The Sacramento Kings had a ton of cap space to work with this offseason, and they certainly made use of it, signing veterans like Trevor Ariza, Dewayne Dedmon and Cory Joseph. Most notably, however, the Kings re-signed Harrison Barnes.
Barnes joined the Kings midway through last season after coming over in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks.
Typically known for his complementary role on the pre-Kevin Durant Warriors, Barnes found himself in a rather unfamiliar position during the 2018-19 campaign: that of a veteran leader.
For that reason, you can certainly see why Vlade Divac and Co. jumped at the chance to add Barnes in February and why the franchise made sure to bring him back over the summer.
Plus, Barnes played well during his 28-game stint with Sacramento this past year, averaging 14.3 points and 5.5 rebounds over 33.9 minutes per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the floor, 40.8 percent from 3-point range and 80.0 percent from the free-throw line.
All of that being said, it’s hard to imagine Harrison Barnes taking that much of a step forward heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
Barnes has already been in the NBA for seven years, so he pretty much is what he is at this point: a decent scorer who can slot in as either a small forward or a small-ball 4 and adequately guard multiple positions on the defensive end.
The problem is, Barnes isn’t elite at any one particular thing, and he also isn’t really good at one particular thing, either.
His advanced statistics reflect that, as Barnes owns a lifetime true shooting percentage of 54.0 percent (which is very average) and averages .086 Win Shares per 48 minutes.
The 27-year-old has simply never developed the level of consistency required from a star player, and at times, he has even been a less-than-stellar role player. (who can forget his disappearing act during the 2016 NBA Finals?)
Barnes obviously still has a purpose on the Kings. He can certainly help the team, and he should be productive as Sacramento pushes toward its first playoff berth since 2006.
But just because he is productive doesn’t mean he is taking a leap.
As a matter of fact, I believe Barnes’ long-range effectiveness will dip from a year ago, as I don’t see him shooting that well from downtown this season (he made 39.5 percent of his triples overall in 2018-19).
Now, to be fair, Barnes made just 42.o percent of his field goal attempts between the Mavericks and Kings this past season, which is a bit below his career average of 44.6 percent. However, it’s not like Barnes has ever been a beacon of efficiency.
Barnes has always been kind of a slightly less athletic version of prime Jeff Green: a guy with the physical gifts to be successful on the NBA level, but one who lacks the consistency and the aggression to actually live up to his potential.
So, Harrison Barnes can be a key member of Sacramento in the 2019-NBA season but if you are expecting him to take some sudden jump, you are probably going to be disappointed.