Harrison Barnes is expendable (if upgraded)
Ever since Harrison Barnes sort of disappeared in the biggest moments of the Kings’ playoff series against the Warriors, fans have been clamoring for an upgrade. A good 3-and-D wing who can start and be okay with only getting spare touches is hard to come by, though, so the Kings re-signed Barnes.
Barnes started the season off hot with a 33-point performance against the Jazz but cooled off quickly. Too often it feels like he is not impacting the game in a positive way on either end of the floor.
As a result, the starting small forward position is the Kings’ weakest spot right now. Especially defensively, they struggle to guard teams with good long wings, like the Pelicans, for example.
Keegan Murray alone cannot change that. At the same time, however, the Kings also don’t have anyone to replace Barnes. Chris Duarte and Kessler Edwards are both not the solution. One thing Mike Brown could try would be sliding Murray to the three and starting Trey Lyles at the four, but that also won’t solve all the defensive problems.
So, Barnes is expendable but only conditionally. If Barnes is included in a deal that trade has to bring in another forward/wing who can defend tall perimeter players.