years.
You win the coin toss to get #7. Had you lost the toss you would have got NOTHING AT ALL. Barnes who could have gone as high as #2 at one point falls all the way to #7.
Are some Warriors fans actually complaining about this???? I know half a million Raptors fans who are green with envy right now.
Barnes will be a solid pro. As a rookie he will be able to shoot at an NBA level, and guard his position at the NBA level.
Just be happy with what you have.
There are always going to be downer articles like this. There actually was one in the Toronto Sun the day after the draft about how downtrodden the Raptors are because we lost that coin toss and just missed out on Barnes - the savior of the franchise apparently. I didn't pay much attention to that either.
People are so sleep on Harrison Barnes. The kid is a stud and is about to show everyone.
I think 7th is about right for Barnes. He is a solid shooter who has a very nice pull-up jumper. Best case scenario he is Danny Granger. He is a below-average finisher at the rim and doesn't pass well or handle the ball well, so he won't ever be a big time iso scorer in the NBA, but he is the type of player who can make spot-up jumpers and set up his mid-range game with one or two dribbles. He was overhyped early in his career because on first glance he appears to be a more skilled player than he is, as he has nice form on his shot and nows his role.
I don't think Barnes will be much more than an average starting sf, but I doubt he busts. He is a solid player who was given unreasonable expectations out of high school, but was fortunate to play for an offensive powerhouse that supplied him with open looks and clean driving lanes. It may take him a couple of years to score with any efficiency at the NBA level, but he can grow.
and have wanted him on the Cavs for two years. That shot he's got, with legit size is a hard find. Obviously this guy thinks he's not that good. He was by far the best prospect left, may even lead all lottery picks in scoring over the course of their rookie deals. All this doesn't mean people can't be critical though. His game does translate to Deng or Granger but also Autin Daye. What if he just stands there and spot shoots? He looks fluid against cones but I on only one occasion drive from the 3pt line all the way to the rim at finish at the glass. It does seem that he stands to upright while dribbling and he doesnt tuck his shoulder. The thing about the League is its always said that one elite skill will help you survive, but only one elite skill will help you be easily game planned against.
His last two games w/o Marshall are so overanalyzed it's ridiculous. He was the one that hit the go ahead bucket against Ohio and put them away for good. Then against Kansas about half of his misses came in the final 3 minutes when they were trying to come back. I'm not saying he played good, but it's like everyone just looked and the box score of those two games and decided Barnes sucks.
People forget he scored 20 of UNC's 60 points to beat Wisconsin by 3 this year, only one other Tar Heel hit double figures (Zeller at 12). Went for 26 and 10 and blew out Texas who many hyped up in the preseason. A short time later he goes for 27 and 6 against VT, getting to the line 12 times (nice for a guy who can't dribble). People only remember the UNC-Duke game for Rivers' shot, but Barnes had 25 points in that game on 16 shots. And who could forget when he scored 40 as a Fr. and EVERYONE hopped on his d!ck. So many people have the shortest of memories, it's literally sickening.
you make great points. Harrison Barnes for all the hype he has had heaped on him has done an admirable job IMO. In two years he was the PRIMARY perimeter option....not Bullock, not McDonald, not Hairston...all great shooters in their own right. It was Barnes who was counted on for his jumpshot from long range and mid-range. He truly is only great at one thing and thats jumpshooting, but give the guy a chance, he is only 20 years old...and just turned 20 right before the draft. The NBA is totally different and the confines are lifted, lets see what he can do outside of UNC before we start saying he is only going to average or Danny Granger (which isnt bad). Barnes at least in college was a better late game finisher than Granger has shown in the NBA.
Like Richard Jefferson Barnes basically played power forward until his senior year in High School. He's not able to pull up off the dribble YET because it's not something he ever did. He's still improving as a shot creator. But Barnes shoots better than Jefferson (who is now just a dead weight contract for them)
Barnes will not bust, and will turn out to be an excellent pick at 7. Kobe he's not, obviously. I liked Drummond for his upside, but Barnes is safer and was 3rd on our board and will be very solid because he shoots it too well and he's too athletic and focused. Is Joe Johnson fiery?
Since according to the author, Barnes isn't very good, it would have been nice to hear his idea of what they should have done with the pick.
The author needs perspective: Expecting Barnes to be a savior? Newsflash, nobody thinks he is. This draft only had 1. Look what Charlotte got at 2!
Isn't it a bit harsh to say that Barnes can't pull up off the dribble? He shot a lot of one dribble pull ups at UNC and he made them a pretty good rate.
I do agree that Barnes does have room to improve as a creator with the ball. He used screens well in college, but struggled as a ballhandler on the pick and roll due to his lack of court vision and inability to turn the corner and attack the basket downhill.
Barnes is a good player and i think everyone has pretty much lowered the expectations that he once had after seeing him play in college. He still has the potential to be as good as Joe Johnson but i doubt that he can go beyond that. His celining isn't very high but his floor isn't very low either so i think GS got a good building block
for anyone who says Barnes wont be "this or that" keep in mind he just turned 20.
Of course no one knows for sure what he will be but you can make a good guess who will most likely be a star and who won't even by the time they leave college. Some guys just have that IT factor that you see and some don't. Most of todays top stars you knew they would be stars at the same stage of their career. Some ended up surprising.