Warriors coach Mark Jackson announced Monday that rookie Harrison Barnes will be his starting small forward.
Barnes and swingman Brandon Rush were the front-runners for the open spot all training camp. Jackson said, in the end, Barnes has the size and skill set the Warriors want in the starting lineup. But he also proved he can hold his own on the defensive end.
“He doesn’t give up on plays,” Jackson said. “He battles. He competes. He knows when he makes mistakes.”
A big factor, too, was Jackson’s comfort with Rush. Having registered a breakout year coming off the bench last season, Jackson said part of him wanted to keep Rush in that role. He said he values knowing what he’s going to get from Rush off the bench. With Barnes, who has never played a sixth man role, it would be more trial and error.
Another advantage is that Rush can play two positions. That versatility gives Jackson more options, as Rush can come in for Barnes or shooting guard Klay Thompson.
“B-Rush is going to get his share of minutes,” Jackson said.