After surviving a big comeback by the Chicago Bulls, the Sacramento Kings now have a 29-19 record, firmly planted in the Western Conference playoff picture. For a while, it didn’t seem like they would get there.
In mid-January, the Kings went on a four-game losing streak and dropped into PlayIn territory. De’Aaron Fox didn’t look quite like himself, others failed to step up during that stretch, and the Kings’ defense was not very good.
That stretch had many fans calling for a big trade deadline move to get the team some fresh energy. Harrison Barnes was at the forefront of the conversation as many of us called for a defensive-minded, more consistent forward to replace him.
The Kings made Barnes, Kevin Huerter, and Davion Mitchell available in trade talks earlier this season. By now, no move has been made and the trade deadline is only four days away.
Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fisher recently reported, “Aside from the Kuzma connection—the Kings have pursued Kuzma dating back to his Lakers days—Sacramento isn’t currently known to be pursuing other roster upgrades that would require parting with Harrison Barnes, sources said, and he could very well stick in Sacramento beyond the deadline.”
So, let’s look at three reasons the Kings might want to hold on to Barnes.
3. His recent performances
Harrison Barnes started the season off with a scorching-hot 33-point performance in Utah. After that, he eclipsed the 20-point mark in late November against the Pelicans and then seven games ago to start his best stretch of the season.
In between those games, he was incredibly up-and-down, scoring anything between 0 and 19 points. That is exactly what bothers Kings fans about Barnes. He had too many games this season already in which he just wasn’t a factor. The veteran still has plenty left in the tank but he doesn’t show it consistently.
Recently, he has been filling the stat sheets, however. The Kings responded to their four-game losing streak in mid-January with a 122-107 win over the Hawks. Barnes had a huge part in that win, putting up 32 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal.
He followed that up with a career-best game against the Warriors and has been pretty steady ever since. Against Memphis and Miami, he didn't shoot well but still found a way to score, grab rebounds, and have an impact.
Since that Hawks game, he has been averaging around 20 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal. If that is the version of Harrison Barnes the Kings will get for the rest of the season, it will be tough to find an upgrade.