LAS VEGAS — Warriors forward Harrison Barnes struggled last season to adjust to a bench role following the signing of Andre Iguodala, and he doesn’t deny that the whole situation bothered him.
“I got caught up in that last year,” Barnes said Wednesday after voluntarily practicing with the Warriors’ summer league team even though he isn’t on the roster. “I’m not really worried about that this year.”
New Warriors coach Steve Kerr appears to be wiping the slate clean, saying that the 22-year-old Barnes “absolutely” has a chance to earn a starting job in training camp after getting in the lineup in only 24 games last season.
“Andre was the starter last year, and he very well may be this year,” Kerr said of Iguodala, who made the NBA All-Defensive first team while his numbers on offense were down. “It all depends on combinations and who’s coming off the bench. I would say Andre is more of a ball-handler and a playmaker than Harrison. Harrison’s probably a little more of a scoring-minded player, so you have to factor all those things in when you decide who’s going to start and who’s going to come off the bench.”
Kerr noted that Barnes was at his best as a rookie playing power forward before the role changed. The shooting percentage subsequently fell.
“I think the biggest difference with Harrison from Year 1 to Year 2 with Harrison was that he was not starting and not playing with Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) and (Andrew) Bogut,” Kerr said. “He kind of anchored the second unit last year, so I think there was more on his plate offensively.
“It was a necessary (adjustment) because of Andre’s arrival. It changed the chessboard for Harrison, and it was hard. It was hard for him, and we’ve talked about it. He had to take a lot of tough shots. The game’s a lot easier when you play with your starters.”