Consistency & Durability
First of all, in case you aren’t familiar with the Sacramento Tax, here’s a summary: the Kings gotta hand out a little extra cash to get guys to come play ball in Cow Town. Pretty much any free agent contract that the Kings hand out is going to be somewhat inflated, so take that in to account when looking at recent contracts given out by Vlade Divac and company.
On many nights, Barnes looks like he is worth every penny. He provides nightly consistency, averaging 14.7 points per game on 46 percent from the field, the latter being his best mark since the 2016-’17 season. He is the third-leading scorer on the team and has put up 30+ points on three different occasions this season.
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Not only does his presence show up in the box score, but he has hand a big hand in many of Sacramento’s victories this season. The Kings often go to the steady hand of Barnes when they need a big basket, and he has provided on countless occasions throughout the year. His game is versatile, and his ability to knock down the outside shot is just as handy as his ability to back down his man in the post and flick in a tricky layup.
Barnes also provided one of the biggest moments of the season. The Kings were 0-5 and facing a tough Utah Jazz team when Barnes’ put-back game winner put Sacramento in the win column for the first time all year. That play changed the momentum of the season for the Kings, at least for a while.
But the trait that makes Barnes so valuable to Sacramento is the one that is overlooked and under appreciated most by Kings fans. Barnes has played in all 64 of Sacramento’s games so far this season, and averages the most minutes on the team at 34.9 per game. He has played the fifth most minutes of any NBA player so far this year (2,231).
Somewhat impressive, right?
Now take in to account what Barnes went through before his grueling season began. He along with the rest of the Kings suffered the early-season jet lag from their pre-season trip to India for the first ever India Games. But that was his second trip to Asia since the previous season. He also visited India on a promotional tour in May.
That’s not all. Barnes was also a member of Team USA, and spent much of the summer in the gym preparing for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Being a part of that team also included a three-week trip to Australia and Beijing, making it Barnes third trip across the Pacific in less than five months. On two of those occasions, he was playing competitive basketball.
These are the two main reasons why Harrison Barnes is a valuable asset to the Sacramento Kings, contrary to popular belief. He is consistent and reliable, and his commitment to his game and his craft goes a long way in setting an example for the younger players on the team.
Barnes’ might not be worth $85 million if you’re just checking box scores. It is when you dig a little deeper when you find his real value, and you learn that he is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated players in the game today.