Warriors notebook: Harrison Barnes should benefit from new offense
By Diamond Leung
San Jose Mercury News
OAKLAND – The prime beneficiary from Warriors coach Steve Kerr preaching better ball movement could be Harrison Barnes.
Barnes suffered a setback in his second season while playing mostly off the bench for former coach Mark Jackson, who unsuccessfully ran isolation plays through a young forward unaccustomed to playing alongside subs.
“Those days at least for me, those are going to be put on hold for quite a while,” Barnes said Friday of playing isolation basketball.
“It’s just changing my game and just understanding where I’m going to get my shots now. I’m not going to be iso’d (isolated) on the post, iso’d on the elbow. It’s going to be moving, cutting, some spot-up shots, that kind of stuff."
Barnes, who saw his field goal percentage dip to 40 percent last season while taking tough shots, dedicated his offseason to simplifying his game at the behest of Kerr and his assistants.
"Part of what we’re trying to talk to him about is just move the ball on, don’t play in a crowd,” Kerr said. “If you feel an extra defender, just move the ball on and pass. And if you can do that and get the ball moving two or three times, you’re more likely to have an open shot. But you have to trust the offense and trust your teammates."
And if Barnes can get easier looks at the basket as Kerr emphasizes transition offense? "That’d make the rim a lot bigger,” Barnes said.
Another voice that could help unlock Barnes’ potential belongs to Warriors executive board member Jerry West, who has spoken to the player about the mental aspects of the game and quickly moving on from mistakes.
Barnes’ confidence following his rookie season took a hit after the Warriors traded for Andre Iguodala, who replaced him in the lineup.
“He was a young player, and it was tough for him to deal with mentally,” center Andrew Bogut said of Barnes. “He had a hell of a rookie year and then they brought in a former all-star to basically take his spot, so he was definitely frustrated.
"The one thing I will say about him, he didn’t stop working. He was always in the gym getting extra work in even when he played bad. He didn’t shoot the ball as well as he would have liked, but I think with some ball movement and some flowing offense, I think that’ll all change for him this year."
Said Barnes: "Just playing like that (with ball movement), it’s been fun.”