Warriors focus: Harrison Barnes

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Warriors focus: Harrison Barnes

This is the first of seven individual player analysis, focusing on new Warriors' faces. The Warriors have made plenty of changes since the end of the 2011-12 season. They will likely have four first-year players on their roster come the start of the season, and they also acquired veterans Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry.Center Andrew Bogut came to the Warriors in March, but hes a newcomer, too, if you factor in that he still hasnt played a game for the team yet. With training camp set to begin in early October, lets begin our player-by-player analysis of the Warriors new players.Harrison Barnes, 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, small forward.It seems like all anyone wants to know right now is whether or not Barnes, selected with the No. 7 pick in June, will be the starting small forward come the season-opener. But that question seems awfully premature at this point.Nobody is saying Barnes wont be a nice NBA player down the line. But the league is littered with high draft picks that struggle to make an impact in the first year or two of their careers. In the last two years alone, several high draft picks are struggling to find their niche, including: Derrick Williams, Tristan Thompson, Bismack Biyombo, Wes Johnson, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jimmer Fredette, etc.Jonny Flynn was the No. 6 pick in 2009, and hes not even on a roster at this point. In other words, it can be a mistake to expect too much too soon from a rookie, and Barnes is no exception. Before you start thinking about Barnes as a starter, lets see him as a bona-fide NBA player and contributor first.If Barnes proves he can be that by the end of the season, chances are the starting will have probably taken care of itself.RELATED: Harrison Barnes 2012 Summer League stats
Barnes will be competing for minutes at the small forward position along with Brandon Rush and Richard Jefferson. Rush made it clear after he re-signed last month that he wants to start, and hes got as much reason to claim that spot as anyone else.Jeffersons best years are behind him, but hes still good enough and professional enough that he will be difficult to overlook. As far as playing in big games and havingplayoff experience, nobody on the Warriors can touch Jefferson. Barnes strengths seem to be his size, his athleticism and his ability to shoot the basketball in certain situations. Hes not the type of player who can consistently create his own shot and it remains to be seen whether hell become one but he does have the ability to elevate after one dribble and shoot over some defenders.Like all rookies, Barnes will struggle to defend, but theres no reason with his length and athleticism that he couldnt become an above average-wing defender over time.If theres an area where Barnes will likely struggle its in situations when hes asked to handle the ball and make quick decisions. Its not that Barnes is a bad ballhandler; hes not. Its just that hes not refined enough in that area to make plays for teammates at this point.In the open court, hes a finisher and not a facilitator.How much Barnes plays will probably be determined in large part by whether or not he can make shots consistently. Hes said to be a pretty good shooter, but his numbers in college werent that impressive: 43 percent from the field, 35 percent from 3-point range in 75 total games.Its possible his shot selection will get better in the pros because hell be focused on less by defenses particularly early in his career. Its no secret that everyone including the Warriors organization has Barnes penciled in as the teams long-term starter at small forward. When that will happen, however, is anyones guess.UP NEXT: Kent Bazemore

No sweep here: Without Isaiah Thomas, Celtics stun Cavs in Game 3

No sweep here: Without Isaiah Thomas, Celtics stun Cavs in Game 3

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CLEVELAND — Avery Bradley's 3-pointer dropped in with less than a second left and the Boston Celtics, blown out in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals and playing without star Isaiah Thomas, stunned the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-108 on Sunday night in Game 3 to end the champions' 13-game postseason winning streak.

Bradley's shot from the left wing bounced on the rim four times before going down. It capped a furious comeback by the Celtics, who trailed by 21 in the third quarter before rallying to tighten up a series that appeared to be over.

Marcus Smart scored 27 points, and Bradley had 20 for the Celtics. They were given little chance after losing by 44 in Game 2 and then losing Thomas for the rest of the postseason because of a hip injury.

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, and Kevin Love 28 for Cleveland. The Cavaliers dropped to 10-1 in the postseason with their first loss since Game 4 of last year's Finals.

Zaza Pachulia: Popovich's words 'very big part' of threats to family

Zaza Pachulia: Popovich's words 'very big part' of threats to family

Zaza Pachulia can take being the villain in the opposing fans' eyes. But when it turns to his family, the situation becomes much different. 

Pachulia revealed Sunday to USA Today that security guards were sent to his childrens' school in San Francisco recently as a precaution after his family received threats. Spurs star forward Kawhi Leonard injured his ankle in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals after landing on Pachulia's foot and many questioned Pachulia's actions in the play. 

One person who made his feelings on Pachulia's actions loud and clear is Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, even using the word "manslaughter" in a rant that deemed the big man a dirty player. 

“I don’t blame everything on Pop, but what he said had a lot of influence (and) you had a lot of people where, unfortunately, you can’t control what everybody’s intelligence is,” Pachulia said. “(Fans) just hear the message, and it’s, ‘Ok, Pop said so and now let’s do this.’ It’s just wrong. You’ve got to think, and realize. Threaten me, but don’t threaten my wife or say something about my kids. It’s just wrong.

“Me as a person, as a man, I don’t mind dealing with it. But I hate to see my family deal with it. My wife and my kids who have nothing to do with it, who are very innocent. ... I just hate my family going through that. They don’t deserve that. … I’m not blaming everything on (Popovich), but he was a very big part of it.”

Pachulia then went into more detail with what happened at his childrens' school. 

“Look at what happened at the school. It was unfortunate. They had to get extra security because we are living in a world today where social media is so active, you can find any news you want to, hear any news you want to, and obviously it’s a hot topic lately. They just had hired extra security for the entrance, and make sure nobody goes in the school," Pachulia said. "It’s just not fair. It does upset me."

The 33-year-old Pachulia showed his respects for Popovich as a person and a coach. What he wishes most is that Popovich would have chosen his words better. 

"I have a lot of respect for him," Pachulia said. "In today’s basketball world, he’s a very, very respected person. So when Pop says something like that, calling me out ... it's understanding that (your words) will have an effect.

"I’m going to do defend my team, but I’m not going to send a message saying this guy killed (a player), is a murderer or whatever, manslaughter, because people take it differently. We live in a society where not everybody has intelligence, or understanding or is thinking of what’s right and what’s wrong. We’re going to move on. Hopefully (the fans) can let it go. But you know, I’m sure that a year later, 10 years later, (his family is) still going to remember this moment – and not in a good way. It’s something where your heart breaks, and even though life goes on you still feel it in a bad way. I think that’s going to be the case.”

The Warriors lead the Spurs 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals. Pachulia was ruled out of Game 3 with a right heel contusion he sustained in Game 3. He is listed as questionable for Game 4.