Apr 16, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. The Warriors won 116-112. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors: Is Harrison Barnes Ready To Break Out Again?

During the regular season, Harrison Barnes did his best Harry Houdini impersonation, disappearing and reappearing sporadically throughout 78 games. He struggled to find his niche with the Warriors second unit and showed very little improvement from his rookie regular season.

Last April and May, though, Barnes showed the Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, and rest of the NBA why he was the seventh overall selection in the 2012 NBA draft. Barnes averaged 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per postseason game last April while playing a ton of stretch power forward against the Nuggets and Spurs.

Against the Clippers Saturday afternoon, Barnes again played a lot of power forward and again looked more comfortable on the floor. Thanks to Andrew Bogut’s rib injury as well as Blake Griffin’s foul trouble, Barnes played a lot of stretch four in the Dubs 109-105 win. He scored 14 points and pulled in eight rebounds including three off the offensive glass.

On offense he was not as aggressive posting up his defender and creating his own shot, but on multiple occasions his ability to knock down open three pointers helped the Warriors floor spacing.

Watch in the set above how Danny Granger (#33) begins the play guarding Harrison Barnes. Thanks to the Warriors pick-and-roll action plus poor communication by the Clippers defense, Barnes is wide open for a three pointer. The Clippers unit on the floor included three front-court players, Hedo Turkoglu, Danny Granger, and DeAndre Jordan. The three struggle to communicate and lose track of Barnes. In this play Barnes takes and hits a wide-open three pointer and while it looks easy here, all regular season Barnes would either hesitate or miss shots like the one shown above.

Watch in the play above, how again screen-and-roll action leads to poor communication involving Matt Barnes, DeAndre Jordan, and Blake Griffin. The Warriors confused the Clippers in the play above. Look how Matt Barnes (#22) looses track of Barnes as David Lee and Blake Griffin run towards the rim. Again Barnes takes and makes a wide-open three, but even shots like the two above were no gimme’s during the regular season.

Barnes scored a season high 30 points in the Warriors regular season finale and looked to play with that added confidence against the Clippers during game one. Last May, Harrison Barnes played like a wily veteran and not a rookie. This April and May, don’t be surprised if Barnes has another great postseason and shows flashes of the player the Warriors thought they were getting when they drafted him seventh overall two seasons ago.

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