Barnes, Green may be called to duty for Warriors

Barnes, Green may be called to duty for Warriors
July 13, 2014, 8:15 pm
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As I've said before, (a stretch 4) is something we really need on our roster...and Draymond and Harrison can both help in that regard.
Steve Kerr

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LAS VEGAS -– Harrison Barnes shows up voluntarily, making it known that he wants to atone for last season, which was defined by regression that was painful to watch.

Draymond Green shows up voluntarily, too, making it known that he is not satisfied with the appreciable improvement of his first two seasons and is committed to making another leap in Year 3.

With Kevin Love trapped in the realm of misty-eyed Warriors fantasy, Warriors reality is represented by Barnes and Green.

The two forwards are the roster's best bets to provide one of the fondest wishes of new coach Steve Kerr.

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Kerr loves his backcourt, All-Star Stephen Curry at the point and Klay Thompson at the off guard, and flew all the way to Australia to make his pitch to expand the role of Andrew Bogut. Kerr admires the basketball IQ and overall versatility of small forward Andre Iguodala and visualizes power forward David Lee as a multidimensional offensive force.

Yet Kerr has made an attempt to disguise his desire for a stretch 4; a power forward who can shoot with range beyond the 3-point line.

"As I've (said before), that's something we really need on our roster," Kerr said the other day, "and Draymond and Harrison can both help in that regard."

At 6-foot-8, Barnes lacks ideal size but his long enough and capable enough to fill it in certain lineups. The peaks of his rookie season, which so encouraged the Warriors and their fans, tended to coincide with him replacing Lee.

At 6-7, Green also lacks size. But he plays bigger and with a decided edge. It's as if through sheer energy he gains a couple inches in height.

Both understand what's needed, which partly explains the presence of both in Las Vegas. Barnes spent time running drills with the Summer League team before heading back to the Bay Area on Friday night. Green didn't take the court with the Summer Leaguers but has been working out and getting treatment and exhibiting his dedication.

CEO Joe Lacob has noticed; he spent considerable time Saturday talking with Green at courtside during the Warriors Summer League game against the Suns. Kerr also is following the efforts of Barnes and Green, who opened eyes in the seven-game playoff series with the Clippers.

Kerr has made it clear that Green is a consistent jump shot away from being at least a serviceable stretch 4.

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"He's shooting a ton," Kerr said. "And it's great.

"That's why guys in this league get better. If you want to just spend all day shooting, you're free to. There's nobody from the NCAA telling you, 'You can only work two hours a week.' You can work two hours a day on your shooting. He's such a hard worker and he knows that's a skill. He proved it in Game 7 against the Clips. He made five threes and that opened up the game and it helped put the Warriors in position to win.''

Green and Barnes, both drafted in 2012, are smart players, with strong work ethics. Both of their names have been mentioned in trade speculation, Barnes more than Green, whose value seems to rise each time he steps onto the floor.

They don't know what lies ahead. Neither does Kerr. But unless they're able to strike a deal for Love, the role falls to Green and Barnes. Kerr doesn't seem particularly frustrated with that possibility.

Indeed, the new coach seems rather comfortable with the idea of having two young players who can go far toward meeting his expressed need.

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