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

Source: Warriors contact Turner Sports about Shaq's abuse of McGee

Source: Warriors contact Turner Sports about Shaq's abuse of McGee

OAKLAND -- Mess with one Warrior, you mess with the entire organization.

That’s the message the Warriors sent out Friday in the wake of a Twitter beef between center JaVale McGee and TNT analyst Shaquille ONeal that began late Thursday night and carried into the wee hours Friday morning.

Coach Steve Kerr fired back at O’Neal, as did Warriors forward Kevin Durant. The Warriors, as a franchise, contacted O’Neal’s bosses.

Kerr spent a portion of his post-practice news conference Friday afternoon defending McGee from O’Neal’s relentless ridicule on the video segment “Shaqtin’ A Fool.” Durant said O’Neal’s ongoing critiques are “childish,” adding that O’Neal was a great player with his own imperfections.

Prior to the comments by Durant and Kerr, though, it was confirmed by CSNBayArea.com that the Warriors contacted Turner Sports in hopes of getting TNT’s parent company to persuade O’Neal to curb the constant derision directed toward McGee because of its impact on his image and reputation.

The outreach was a direct response to a roughly two-minute segment Thursday night that was strictly limited to castigating McGee.

Upon getting wind of Durant’s comments, O’Neal turned to Twitter to tell Durant that McGee is a “bum” and to “mind yo business.”

Durant defends JaVale, blasts Shaq: 'He didn’t have any skill'

Durant defends JaVale, blasts Shaq: 'He didn’t have any skill'

OAKLAND -- The long-simmering acrimony between retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal and Warriors center JaVale McGee reached epic proportions late Thursday night and early Friday morning when the two engaged in a Twitter beef.

By Friday afternoon, Kevin Durant was stepping into the fray. He didn’t bother with Twitter, instead speaking his mind and firing verbal grenades at Shaq.

“JaVale works extremely hard,” Durant said after practice. “He has come in here and done so much for us as a player. He only wants to be respected, just like anybody else. And I understand that Shaq works for a company that wants him to do that type of stuff, and make fun of players. It’s cool and funny.

“But when you just keep doing it time and time and time again, for no reason, and then a guy actually disagrees with you? And you threaten him? I didn’t know cops could threaten civilians like that.”

O’Neal currently is a reserve police officer in Doral, Fla. He also has served in that capacity in several other cities.

The latest O’Neal-McGee spat began when O’Neal, now an analyst at TNT who frequently targets McGee for ridicule, presented a video Thursday night that mocked McGee. It was very personal.

McGee took offense and responded on Twitter, which led to the two men exchanging insults, with McGee accusing O’Neal of “cooning,” and O’Neal calling McGee “dumb” and threatening to “smack the s--t out” of McGee.

Though McGee was not available Friday, he was sharply defended by Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Durant.

“It’s definitely childish,” Durant said. “But that’s what they want from these stars and these retired players, is to feud with the guys that are playing now and make arguments and disagreements. If I was JaVale, I’d feel the same way. It’s childish.

“Shaq wants to make a joke about it, but if it was him in that position, he would feel the same way.

“Everybody can’t be Shaq. He’s trying to make his money and enjoy the game of basketball, and his perception of him is that he’s a ‘dumb’ player because he makes mistakes on the court. Shaq was a sh---y free-throw shooter. He missed dunks. He air-balled free throws. He couldn’t shoot outside the paint. He was bigger than everybody. He didn’t have any skill. But he was bigger and stronger than everybody.”

Durant then turned his head and seemed to speak directly to O’Neal.

“He was still a great player, but you had your flaws too as a player,” he said. “And you played on five of six teams, too. So it’s not like you’re this perfect center. You had your flaws too. Like I said, I didn’t know cops could go on Twitter and threaten civilians like that. I’m glad JaVale challenged him.”

Kerr, who has known O’Neal for more than 20 years, also came to McGee’s defense.

“I don’t blame him for being frustrated,” he said Kerr. “Shaq’s been picking on him for years and years and years. And JaVale, rightfully so, probably gets frustrated. It never ends. And it’s one thing to just have a little fun, but you can go a little bit over the top.

“It’s one of those things. If you think about JaVale’s career, when you’re in this position where someone is on national TV making fun of you night after night, it’s not the greatest thing for your reputation.

“I can tell you, I had a preconceived notion of JaVale before he got here that turned out to be totally false. And a lot of that was because of what goes on with Shaq’s ‘Shaqtin’ A Fool’ thing.”

***

Shaq responded to Durant Friday on Twitter, writing "@KDTrey5 mind yo business this ain't for you," and "@KDTrey5 I understand u sticking up for your teammate that's cool but your boy @JaValeMcGee34 is still a bum, he started it I'm a finish it."