Warriors focus: Harrison Barnes

872697.jpg

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

NBA Gameday: Barnes, Warriors welcome Kings to Oracle

NBA Gameday: Barnes, Warriors welcome Kings to Oracle

OAKLAND -- Seeking their sixth consecutive win, the Warriors will get their first look at the dramatically revamped Sacramento Kings when the teams meet Friday night at Oracle Arena.

A win by the Warriors, combined with a Cleveland Cavaliers loss, would give the Warriors homecourt advantage in any NBA Finals scenario.

But the Warriors (57-14) may have to squint to recognize these Kings, who last month traded star big man DeMarcus Cousins -- the team’s mainstay for seven years -- to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and other considerations.

The Kings (27-44) have lost 11 of 14 games since the deal and are slowly sinking out of the Western Conference playoff race.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 17.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Klay Thompson vs. Buddy Hield: It’s a battle between the Bahamians, or as Thompson has said of Hield, “My Bahamian brother.” Thompson has been cooking, shooting 53.2 percent (25-of-47) beyond the arc and 55.3 (52-of-94) percent overall over the last five games. Hield, a rookie from Oklahoma, has adapted well to Sacramento, scoring in double digits in 10 of 11 games while shooting 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from deep and 50.0 percent (60-of-120) overall this month.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, tibial bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Kings: F Rudy Gay (L Achilles tear) and G Malachi Richardson (R hamstring partial tear) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 7-3. Kings: 2-8.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors have won two of three meetings this season and 15 of the last 17 overall, including the last seven games in Oakland.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE TRANSITION GAME: Though the Kings are playing faster in the post-Cousins era, they still have little chance of matching the pace at which the Warriors prefer to play. Expect the Warriors to push at every opportunity, even if it means committing a few turnovers, in order to coax Sacramento out of rhythm. The Kings rank 26th in fast-break points and actually had a game in which they scored 0 fast-break points.

BOMBS AWAY: The Warriors rank third in 3-point shooting percentage (38.3), while the Kings rank 26th in 3-point percentage defense (37.2). There will opportunities galore for Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Ian Clark and Thompson -- who two years ago torched the Kings with an NBA-record 37 points in a quarter.

THIS “SKAL” GUY: Rookie forward Skal Labissiere, a 6-foot-11 package of raw talent, has been something of a revelation for the Kings. Emerging from the shadows in the wake of the Cousins deal, he has reminded observers why he was such a heralded prep recruit from the Memphis area. This sounds like a job for Draymond Green.

QUOTABLE

“Try to kill ‘em, plain and simple. Things didn’t go well there. They’re the enemy now. So we’re trying to kill ‘em. Beat ‘em by 50.” -- Warriors forward Matt Barnes on facing the Kings, who released him last month.

Warriors recall Kevon Looney from D-League ahead of Kings game

Warriors recall Kevon Looney from D-League ahead of Kings game

The Golden State Warriors have recalled forward Kevon Looney from the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, the team announced today. Looney will be available for tonight’s Golden State game against the Sacramento Kings, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. (PDT) at Oracle Arena. 

Looney tallied 10 points, eight rebounds and one block in 13 minutes off the bench for Santa Cruz in Thursday's 106-103 road victory against the Austin Spurs. The 6’9”, 220-pound forward has appeared in four games (one start) with Santa Cruz this season, holding averages of 12.8 points and 11.3 rebounds while shooting 56.1 percent from the field in 19.8 minutes.  

Golden State Warriors media services