Welcome to Lakers LinkedIn, our new free agency preview series (inspired by our friends over at Liberty Ballers' own "Sixers Tinder") where we look at the "resumes" of various free agents, and determine whether or not we think the Lakers' should hire them. The Lakers are apparently interested in Harrison Barnes, but should they be?
Harrison Barnes’ Resume:
-NBA All-Rookie First Team
-First-team All-ACC (2012)
Harrison Barnes was an instrumental part of the Golden State Warriors during their 2015 championship run. Barnes averaged only 10.1 points per game but had career-high shooting percentages, including a 40.5 percent mark from three-point range. Barnes is also a solid defender and his ability to guard multiple positions enabled the Warriors to use him effectively.
Barnes was again a valuable starter on the 73-win Warriors in 2016. Entering restricted free agency at the end of the season with the first cap spike, Barnes will almost certainly be looking for a max contract. The small forward averaged a career-high 11.7 points per game, but his shooting percentages took a small dip. Barnes’ offensive and defensive rating, according to basketball-reference, also slipped from the 2015 campaign but just 24-years old, Barnes still has some room to grow into a solid two-way player.
However, there are some huge red flags with Barnes. He doesn’t really distribute the ball, averaging just 1.5 assists per game in his career. Barnes also had a horrendous postseason and tends to disappear in big games. During the first round of the playoffs, Barnes shot 29 percent from the field and 20 percent from three. He improved as the playoffs progressed, eventually shooting 48 percent from the floor in Golden State’s return from a 3-1 series deficit against Oklahoma City. But even in that series, Barnes had bad performances in Game 5 and Game 7. He had 11 points on 4-13 shooting in both those games. That isn’t exactly the type of player deserving of a max contract.
The final nail in the coffin for me, however, is his performance in the Finals. Barnes reached new levels of awful in the matchup with the Cavaliers. He shot 5-32 over the final three games and was a huge negative for Golden State. The Warriors collapsed after having a 3-1 series lead and Barnes was a big part of that. Again, not exactly a ringing endorsement for someone seeking a max contract.
The biggest problem with Barnes is that he relies heavily on his scoring to make an impact and doesn’t compensate for an off shooting night by attacking the glass or making a conscious effort to pass more. This means he’s going to continue to take shots. His defense is at league-average levels and he is wildly inconsistent as a shooter. If you looked at 10 games in February and 10 games in March, you would think you were looking at stats for two different players.
The only thing Barnes can consistently do is hit a three. He’s a 37 percent shooter from deep for his career and that will have some value. However, he is not worth a max contract even in an offseason when the cap is ballooning. That's important because the Warriors can match all offers, so it would take the max to even possibly pry him away from the Bay Area. There is absolutely no reason for the Lakers to go after him.
Should the Lakers hire him? No thanks.