While Harrison Barnes was a high draft pick, he was never asked to play a big role on the Golden State Warriors. There, he was a complementary piece alongside the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Now, though, Barnes has left the Warriors to sign a max contract with the Dallas Mavericks. He’s getting a lot more money now, and in turn the Mavericks expect him to take on a much larger role than the one he had with the Warriors.
The hope is for Barnes to help make the Mavs a contender, or at least an outside contender, while Dirk Nowitzki finishes the twilight portion of his career. He will be a key cog, a go-to guy, in Dallas.
“I think he can do a lot more than he’s been asked to do, and that’s what we expect to see. … Maybe not first year, but I think he’s going to grow into [the role of go-to guy]. Just because a guy hasn’t done things doesn’t mean he can’t do it,” said Mark Cuban (via ESPN.com) who obviously has a lot invested in Barnes.
Rick Carlisle also has confidence in his new hybrid forward, saying, “It’s going to take time to develop the mentality, make sure we’re getting him in the right situations to do it, but he has the ability and he’s a worker. I’m confident that he’ll get there.”
However, people outside the Mavs organization are more skeptical. One executive with another team called Barnes “at best a third option.” In truth, we don’t really know what Barnes will be. Asking him to be a go-to guy is asking a lot of him, perhaps too much. He definitely needs to prove he is up to the task. If he isn’t, Dallas has swung and missed again in their desire to give Dirk one more shot at a second ring.