Dave Joerger still at odds on where to play Harrison Barnes
The trade deadline brought in plenty of interesting moves, but one of the underrated ones was the acquisition of Harrison Barnes by the Sacramento Kings. Head coach Dave Joerger had lusted over Barnes for quite awhile now, but he has quickly found himself at odds as to which position he should play him in.
Barnes averaged 17.7 points in 49 games for the Dallas Mavericks this season (his lowest in three seasons with the team), he started at small forward in his first two games for the Kings, but had logged roughly 45 percent of his minutes at power forward with Joerger experimenting with different lineup combinations.
“I’m still learning what to do,” Joerger said, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “How much I do I want to play Harrison at (small forward)? How much at (power forward)? And what do the matchups look like? And I need to get it done sooner than later because we’re not going to find a rhythm if I don’t figure it out quickly.”
Since joining the Kings, Barnes averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in wins over the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns, but his numbers should pick up once Joerger can staple him into his preferred position and he gains some comfort playing with his new teammates.
“Right now, it’ll probably be a combination of both (positions),” Barnes said at his introductory news conference last week. “Coach is still trying to figure out lineups. It’s a lot to figure out in 24 hours, so we’ll just see how it goes and see what works.”
Barnes is viewed as a tweener in most circles, boasting the right body to play small forward, but without the speed or athleticism to really excel at the position. He is an above-averaged rebounder, which could suit him for a power forward position, but doesn’t have the strength or length to fully set himself aside from other power forwards.
Whatever position Joerger winds up placing him in, he best make use of his 3-point shooting ability, as he was shooting a sparkling 39 percent from deep before being traded to the Kings.