Harrison Barnes’ NBA tenure is just one year old, but he’s already garnered the respect of Kobe Bryant.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles interviewed Bryant about a bevy of subjects, including his Achilles injury, the 2008 NBA Finals and the development of the NBA. But there was also a section about the young players he appreciates–Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.
And then, Harrison Barnes:
Harrison Barnes, he’s like a little brother to me. There’s guys in the league that I definitely look out for and try to steer them in the right direction.
Barnes’ name kind of came out of left field. If you’ll recall, Barnes was guarding Kobe just before he tore his Achilles. I’m not saying that the gruesome play has anything to do with Kobe’s comment coming out of left field, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
If you read between the lines, it’s evident that Kobe sees something special in Barnes, and who doesn’t? The North Carolina product tantalized in his rookie season, but his postseason coming out party further confirmed his status as one of the game’s best young players.
Barnes was recently invited to Team USA’s minicamp along with Klay Thompson. As the duo garners more experience, the Warriors could be among the Western Conference’s elite for a good part of the next decade with Stephen Curry, Thompson and Barnes leading the way.