We are in full offseason mode as folks are analyzing the play of former Golden State Warrior and current Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes in the 2016 Finals.
If you’re a fan of classic sports, you must be in heaven right now. As sports news networks scramble to put together some kind of programming during the nationwide lockdown, we are blessed with reruns of some of the most historic games in history. A recent airing by ESPN put a current Sacramento Kings player in the spotlight, albeit a negative one.
On Wednesday evening, ESPN re-aired Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. The historic matchup between the LeBron James and the Cavaliers and Stephen Curry and the Warriors was one for the ages. It was a gritty game, featuring 20 lead changes, 11 ties, and a poor performance by Harrison Barnes that people are now apparently noticing for the first time.
Barnes wasn’t good in those Finals. He averaged 9.3 points and shot poorly from beyond the arc. His Game 6 performance saw him go 0 for 8 from the field, score 0 points, and finish with a +/- of -20.
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We’re not going to pretend like Barnes was good in this series. But the Kings were not paying him based on that performance, at all. More than two years had passed since the 2016 Finals when Sacramento traded for him, and he had averaged 19 points and 5.5 rebounds in his two full years with the Mavericks. Those numbers are better than those of Tobias Harris, Andrew Wiggins, and just a couple of points behind Klay Thompson in that same stretch.
Speaking of Thompson, no one seems to remember that he went 2 for 10 from deep in that Game 7 for a game-worst -11.
Take a look back at the free-agent crop from the summer of 2019 when Barnes was on the open market. Tell me a better, cheaper option that the Kings had other than him. I’ll wait. There was no one who fit better both positionally and chemistry-wise. Barnes was easily the best choice, and the Kings had to pay the usual Sacramento Tax.
None of that information stopped people from taking to Twitter on Wednesday while watching that infamous broadcast from nearly four years ago. There were memes made in his “honor”, wondering how he averaged nine points and finessed the Kings in to an $85 million deal. One tweet said that Barnes’ number should be retired. By the Cavaliers.
Reactionary, as all NBA fans seem to be. The only issue with this is that it happened so long ago, and so much has changed. But no one pays attention to the Kings. A large majority of NBA fans (and probably the ones commenting on Wednesday) probably have not seen Barnes play a single minute this season, and he is one of the most disrespected players in the entire league.
We all just need something to talk about. I get it. We have been without sports for the better part of three weeks now and are itching for hot topics and heated debates. If anything, it is nice to see that NBA Twitter has not skipped a beat.