Jan 24, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) reacts after missing a shot at the buzzer against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Timberwolves defeated the Warriors 121-120. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Warriors' Harrison Barnes Headed to Rising Stars Challenge

Despite being currently mired in a slump, Golden State Warriors’ forward Harrison Barnes will be headed to NBA All-Star weekend to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge.

Barnes is averaging 10.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 42 games this season, but has struggled as of late. He is scoring just 6.5 points per game in the month of January and has not finished a game in double-digits in two weeks.

Regardless, Barnes will be joining the rest of the top first and second-year NBA players in New Orleans next month. He was selected to play in the Rising Stars game last season a rookie, when he averaged 9.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 81 games. He also earned a spot on the All-Rookie First Team.

However, the difference between last season and this season is that Barnes is no longer the Warriors’ starting small forward. The addition of Andre Iguodala in the offseason relegated Barnes to the sixth man role this season, where he has been rather inconsistent. Although he is playing 3.9 minutes more per game this season than last (29.3 minutes per game), most of those minutes are spent alongside the reserve unit, and he is not getting the same amount of good looks and opportunities that he was last season.

When asked by Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle to describe his first-half performance, Barnes responded, “Personally, probably not that high. One thing I wanted to focus on was consistency, and I haven’t been able to accomplish that.”

Barnes, still just 21 years of age, is a project, and the Warriors are still trying to figure out what role suits him best.

In the meantime, it’s good that the rest of the league recognizes him as a young talent, and he will join Stephen Curry in the All-Star festivities.

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