Wednesday night was a rough night for Harrison Barnes — at least on Twitter. During ESPN’s replays of Game 5 and Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, Barnes was trending on Twitter because of how bad he was in those two games.
In Game 5, Barnes scored 5 points on 2-14 shooting from the field. In Game 7, he scored 10 points on 3-10 shooting from the field. Through the seven-game series, he averaged 9.3 points per game on 35.2% shooting from the field, including 31% shooting from behind the arc.
There’s obviously more to basketball than just scoring, but most of the shots Barnes missed were wide open because of the attention Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson demanded, and at crucial moments in the game. He was bad, and everyone was reminded of that on Wednesday. However, not everyone was so critical of Barnes.
In the midst of all the slander Barnes was getting, his Sacramento Kings teammate Marvin Bagley III came to his defense on Twitter.
HB would give every last one of y’all a bucket ♂️— Marvin Bagley III (@MB3FIVE) April 2, 2020
Here’s the thing: Bagley’s absolutely right! Barnes can score on a majority of the general public and a lot of NBA players. That being said, that doesn’t change how bad Barnes was in the 2016 NBA Finals — those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.
The good news is that Barnes bounced back after the 2016 NBA Finals and signed a four-year, $95 million with the Dallas Mavericks. That contract was set to expire in 2020, but the Kings, who traded for Barnes last year, signed Barnes to a four-year, $85 million contract last summer.
Will Barnes live up to that contract? Probably not, but the Kings will have a serviceable forward on their roster until 2023.
It’s also worth noting that Barnes played a huge role in the 7-3 run the Kings went on after the All-Star break. In those 10 games, Barnes averaged 15.8 points per game on 49.5% shooting from the field, including 46.8% shooting from behind the arc, while averaging 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
Barnes might not be able to shake his past, but he can continue to play a key role in the Kings’ present and future.