This article was originally published on Let’s Go Warriors.
Many fans have feared that the Golden State Warriors’ addition of Andre Iguodala will stunt Harrison Barnes‘ development. In fact, the opposite is true. If Iguodala starts and Barnes comes off the bench, this will actually help Barnes develop into a better player. Here are three reasons why:
1. Both Iguodala and Barnes have similar skillsets, so Iguodala will be a valuable mentor to Barnes, especially defensively.
Both Iguodala and Barnes are strong, athletic, and quick. Offensively, they play fairly similarly. They both like to drive to the basket using their quickness, they’re both explosive, and they can shoot threes pretty well.
Iguodala’s mentoring will help Barnes’ offensive game grow, but it will be even more valuable to Barnes on the defensive end. One of Iguodala’s strengths is his defense and his ability to guard multiple positions. Iguodala can use his expertise to teach Barnes how to become a better and more versatile defender. In addition to his defensive prowess, Iguodala’s veteran leadership and work ethic will set a great example for Barnes.
2. With Iguodala starting, it will allow Barnes to play more minutes at the power forward position, which he excelled at in the postseason.
The Warriors will most likely start Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Iguodala, David Lee, and Andrew Bogut. However, Mark Jackson will certainly want to utilize a smaller lineup, in order to play at a faster pace. At any point in the game or even when finishing games, Jackson could decide to use a lineup of Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Barnes, and Lee or Bogut.
With Barnes at the power forward position, the Warriors would be able to get into transition and spread the floor more. In the postseason, the Warriors thrived in these scenarios, especially because Barnes’ skillset matches up with the power forward position so well. He has great footwork in post-up situations, he’s faster than most power forwards, and he’s strong enough to keep up with bigger power forwards. Playing Barnes at power forward will benefit not just the Warriors, but also Barnes’ development.
3. With Iguodala starting and Barnes coming off the bench, Barnes will be able to play against the reserves of the opposing team, which will allow him to dominate offensively.
Coming off the bench, Barnes won’t have to share as many scoring opportunities with Curry, Thompson, and Lee. Instead, he will become the go-to scorer off the bench for the Warriors. If he’s playing alongside Toney Douglas, Kent Bazemore, Nemanja Nedovic, or Marreese Speights, he will become the first option on offense. He will be able to showcase his game even more against the reserves of the opposing team. Barnes would provide that instant scoring and energy off the bench that the Warriors lost when Jarrett Jack didn’t re-sign.
Instead of going up against LeBron James or Kevin Durant, he’d probably be facing the small forward or power forward in the opponents’ weaker lineup. This would allow him to take advantage of his superior speed and athleticism. In addition, when Barnes does play alongside Iguodala, Iguodala can defend the elite players like James or Durant, and Barnes can play more freely on offense and defense.
Fans fear that Barnes will play less minutes now, given Iguodala’s presence, and that this will hinder his development. However, whether Barnes starts or not, he will probably play around 25-30 minutes per game anyway, because of his skillset and value to this team. Also, even if he doesn’t start, Barnes could still finish games for the Warriors, if they choose to go small, or if someone is in foul trouble, much like how Jack finished games for the Warriors last year.
Barnes has incredible potential, so it’s understandable why fans could be worried about Iguodala hindering Barnes’ development. However, once the regular season starts and fans are able to see Iguodala’s game, they will see the positive impact that he will have on Barnes’s development. Even with Iguodala starting, Barnes could still have a breakout year for the Warriors next season.