Forget the Sacramento Kings roster; Harrison Barnes might be one of the most underappreciated and overlooked players in the entire NBA.
There is no Sacramento Kings player who is more underappreciated than Harrison Barnes, and he might be one of the most overlooked assets in the entire league.
There are a few factors that play in to the common misconceptions about Barnes, and the first one is his reputation. He was the starting small forward on the greatest regular season team in NBA history, helping the 2015-’16 Golden State Warriors to a record 73 victories. He averaged a then-career high 11.7 points that year, and was a solid scoring option behind the best shooting duo ever.
Then came Barnes’ poor performance in front of the entire world during the historic 2016 NBA Finals. Aside from his 4 for 5 performance in Game 4 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Barnes made just 5 of his 24 three-point attempts throughout the series, a 20.8 percent clip (31 percent if you include Game 4). He was particularly abysmal in Golden State’s Game 6 loss in Cleveland when he went 0 for 8 from the field including 0 for 5 from deep. The Warriors would go on to lose in the biggest upset in NBA history.
Over the ensuing summer, he was replaced by none other than Kevin Durant, who helped lead the Warriors to two championships in the coming years. Barnes signed a free agent deal with the Dallas Mavericks and became somewhat of an afterthought now that Durant had shored up any holes that he had left in Oakland.
But his reputation was set in stone: a choker in the big moment.
Another factor in the unfair way that people look at Barnes is his contract history. After his poor showing in his final games in Golden State, he was rewarded by Mark Cuban and the Mavericks with a $22 million per year contract that many said he didn’t earn. He followed that up by signing a four-year deal with Sacramento last offseason that would pay him $24 million in the first year. Big bucks for a guy who averaged 14.3 points in just 28 games with Sacramento up to that point.
Not only is does Barnes have the reputation of an overpaid role player with the general NBA crowd, but much of the Kings fan base is also sour on his current contract and overall position on the team. There has been noise on social media about Sacramento needing to trade Barnes away, and that a serious upgrade is needed to the small forward position before the Kings can hope to start winning games.
But the truth is, Harrison Barnes is a valuable asset to the Sacramento Kings, bloated contract be damned. Here’s why…