Harrison Barnes, No. 7 (Mock)
The Warriors get much-needed help at small forward.
by Branden Peters | @brandenjpeters
Conventional wisdom says the Golden State Warriors brass put the word in to tank the latter part of the lockout-shortened season. After trading star and fan favorite Monta Ellis to Milwaukee in exchange for injured center Andrew Bogut when the team was just a few games out of the West’s 8th spot, things went downhill quickly. However, the bright side of suffering so many L’s is the Warriors get to keep the No. 7 pick (which would have gone to Utah if they had fallen out of the top-7 on Draft night) and we also had a chance to see what rookie Klay Thompson was made of.
There were two major deficiencies on the team, even for the four days that everyone was healthy: poor small forward play and lack of depth and size at the center position. After Kwame Brown went down early on (he played good defense for a couple weeks, don’t snicker) and Andris Biedrins continued to prove that his name should be added to the list of horrible big men the W’s have drafted, the team was left with a capable yet often out-of-position David Lee, motor guy Dominic McGuire, an overwhelmed Jeremy Tyler and, um, Mikki Moore to hold down the paint.
At the SF position, we expected Dorrell Wright to have a solid season. He did not. Richard Jefferson is well past his prime and simply didn’t produce this year. Fans in the Bay are holding out hope that Bogut will make a full recovery and become the dominant center the W’s have lacked for decades. With that, they will need to address the small forward position, and…
With the seventh pick of the SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Golden State Warriors select…
Harrison Barnes from North Carolina.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would have been the perfect defensive, “high motor” guy for the Warriors squad, but since he was off the board and teams 1-6 passed on Barnes, it makes sense to snatch the Tar Heel star at No. 7.
I thought about drafting Terrence Jones out of Kentucky here, but I’m not sure he can play the SF position on defense or offense. The Warriors don’t need a transformation project or a backup undersized PF at this point. The team needs a starter.
Had Barnes come out last year, he would have been way out of the W’s range, but since his offensive capabilities were somewhat exposed on a stacked UNC team, he fell, and we’re happy about it. At 6-8 with a 6-11 wingspan, Barnes has the size we desperately lack on the perimeter.
Granted he can sometimes be a stiff on defense, but we believe he has the overall tools to be made into a competent defender. With a healthy Bogut and David Lee to guard the paint, he will also have help as he develops.
Offensively, Barnes is not explosive but the threat of his consistent mid-range shot coupled with his pension for pump-fakes and good footwork should keep defenders honest. He will need to adjust to the NBA three-point line if he’s going to capitalize off of the open looks he will get when teams double Stephen Curry or Thompson.
There is a chance that Barnes has plateaued as a basketball player and if that is the case, he’ll just be another halfway decent player in the pantheon of Warriors draft picks. However, there is also a chance that under the right tutelage, he will improve the areas in his game that need to be fixed, i.e. finding the open man on the floor and creating off of the dribble. And who better to teach him that than Mark Jackson?
If nothing else, Barnes adds solid character and locker room presence to an organization that is transforming its culture both on and off the court. A potential starting five of a healthy Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut could, and quite frankly should, equal playoffs for the Warriors.
|2012 SLAMonline Mock Draft|