Warriors

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

Bravo For Durant: No White House visit proves he has a set of principles

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AP

Bravo For Durant: No White House visit proves he has a set of principles

Though the Warriors have yet to receive an invitation to visit the White House in the wake of their championship season, one of their superstars already has decided he would not participate.

Kevin Durant, the NBA Finals MVP who grew up practically in the shadow of the White House, said he would not visit.

"Nah, I won't do that," Durant told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now."

Bravo for Durant. For speaking up when so many others are silent and, by acknowledging that this is an individual decision, proving he is willing to stand on a personal set of principles.

Visiting his hometown of Seat Pleasant, Md. for “Kevin Durant Day,” the forward didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name but made clear his disdain for the man who currently occupies the White House.

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that," Durant said. "That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Durant is not the first Warrior to publicly express such sentiments. Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston have specifically said they would not be willing to make the visit that has become customary for American championship teams. Coach Steve Kerr and veteran forward David West have been vocal in denouncing Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric and boorish behavior.

Uncertain whether an invitation is forthcoming, the Warriors issued a statement in June saying any collective decision regarding a White House visit would be made “when and if necessary.”

Their championship season ended two months ago. Training camp for next season begins next month. There has been no invitation.

Durant’s comments Thursday represent his first that directly address the possibility of visiting the White House. The Warriors, after their 2105 championship, made the visit when Barack Obama was president.

"I just wanted to sit back and analyze everything and gather my thoughts," he told ESPN. "I wanted to say something immediately, but I definitely want to be the voice of where I come from and people who have come from my neighborhood and deal with oppression.”

Addressing the division that has infected the national landscape, Durant pointed directly at Trump.

"He's definitely driving it," Durant said. "I feel ever since he's got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided and it's not a coincidence. When Obama was in office, things were looking up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black president, and that was a first.

"So, to see that, and to be where we are now, it just felt like we took a turn for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top -- leadership trickles down to the rest of us. So, you know, if we have someone in office that doesn't care about all people, then we won't go anywhere as a country. In my opinion, until we get him out of here, we won't see any progress."

Though not all Warriors have publicly commented on the subject, Durant’s hunch is accurate. This team has a collective conscience. There are causes in which every member believes, and two such causes are equality and inclusiveness.

Those alone are enough to ensure they would not splinter on this issue.

Kevin Durant doesn't respect Donald Trump: 'Until we get him out of here...'

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AP

Kevin Durant doesn't respect Donald Trump: 'Until we get him out of here...'

If the Warriors get invited to the White House and accept, will Kevin Durant attend?

"Nah, I won't do that," the 2017 NBA Finals MVP told ESPN's Chris Haynes on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that. That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

The Warriors are scheduled to play the Wizards in Washington D.C. on Feb. 28 (which happens to be the same date of last season's game in D.C. when Durant injured his knee).

On Monday, Steve Kerr provided an update.

"We have talked as an organization about a potential White House invitation and what that would mean," he told Damon Bruce of 95.7 The Game. "A couple weeks ago we decided let's get the players together and talk about it later this summer when we can -- just before Media Day probably.

"And we'll do that, and I'll just leave it at that."

Durant -- who is from Maryland -- was in his hometown of Seat Pleasant on Thursday to celebrate "Kevin Durant Day."

He didn't hold back when discussing Donald Trump.

"I feel ever since he's got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided and it's not a coincidence. When Obama was in office, things were looking up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black President, and that was a first.

"So, to see that, and to be where we are now, it just felt like we took a turn for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top -- leadership trickles down to the rest of us.

"So, you know, if we have someone in office that doesn't care about all people, then we won't go anywhere as a country. In my opinion, until we get him out of here, we won't see any progress."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller