Coach Mark Jackson has decided to start Harrison Barnes over Klay Thompson in the Golden State Warriors’ preseason opener against the Los Angeles Lakers. Barnes’ status as a starter has been one of the most important questions of the offseason since the Warriors acquired Andre Iguodala. There are convincing arguments on both side, some stating that Klay Thompson’s hot hand and impressive on-ball defense are quintessential Sixth Man qualities, while others state that Thompson’s one extra year of experience make him inherently more deserving of the starting role.
The issue of Barnes’ development is also central to the question, as some believe that relegating the UNC product to the bench will impede the development of a player many were convinced had superstar potential during the playoffs. Apparently the move is not permanent and is only a preseason experiment, as Thompson will still likely start during the regular season. The message to Thompson is clear however, his job is not secure. If he has continued streaky performances like he did for the majority of the playoffs, expect Barnes to come in and take his spot on the starting lineup.
Harrison Barnes is a starter quality player and even if he is on the bench, he will be able to contribute for a lot of minutes. By having essentially 6 starting quality players, coach Jackson can have the flexibility to retool his roster in whatever permutation he needs.