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Through eight games, Harrison Barnes has been the key to the kingdom

Harrison Barnes has found his role in his third season with the Kings.

Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns Photo via Getty Images

Between his early years in Golden State, in which he garnered an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal within 13 months of each other, a stint with the Dallas Mavericks and an unexpected passport punch to Sactown at the 2019 trade deadline, you would think Harrison Barnes has been in the association forever and a day. But he hasn’t.

Barnes, 29, is only entering his 10th season in the NBA and Sacramento Kings fans have been delighted with what so far been a career year for the Black Falcon. Through eight games, Barnes has shattered expectations, averaging a career-high in points (23.3), rebounds (9.5) and steals (0.9). He’s also contributed no less than 15 points in a contest this season, resulting in him becoming the team’s leads leading scorer with 186 points. League-wide, he’s sitting at 21st in scoring.

Suffice to say, Barnes has been the Kings’ most consistent scorer this season and his hot streak couldn’t have come at a better time for the squad.

Sacramento Kings v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

While De’Aaron Fox has tried to find his groove, Barnes has been the helm of the bucket most nights due to one blaring statistic: efficiency. As things stand, Barnes is ranked 15th in efficiency across the league, tied with DeMar DeRozan at 25.9.

The Kings’ .500 record after a shaky string of games from Sacramento’s bouncy backcourt can be attributed to Barnes’ key offensive contributions in every single contest thus far, which have been highlighted by new career-highs and an ascension so serious that I’m prepared to give him a seat at the Most Improved Player table.

This season, we’ve already had a Black Falcon game winner, a career-night in 3 pointers made and a challenge from Luke Walton to shoot eight from beyond the arc per game. Barnes hasn’t met Walton’s challenge yet, but he is averaging a career-high 3-pointers per game (3.3) on a 47.3% clip From the field at large, Barnes is averaging 49.6%, another career-high.

Graphic via NBC Sports California

Age continues to become less of a contributing factor to decline in the association and at 29 years-old, Barnes is giving Sacramento a glimpse into what he can do at full strength, in the right system and as a necessary contributor to the offense. As Fox and Haliburton continue to build toward finding their offensive niche, having a dependable shooter and scorer in Barnes playing at this level efficiency will be the squad’s bread and butter.