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.
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.
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.