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Harrison Barnes doubtful for Mavs’ season opener, won’t play until he has ‘significant practice time’

Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is doubtful for the Dallas Mavericks’ season opener against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, Oct. 17 according to Tim Cato of The Athletic. Rick Carlisle told Cato that Barnes would not play until he had some “significant practice time.” The swingman is returning from a hamstring injury.

The Mavericks will have Wesley Matthews, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Maxi Kleber pick up the slack in Barnes’ absence. Matthews is a proven veteran and should have no problem stepping in for Barnes. Finney-Smith is a long and athletic forward who can defend multiple positions, though he needs to improve his offensive game to see more time. Kleber is a multi-faceted player, but much like Finney-Smith, he has a lot to prove.

Carlisle has viable options to fill in for Barnes, but the sooner he returns to the court, the better. Barnes is the highest-paid player on the team and is one of the veterans that need to perform if the Mavs have any playoff aspirations.

Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic look like the real deal. The two young players look like potential stars, but they aren’t quite ready to guide a team to the playoffs — especially in the ultra-tough Western Conference.

If Dallas is going to make a run at the postseason, they certainly need Barnes healthy and at his best. And Carlisle is willing to take the patient approach to achieve that.