Barnes leaves vs. Pelicans after elbow to mouth (Yahoo Sports)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Golden State forward Harrison Barnes has left Sunday night’s game against New Orleans to receive treatment for a laceration in his mouth and Warriors officials say his return his questionable.

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Harrison Barnes Injury: Updates on Warriors Star’s Mouth and Return

Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes suffered an injury to his mouth during Sunday’s game against New Orleans.      

Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle passed along the news:

After a promising rookie season in which he seemed to begin to figure things out with 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in 12 postseason starts, Barnes was a disappointment as a sophomore. His field-goal percentage (39.9), true-shooting percentage (48.6) and player efficiency rating (9.8) all dropped to frighteningly low levels, as he regressed almost across the board in 2013-14 (per Basketball-Reference.com).

Still, this is a talented, durable young player with a tantalizing blend of size and athletic ability. He’s still just 22 years old and has shown glimpses of why he was selected in the lottery coming out of UNC.

Ultimately, though, the injury isn’t serious and it isn’t a major blow to the red-hot Warriors. While Barnes recovers, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green are perfectly capable of soaking up extra minutes for as long as he is sidelined, while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will continue to provide the scoring from the perimeter.

Nevertheless, it’s a disappointing development for a player struggling to live up to his once star-level potential.

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Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes key for the Warriors

A big part of the Golden State Warriors 10-2 start has been the consistent play of Harrison Barnes. Although he’s not putting up flashy numbers, he is a much better player than last season and is thriving in Steve Kerr’s offense. What’s changed with Barnes? Will he be able to keep it up?
Harrison Barnes’ improved play is a big part of the Warriors early season success
Harrison Barnes remains one of the most intriguing players on the Golden State Warriors roster. The problem, dating back to when he was drafted, is that he wasn’t the impact player most expected. He was more of a role player, which was not a bad thing. It was just that his game wasn’t refined enough to be the main scorer on a team. He didn’t have a great jump shot, he wasn’t a great creator, dribbler or aggressive enough. He was only 20 when he was drafted and he was being unfairly compared to Michael Jordan while at North Carolina. It’s easy to see why in most peoples’ eyes he didn’t meet expectations. However, this didnâ€

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Lance Stephenson’s Contact with Harrison Barnes Results in Him Slapping Himself

Stop hitting yourself, Lance!

In the first quarter of the Charlotte Hornets’ matchup against the Golden State Warriors, Lance Stephenson tried to work his way around a group of bodies that resulted in his own hand slapping his face.

The funniest part of the whole exchange is Stephenson flailing his arms afterward in hopes of drawing a foul (which he did). 

[gifdsports, h/t warriorsworld]

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Harrison Barnes Beginning to Thrive Back in Starting Role for Warriors

From the Splash Brothers’ continued brilliance to Draymond Green’s success filling in for the injured David Lee, the Golden State Warriors have had plenty of heroes en route to their impressive 7-2 start under new head coach Steve Kerr.

But after Saturday night’s 112-87 victory over the Charlotte Hornets, the time has come to celebrate a less-heralded contributor. 

Harrison Barnes tallied 17 points and four rebounds against the Hornets, marking his fourth consecutive game scoring in double figures. The North Carolina product posted a season-high 22 points against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. The standout performances are becoming something of a trend.

“He’s just a really good layer and very comfortable and confident, and he’s playing well,” Kerr told reporters during CSN Bay Area’s postgame coverage. “What I like about Harrison, and I know that the focus is on our offense, but his defense has been great.

“He’s so strong and quick, and he can guard four positions. That’s, I think, the way the league has trended the last few years…We have a very versatile team and Harrison represents that.”

Kerr wasn’t the only one who took notice on Saturday.

After coming off a season that in some ways represented a step back, the 22-year-old’s flashes of upside couldn’t come at a better time.

He started 81 games and made 43.9 percent of his field-goal attempts as a rookie but only started 24 games during his sophomore campaign after the organization acquired the more veteran Andre Iguodala. In turn, Barnes struggled to find a rhythm, and that promising success rate from the field sank to just 39.9 percent.

Though his 2014-15 sample size remains limited, Barnes has made the most of reclaiming his starting gig under Kerr. Thus far, he’s making an absurd 54.5 percent of his shots.

That number will come down to earth, but it’s still very possible the third-year veteran embarks upon a breakout season. He’s earning his minutes while establishing himself as the kind of complementary player who won’t take too many touches away from premier guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

“We run a few plays for him but not many,” Kerr added after the game. “The whole point of our offensive is we shouldn’t have to call plays for certain people.”

Barnes can make an impact without dominating the basketball. He’s a dangerous finisher in transition, a strong cutter and a steady spot-up shooter. And those are all things he can do while allowing Curry and Thompson to make things happen with the ball in their hands.

While Barnes’ fit with the starting unit has been encouraging, it isn’t the only reason for the new rotation.

The hope is that Iguodala also benefits from the opportunity to run offense as a sixth man.

“I want him to handle the ball quite a bit,” Kerr recently told reporters. “Part of the reason that we’re bringing him off the bench is that he tends to get lost with the starting group, because Steph and Klay have the ball constantly.

“I think Andre is at his best when he has the ball in his hands. I want him initiating the offense, and I think in the preseason, he was in a great groove in that role.”

That groove has subsequently proven elusive, making Barnes’ contributions all the more welcome.

Iguodala has scored in double figures just once this season, and he’s only making 36.5 percent of his field-goal attempts. Though nine games, he’s averaging just 5.3 points, three rebounds and 2.9 assists in 28.5 minutes per contest.

Though Iguodala was able to dominate the ball during preseason stretches, reserve guard Shaun Livington’s return from injury means another ball-handler in the second unit. Iggy may still be attempting to adjust.

He’s still doing some important things, especially on the defensive end. But he certainly isn’t making Kerr think twice about Barnes increased responsibilities.

Nor is Barnes.

He said he’s heeding Kerr’s recommendation that he adopt a more aggressive approach.

That’s something I took to heart,” Barnes told reporters this week. “When you move and you have great shooters out there, you just fall into baskets. Whether it’s Andrew Bogut hitting you on a cut or Steph coming off a pick-and-roll and hitting you for a wide-open three, when we’re moving the ball like that, it’s easy to get great shots.”

Barnes seems to be feeding off that chemistry more than ever.

For the first time in his career, he’s contributing more points per 100 possessions than would an average replacement. According to Basketball-Reference, his offensive box plus/minus currently sits at 0.4—a marked improvement over last season’s -2.2 mark.

Maybe it’s renewed confidence. Maybe it’s the skill development you’d expect from a former No. 7 draft pick coming into his own.

Either way, the status quo appears to be working—at least for Barnes. And while Iguodala’s transition to the second unit hasn’t gone as smoothly just yet, the 30-year-old seems committed to making it work.

“I’ve been in the league for a really long time, and there a lot of stories about anything and little things,” Iguodala told reporters in October. “If my shoes are tied the wrong way, that can become a story. I’m trying not to make [coming off the bench] a story this year, and I’m trying to win a championship.”

And by the looks of things, Harrison Barnes just might help him do it.

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Matt Barnes Discusses Kobe, His Bad Reputation and How He Is ‘Misunderstood’

Matt Barnes was drafted in 2002 and has played for memorable teams throughout the NBA. He was an integral part to the “We Believe” Golden State Warriors team that upset Dallas in the 2007 playoffs. He was on the Orlando Magic team that lost to the Lakers in the Finals, then he joined Kobe Bryant on the Lakers and is now on the NBA championship hopeful Clippers. 

Barnes has seen a lot in the NBA and has a reputation for his defense and aggressive attitude on the court. He talked about the infamous Kobe ball fake and how he is working hard to change what people think about him.

 

Follow Lance Fresh on Twitter and Instagram.

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Matt Barnes Reveals the Meaning Behind All His Tattoos

Matt Barnes was drafted in 2002 and has played in the NBA since 2004. He has carved out a role on the Los Angeles Clippers as a starter who brings defense and physicality. 

Aside from his game play, Barnes is known for the ink on his skin that NBA fans can see on his arms, neck and anywhere that is not covered by his uniform. Barnes took Bleacher Report through the stories and meanings behind particular designs on his body.

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What Will Make 2014-15 a Successful Season for Harrison Barnes?

Few NBA players have gone from star in the making to potential roster filler faster than the Golden State WarriorsHarrison Barnes.

Following a promising rookie campaign, the former North Carolina standout flat-lined in his sophomore year—the product, in no small part, of Andre Iguodala’s stranglehold on the team’s starting small-forward position.

With just two years remaining on his contract (the second being a team option), Barnes, at just 22 years old, is already at a career crossroads: Rebound and regain his phenomenal promise, or risk sliding forever to the NBA fringes.

So what does Barnes have to do to make this a successful season?

As with anything, Barnes’ prospects are as much about tapping into his otherworldly ability as they are another, more unpredictable factor: opportunity.

Between Iguodala, Barnes, veteran Leandro Barbosa and ascendant third-year forward Draymond Green, Golden State’s wing depth doesn’t leave much in the way of wiggle room. And while Barnes’ minutes actually increased from 25.4 to 28.3, his starts dropped dramatically, from 81 his rookie season to just 24 a year ago.

With his role reduced from steady-minute starter to unpredictable reserve, Barnes struggled to forge a consistent rotational niche.

Despite Barnes’ year-two swoon, however, first-year head coach Steve Kerr has been positively effusive about the former All-American. Stressing “everything’s open” as it concerns lineups, Kerr had this to say, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami:

I’m a big fan of Harrison’s. I think he’s got a ton of talent. He can play a few different positions–I think he can play 2, 3 and 4.

One thing I’m just going to be really open with our team about is that depth is our strength. We have to embrace that. And that means that there are going to be certain nights when it’s going to be your night and certain nights when it’s not.

The best teams accept that and embrace it and end up being stronger for it. And that will be one of our challenges as a group.

No one should take this to mean Barnes’ road to redemption will be laid out before him, of course. Still, there’s a healthy dose of perspective in Kerr’s analysis—the recognition that, at the end of the day, we are still talking about a kid who would’ve just graduated had he stayed in school all four years.

Even if Barnes’ third year winds up being equally disappointing, it seems unlikely to think Golden State would decline his $5.2 million player option. Particularly with the NBA’s new TV deal all but guaranteeing a spike in the league’s salary cap over the next few years.

In the meantime, Kerr’s task will be to find lineups that best suit Barne’s still-blossoming strengths. The good news: Kerr’s triangle-hybrid offense, which places heavy emphasis on both spacing and playmaking ability, should suit Barnes’ skill set much better than Mark Jackson’s more nebulous system.

Indeed, even Barnes seems acutely aware that his biggest strength, at this stage of the game, lies in better picking his spots, telling the Mercury News Diamond Leung:

Those days at least for me, those are going to be put on hold for quite a while. It’s just changing my game and just understanding where I’m going to get my shots now. I’m not going to be iso’d (isolated) on the post, iso’d on the elbow. It’s going to be moving, cutting, some spot-up shots, that kind of stuff.

Without pigeonholing Barnes into one aspect of what is, at its conceptual core, an immensely complicated offense, there is something to be said for the swingman’s strengths jiving nicely with where the triangle tends to flow. Specifically, the corner, a sector Barnes has shown to be one of his most reliable.

Recently, Bleacher Report’s J.M. Poulard explored how Jackson’s insistence on using the young swingman as the primary second-unit scoring option stunted not only the lineup’s offensive flow, but the development of Barnes himself:

Barnes was often the recipient of some terrific passes, and his lone responsibility was to catch and finish. The arrival of Andre Iguodala in the 2013 summer relegated Barnes to the second unit, and that leads us to his second problem.

Former coach Mark Jackson routinely played Barnes with other reserves and asked him to carry the offense during those stretches. Barnes didn’t possess the tools necessary to accomplish that, and it made him look bad.

That’s not to say the only solution is to insert Barnes into the starting lineup; Iguodala is simply too valuable for Kerr to jeopardize his team’s tight-knit chemistry for the sake of assuaging a younger player’s ego. Rather, it’s in how Kerr uses Barnes off the bench that stands to change for the better.

Indeed, the additions of Barbosa and resurgent point guard Shaun Livingston—a pair of dangerous offensive weapons who should help buoy Golden State’s 19th-ranked bench from a season ago—are precisely the kind of players you want Barnes playing alongside.

To be sure, these aren’t magic basketball elixirs. What the Warriors’ new offense and bolstered bench could prove, however, is how important timing and circumstances can be to a particular player’s growth and development.

As for what would constitute a successful season? Statistical guesses tend to be fools’ errands, but here is an earnest attempt nonetheless: 12 points, five rebounds and two assists on 45 percent shooting (including 38 percent from distance) at around 30 minutes per game.

That might not be quite the leap many a Warriors fans were hoping for. But as a bellwether for Barnes’ basketball future, such statistical upticks, particularly as it concerns his efficiency, would be nothing if not encouraging.

Most young stars are compelled to make their name as the face of a lottery-bound loser—a paying of dues in hopes of proving oneself a consummate cornerstone. Embedded as he is with one of the league’s foremost championship contenders, Barnes, much like the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, doesn’t have that luxury.

What he does have, on the other hand, is a golden opportunity to thrive for a time alongside some of the game’s most incendiary talents. The hope being that, in Barnes’ case, being so close to such soaring stars can somehow spark his own.

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Warriors and Harrison Barnes Unveil New Alternate Jerseys for 2014-15 Season

The Golden State Warriors offered the first glimpse of their new alternate uniforms for the 2014-15 season on Sunday evening.

The new uniform will include a new color for the NBA, slate.

The Golden State Warriors invited a group of social media influencers to Twitter headquarters to unveil the jersey. The influencers got the first look at the jersey and were encouraged to tell the story of the Slate Alternate Uniform on their own social media channels with the hashtag: #DUBSCONFIDENTIAL.

The Warriors will debut the new look on Nov. 15 against the Charlotte Hornets and will then wear them for every Saturday game throughout the remainder of the season.

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Is Harrison Barnes Entering Make-or-Break Season with Golden State Warriors?

Harrison Barnes‘ perceived upside has been saving him for years. 

It wasn’t that big of a deal when Barnes underwhelmed his freshman season at North Carolina. Or when he returned his sophomore year, only to experience similar problems with inconsistency and ultimately shoot 32 percent from the floor in the NCAA tournament.

With that 6’8″ textbook frame, smooth athleticism and all-around offensive game, Barnes’ upside remained intact despite his somewhat unconvincing play.

And he was OK his rookie year in Golden State—9.2 points, 4.1 boards, 43.9 percent shooting—though Barnes still left something to be desired.  

Regardless, his big-time NBA ceiling didn’t go anywhere. And in 2012-13, he flashed enough promise to keep fans and coaches excited—even if that promise came in sporadic spurts and doses, like in the 2013 playoffs, when he averaged 16.1 points a game. 

That April and May, Barnes finally appeared ready to break through as the star many had pegged him to be out of high school.

Until he didn’t. 

Barnes took a head-scratching step back as an NBA sophomore, having regressed or plateaued in a couple of key areas.

While it was disappointing to see his pedestrian scoring average stay roughly the same, the fact that his field-goal percentage dipped below 40 percent is really the bigger concern.

Though the bar has been set fairly high for Barnes since entering the national scene, given his previous status as an consensus top-five recruit, he’s continuously come up short, whether it was at North Carolina or through two years in the pros.

What happens if he fails to make any progress as a third-year NBA forward?

His upside has to expire eventually. How long do we wait before concluding that Barnes’ elevator simply wasn’t built to reach the ceiling his talent projects?

Maybe former coach Mark Jackson just didn’t know how to maximize Barnes’ ability or put him in position to succeed. Maybe new coach Steve Kerr has the formula.

At just 22 years old, it’s too early to write off Barnes, who’s just trying to find a way to convert those flashes into every-game occurrences. We’ve seen the complete offensive repertoire, from three-point shooting to mid-range scoring and explosive drives to the rack. The next step is putting it all together, a step he’s struggled to take.

Just studying his numbers and observing his tendencies, it’s not tough to pinpoint where he’s gone wrong.

As an on-ball, one-on-one scorer, Barnes has trouble getting to the basket, resulting in too many low-percentage jumpers—jumpers he’s capable of hitting, just not with legitimate consistency. 

He averaged just 2.9 drives per game this past season and ultimately shot only 27.2 percent on pull-up jumpers, a shot typically taken as a backup plan for getting to the basket. 

Barnes’ rookie year, 32.3 percent of his shots came at the rim. His sophomore year, that number fell to just 22.4 percent.

Off the ball, Barnes failed to capitalize as a shooter, having connected on just 40 percent of his catch-and-shoot jumpers and 37 percent of his spot-up threes. Those aren’t horrible numbers, but given his struggles getting to the basket, Barnes can’t afford to miss the good shots created for him by teammates.

Go ahead and blame the Warriors‘ ex-coaching staff for misusing Barnes in the offense. But the inaccurate shot-making is on him. 

The problem or concern is that despite sporting textbook shooting mechanics, his jumper really hasn’t improved much since 2010.

Barnes’ three-point percentage has essentially been the same since his freshman year at North Carolina—right around average. His free-throw clip remains below average, while his true shooting percentage plummeted this year to an ugly 48.6 percent. 

Obviously, Barnes will never reach his potential unless his shooting accuracy and consistency improve. 

With a good-looking stroke, I’d like to think some of Barnes’ shooting troubles are tied to confidence. He hasn’t exactly been used much in Golden State’s offense over the past two years—his usage rate has been under 18 percent in each. 

Hopefully that changes under coach Kerr, who seems motivated to get the most out of Barnes and keep him heavily involved. 

“Harrison is incredibly driven. So we’ve got big plans for him this year,” Kerr told KNBR-680 (via CSNBayArea.com). ”We think he can be a great player in this league…he’s going to continue to get better.”

It’s not just his offensive game that needs fine-tuning. With Andre Iguodala in the starting lineup, the Warriors have been a much tougher team to score on than when Barnes has been in there, as outlined by RealGM’s Benjamin Cantor. Feel free to add defense to the list of things in which Barnes must show improvement. 

Overall, it would ultimately be bad news if he didn’t take that next step in Year 3, considering how long he’s been stuck on the same one. At some point, there aren’t going to be any free passes left with Barnes’ name on them. 

Because upside only holds meaning for those capable of reaching it. There’s no denying Barnes’ NBA ceiling, but sooner or later, unless he finally takes off, we’re going to have to rule that his developmental elevator is officially out of service. 

 

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com unless otherwise noted.

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