Golden State Warriors: Who's Most Important To Their Long-Term Success?

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Harrison Barnes

Feb 9, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) dunks the ball during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Warriors 116-91. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 2 spot came down to Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson. Thompson has a few more games under his belt than Barnes, but Barnes’ potential for more consistency puts him slightly above Thompson.

Potential for consistency is the key phrase in that last sentence. Barnes averaged 9.2 points on 43.9 percent shooting in 25.4 minutes per game in 2012-13. Over a flat 36-minute rate, he averaged a much more telling 13.1 points. That’s more telling because Barnes’ minutes will see a spike in the coming years, perhaps to the mid-30’s to the high-30’s level.

Barnes wasn’t consistent in his rookie season. He would have a good first quarter, but make himself invisible for the reminder of the game. He would have a dominant game but fail to produce an encore. He would have a string of good games but offset them with a string of mediocre ones. You know, patterns like those, or in short, rookie patterns–not in all cases.

However, Barnes is one of the few Warriors that can effectively penetrate. And yes, layups are higher percentage shots than three-point jumpers, which is Thompson’s so-called niche.

Thompson’s heat maps (courtesy of Basketball-Reference):

And now Barnes’ shot chart:

Not only do higher percentage shots tilt the scale in Barnes’ favor, but when he wins his matchups, the Warriors are 18-4. By comparison, they’re 11-14 when he falls short.

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