An Analysis of Harrison Barnes Best Games

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In the discussion following the Warriors win over the Utah Jazz on Friday, the topic about whether Harrison Barnes has had a whole good game this year was brought up. Jae responded with two examples of good performances by Barnes this season, against the Jazz on November 18th and against Houston on December 13th. Finally, Bobbita also brought up the OKC game on November 29th. With some time to spare before the Super Bowl, I decided to take a look at this highlights and try to find what was working for Barnes during those games.

Disclaimer - this is mainly dealing with scoring, as thats what the highlights tend to show.

Vs. Utah Jazz - 17 points on 7-10 shooting

In this game, Barnes did a lot of his work in isolation situations, especially from the midrange. Three of his buckets came from isolation plays where he hit midrange shots over either Marvin Williams or Gordon Hayward, and another bucket was a isolation where Barnes pulled up from three. An interesting note from this game is a comment by Fitz, as after Barnes hits a three in an isolation situation, Fitz says "They run Iso's for him (Barnes) and he delivers." While this was the case in this game, it hasn't been the case recently.

Barnes other three field goals included a transition layup (he also got fouled on another fastbreak), a spot up three set up by Iguodala, and a lob from Curry when Williams over played to stop a Barnes post-up.

Vs. Houston - 20 points on 9-16 shooting

Unlike the Jazz game, Barnes was able to get his points in this game without being in isolation situations. None of his buckets came on clear out isolation plays, and he instead drove the paint relentlessly and it paid off. He was also very active on the offensive glass, finishing with 4 offensive boards that resulted in 6 points (including 2 putback dunks).

Of the three games, this was by far his most aggressive as he not only took the ball to the rim but also pushed the ball in transition as well, which led to two easy buckets. Barnes was also effective in this game as a spot up shooter. He hit a three off a PnR with Curry and also hit another three off of a handoff from Bogut.

However, Barnes stats may be appear better than he played in this game. Of his 20 points, six came in the last 28 seconds of the game when the game was essentially over. Without those buckets, his statline would be 14 points on 6-13 shooting. However, the fact that he was able to do well on the glass and was aggressive still makes this one of his best games of the season.

Vs. OKC - 26 points on 10-15 shooting

This game reminded me most of the Barnes from the playoffs, as he did most of his damage on isolation plays against smaller guards, especially point guards. Of his ten field goals, eight came on isolation plays, primarily on smaller players including two on Westbrook, three on Jackson, and one on Lamb.

As you would expect, most of his buckets in isolations came from the midrange, even though he was being guarded by a smaller guard. Multiple times he got the ball in a isolation on the wing, would face up, do some jab steps and rise for the jumper. He also did his move where he posts up and spins toward the center of the floor and hit a couple floaters like that.

An interesting note about this game was when he did his scoring. By my count, Barnes scored 13 points in the first quarter, but then only scored 2 more points before the 6:27 mark in the 4th quarter.

Other Observations

Based off this analysis, I would say the the Houston game was not only his best game, but the game that he should look to replicate the most. Even though he got 3 garbage time buckets that boosted his stats, his field goals came in the flow of the offense the most and he was very aggressive attacking the basket. The Warriors don't have someone doing that consistently right now, especially with Iguodala out, so if Barnes could provide it consistently it would be a huge boost for both him and the team. There are already many other players that the Warriors iso, so if he could consistently attack the rim he could bring something this team is lacking.

While probably his best statistical game, I would argue that his OKC game is one that he should stay away from. Many of the looks he converted in that game were contested jumpers or floaters, and shots that he has gotten recently but failed to finish. Similarly like the playoffs, most of this was done on smaller guards, something he won't get to exploit every game, and something he has struggled with recently as well.

Breakdown of FG's/Fouls Drawn

Game Outside ISO Midrange ISO Postup ISO Spot up Putback Transition Cut
UTAH 2 2 0 1 0 1 1
HOUSTON 0 0 0 2 3 2 2
OKC 2 3 3 1 0 1 1
TOTAL 4 5 3 4 3 4 4

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!