Uh Oh, Looks Like Harrison Barnes Isn’t Ready to Hand Over Starting Job

At media day, when asked about the SF competition, Barnes expressed appreciation that he had a coach willing to consider a rookie to start. But when discussing his chances, he simply left it at “we’ll see.”

Uh oh. Sounds like whatever he had brewing is working.

Late last night, after the evening practice, I was talking with a source about the small forward competition. This source, who I trust and has seen every second of practice, said rookie Harrison Barnes has been special the first two practices. He went as far as saying “it’s Harrison Barnes’ job to lose.” Coming from him, it says something. Trust me.

Now, I’ve been considering Barnes a long shot of sorts in favor of easing him along, not putting too much pressure on him. We don’t get much practice, but allowing Barnes to develop methodically is a good plan. But it sounds like Barnes is having the kind of camp so far that makes him a serious contender to start. Admittedly, I was a bit surprised by the strong endorsement. Barnes has been flying under-the-radar lately and coach Mark Jackson has seemed pretty hesitant to tout him too hard. (Maybe that is a hint.) He praises him, but he usually quickly follows by pointing out it’s early or he hasn’t done it in games yet or he has a lot of room to grow.

No doubt, Barnes has the size and athleticism to feel the void at small forward. Golden State doesn’t need offense, which is his strength, but Jackson said Barnes has been working on his defense since the team began working out in earnest after Labor Day. Barnes has been chasing around Klay Thompson to help improve his defensive skills. Apparently it’s helping. If Barnes can hold his own defensively, Brandon Rush and Richard Jefferson had better watch out.

I still like the idea of bringing him along slowly. But nothing wrong with the best player getting the nod, rookie or no.

Marcus Thompson

  • Jack

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say here Marcus.

  • noma_pride

    I agree with bringing him along in a measured way. Let him prove himself against the 2nd unit in actual NBA games before handing him the starting job out of the gate. If he’s our best SF, it should be obvious. I’m not thrilled about risking making him a Game 1 starter, struggle, and then get demoted to the bench.

  • Bobby G


    “Barnes is projected starter, according to source.”

  • noah

    I see no rush (npi) to start Barnes. Totally agree with Noma: if he earns it in regular season games, switch it up. If Barnes is ready to play big minutes, I think they have to start Rush because there aren’t enough minutes for three SF. If Barnes isn’t ready, I like Rush off the bench and RJ as the starter. I love the idea of a second unit anchored by Rush, Jack and Landry.

  • Wil

    If Barnes proofs to be better than the competition, start him. Or may the unquestionable best be the starter. But let’s not read too much into a few practices, let’s wait it out, but pencil Barnes in as the starter for now. Although, I have no problems with Rush starting either. Preference, Barnes.

  • deano

    Meyers has assembled a deep and talented roster at the 1-3 positions. It will be a real test of Jackson’s coaching abilities to find the best combinations of Curry-Jack-Thompson-Rush-Barnes. Since Jack and Rush can each play two positions, they may be the best suited to come off the bench when and where needed.

    My bet is that RJ is out of the mix. He was the guy we took to get rid of SJack. That was important, but I do not see him providing more unless someone gets injured. Even then, Bazemore or Green may eventually be better choices.

  • earl monroe

    When a player is drafted in the 7th spot, usually they are capable of starting

  • Get With It

    Jefferson was terrible last season. He has lost a step, and wants to stand there and hoist. His veteran leadership has value, but little else. Rush was a beast but he is a few inches too short (common theme over the last few seasons for us), and he is mighty nice leading the 2nd unit off the bench. That is tough to give up. Barnes only needs to be an animal on D, leave it all out on the floor. He is tall enough, has a sick vertical leap, and can shoot deep if he needs to. But being a young stud and having Bogut to show him what tough D looks like, and he is about the best thing we have to put out there at the 3. Back him up with Draymond. Rush can back up Klay. That has to lead to some wins.

  • Neko Niner

    Im a big unc fan and watch harrison fill it up at chaple hill if his D inprovers he will get huge mins

  • Ultra-Humanite

    At least, the team that drafted them thinks they are capable of starting. This does not always prove to be the case however.

  • Grey Warden

    I feel bad for DGreen. He’s not going to get any playing time at all. Same with CJenkins (unless Curry gets hurt).

    Either way, I don’t think it matters who Jackson starts at the 3. I’m going to guess BRush gets the most minutes, regardless of whether he starts or not. He’s going to get playing time at both SG and SF positions.

    Plus there’s enough starters out there with good offense, so the key is to mix in some defense in there with the starters. You already have Curry and Lee as defensive liabilities, Thompson is ok; so basically it’s only Bogut out there as a defensive starter.

    So if I had to guess, Jefferson will get the start, but will play limited minutes, Rush backs him up and slides over to SG when Thompson needs a rest, and Barnes comes in after Rush to play SF position.

  • JudnNC

    Barnes. It’s not even close.

  • Jai

    I’m surprised to hear that about Barnes too. I saw him play in Vegas for 4 games. He shot so many bricks, he could have built a house. “Clank” lol. Seriously, maybe he just had consecutively bad shooting nights. They’ll play the Lakers on Sunday. We’ll see

  • Mark

    My opinion is this, if Barnes is the best starting option at SF we have, then ditch the negativity and back him confidently….we are winners this season and winners don’t think about what ‘might’ go wrong.

  • Rambo Dave

    I watched all of the Summer League games. Barnes did not look so good, except for that first game, when his shot was falling.

    He is good for just one dribble and then a shot or pass. Every time he tries to dribble the ball more than one dribble he looks down at the ball, like he is affraid he’ll mess up or have it stolen. He just does not look natural doing this. It makes me real nervous when I see him dribble. He needs a lot of practice before he can become a slasher like Rush.

  • GB

    It is not a huge undertaking for someone as highly touted and hardworking as Harrison Barnes to start over two usually apathetic drug users, one who according to sources spends all his time in Vegas partying instead of working on his game. I consider him starting more of a referendum on Rush/Jefferson than a positive towards Barnes. GSW is not as strong as people like to think.

  • Niners in 2012

    BRush excells off the bench, its HARD finding guys who can produce off the bench, it’s a mentality. Keep him in that role.

  • I’m really excited to see a Warriorsteam that isn’t going to be forced to give minutes to really bad basketball players.

  • moto

    EvanZ, well and good for a fan to get excited, that’s their calling anyway, but a few of those ‘really bad basketball players’ — as perceived by many others, not necessarily from your perspective — actually got coached up by D.Nelson into serviceable n.b.a. journeymen. (Tolliver, Morrow, Watson, Williams)


    I’ve. been telling each and every fan I have that my sources keep telling me Harrison was the best player in this draft and will be way better than A Davis. Just another reason to not only respect what I say, but to live your life as I guide you and help you all form an opinion even I would agree with!

  • TheLastWarrior

    Marcus I thought YOU were the source ☻


    I’ve. been telling each and every fan I have that my sources keep telling me Harrison was the best player in this draft and will be way better than A Davis. Just another reason to not only respect what I say, but to live your life as I guide you and help you all form an opinion even I would agree with!

  • Moto, I’m glad none of those players are on this team. “Serviceable NBA journeymen” do not usually help teams win championships.

  • Jeremy

    The way Rush played last year, he should be the incumbent at SF. His defense is extremely necessary, and he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to score efficiently and effectively. Barnes’ scoring ability is much more needed in the 2nd unit.

    Call me crazy, but defending Klay in practice isn’t all the impressive. Klay (right now) is a mediocre SG with the skills to do big things but doesn’t do them with consistency.

  • nickj

    To me I would probably start the rook at small forward and see how well it works out, but he must have a strong defensive mindset. Offense should come easier as he is a good scorer but what we need to see is how well he does in defensive assignments and his rotations, with rebounding a high priority as well. Rush was absolutely killer off the bench last year and that is a valuable commodity to have as he was great on the defensive side of the ball as well. so we’ll see but I think I’d give the first starting assignment to Barnes and go from there.

  • Gwydion

    Jeremy, you’re crazy.