Harrison Barnes comes to Dallas with high expectations after signing a $94 million contract in July, but Barnes knows that he’ll have to earn his keep.
Barnes recently spoke with the Dallas News‘ Eddie Sefko and let it be known that he plans to pay his respect to Dirk Nowitzki and prove to the future Hall of Famer that he is ready to work:
“Out of respect, this is Dirk’s team,” Barnes said. “He’s put in the years and won a championship. But I have to go out and earn that. People assume that just because you get paid a lot of money and have a lot of attention that all of the sudden you’re guaranteed this many shots. I have to prove that every day in practice. I have to prove that to the coaching staff, and ultimately, if I’m going to be the guy taking shots, I’ve got to prove it to Dirk.
“You have to have that balance of scoring and playmaking, and learn how to be a closer. I think that’s the beauty of it, that I get to learn from one of the best to ever do it in Dirk Nowitzki. You talk about guys closing games, he’s got to be top-five all time. I’m just looking forward to learning from that guy.”
Last season, the 37-year-old Nowitzki played in 75 games and averaged 18.3 points and 6.5 boards per game. The addition of Barnes should keep Dallas in the playoffs for the 16th time in 17 seasons.