What If Barnes is Everything We Wanted (An Open Discussion)

The Senator, Kassius Klay, @Andre

This came up in one of the newer threads and I thought it really could be talked about in more depth. I'm surprised this question hasn't come up at least as much as the "Who starts?" debate. So, in the long-run, who do we keep on the roster?

Personally, I really don't know what combination of players is best, but I do know something: Harrison Barnes should be a part of the combination. Whether it's he and Klay or he and @Andre, Harrison Barnes must stay on this roster.

Why Barnes?

He easily has the biggest athletic potential. He has an excellent work ethic, as evidenced by his 15 lbs weight gain this summer. He is on a LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony trajectory in terms of his physique--a 6'8" 240 lbs 3/4. Physically the only thing that doesn't make you drool is his wingspan. Using LeBron James as the platinum standard for 3s, Barnes' 6'11.25" wingspan is lackluster (7'.25" for James and 7'3" for Rudy Gay [And no, I didn't just forget a decimal point in front of that three!]). Likewise, Barnes' standing reach is a measly 8'5.5", nearly 5 inches shorter than James' 8'10.25".

I spit out these physical traits for you to later compare against the Lesser Splash Brother. For the rest of his combine measurements, check them out here. So enough about his physical attributes. Enough about his marketability, as his sterling post game press conference attitude is renowned around these parts already. What makes him so valuable to the Warriors that they cannot trade him? This is extremely tricky to answer, due to the fact that if you disregard the ambiguities of 'potential', the answer would be he is replaceable. To be frank, he is most likely the 3rd best player out of the 3--right now.

We can safely operate under the assumption that he will indeed get better. The question becomes, will his growth outpace Klay Thompson's, so that he will eventually become the better player within the length of his rookie contract? It will. Klay will never be the athlete Barnes is currently. Klay will never, ever, be able to complete this play in his career. He is just physically unable to. But it's not just explosiveness that leads to dunks. Out of all 3 of the wings we are discussing, Barnes was tops in max vertical, no step vertical, lane agility, bench press (Barnes was the youngest out of all of them at the time of their respective drafts and got 10 more reps in than the next strongest guy, which was Klay, with 5), as well as 3/4 court sprint. Though, as a quick aside, does anyone know if @Andre was injured during his combine? His maximum vert is only 34.5, which is 3.5 less than Barnes' standing vert. And his lane agility is the slowest of the three--so I think he may have been hurt. But I digress, the point I'm making is Barnes has the physical tools that some are born with and others are simply not. And those who are not will just never get them.

So physically he is already inarguably superior to Kassius. I would argue that puts him on the fast track to becoming the better, more physical defender. He is bigger, faster, and stronger than Klay--but does that help him on the offensive side of the ball? Well, yes. Right now, Klay has the tighter handles--in 11 less minutes per game he turned it over just .7 times less than Klay, with 1 whole assist less, to boot. Which is too bad: Barnes is a much stronger finisher near the rim, if he could ever get there without coughing the ball up, as demonstrated by here. I believe in Barnes' drive for success, and thus I am confident he will continue to improve on his ball handling skills. He may never be a point-forward, but then again we don't necessarily need him to be. Because, unlike Klay, Barnes has shown an ability to get to the line. Again, in 11 less minutes, he went to the line .4 more times. When looking at it in terms of per 32, Barnes clocks in at 2.9, with Klay at a paltry 1.6. Neither matches James Harden's rookie rate of 4.5, but then again, Klay's rookie year saw him get to the line 1.8 times per 32, so not only is Klay not improving, he got slightly worse with more time on the floor. Neither may ever piss off opposing fans with a parade to the line, but Barnes, in 2488 less minutes on the floor, has only drawn 58 less free throw attempts than Klay. That's almost a full game (42.9 minutes) per one free throw attempt. Clearly, even if Barnes never improves his ball handling (which, I reiterate, I strongly believe he will), he has a more well-rounded, multi-dimensional offensive game, at least in part due to the fact that Klay Thompson is so utterly terrible at getting to the line. Oh, and Barnes has already said that bulk he put on (link above) this summer is to help play the 4, which means he is quick enough to play the 2, strong enough to defend the 4, and a good amount of both traits to bully weaker 3s in the low post--he even got a few practice reps against Tony Parker last postseason.

No one is guaranteed greatness. It isn't something that is ever a sure-shot. But to willingly let go of a freakishly athletic, nearly perfect physical specimen who will never indulge in off-court shenanigans and has that inner maniacal drive that always keeps him training, is something that scares me to death.

Okay, but why don't we keep all three?

Because we won't be able to afford them. The conversation has already started on GSoM. Klay is, with all his imperfections, one of the best, young 3-and-D 2-guards in the league today. A smart front office will not wait to be out-bidded when he hits free agency. Either @Andre is moved to secure the younger prospect while we can, or Klay will be traded for a younger, cheaper piece. This is a core composition much like the 49ers: we are only deep for as long as our guys are on their affordable rookie contracts. After that, we can no longer afford the luxuries of depth if we want to re-sign every young guy. Andrew Bogut is more valuable to this team than Klay Thompson. Whether or not the front office believes that Klay Thompson, in turn, is more valuable to this team than Andre Iguodala largely depends on how both play this coming season. And their observations will be the death knell for one of those two players' tenure with the Warriors, unfortunately.

Okay, I lied. The question should be "Why can't we keep all four?", due to the possibility that Bogut is someone we don't want to re-sign, due to injury. But Bogut is healthier than he's been since he was traded. He has a competent backup and an even sturdier body on the mend behind him. The stars are aligning for Bogut in his contract year, and the front office won't make the mistake of letting their first competent center since Andris Biedrins' hair gel walked out on him leave the organization without a fight. We cannot afford Bogut's contract along with @Andre's and Klay's and Barnes'.

Leave your thoughts below! Should we keep Klay? @Andre? Barnes? Bogut? Trade the house to get Goose back, because we love him and miss him?

This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!

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