Saturday afternoon at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, NV former North Carolina basketball small forward Harrison Barnes played his second professional basketball game as the Warriors (2-0) beat the Nuggets (0-1) by the final of 95 to 74. For the 6’8″ forward from Chapel Hill it was not as big of a scoring night, getting 13 points (5 for 17 ~ 2 for 2 ~ 1 for 2) in close to 35 minutes of playing time, but might have been a better overall night, as he ended with seven rebounds, four steals, one assist, 2 TOs and a pts differential of +22. Just like I said in recapping the first match up for the young man, one game does not make a season or a career, but it does show what Barnes can do, and from the looks of it, he can do plenty at the next level.
In all there were five players for Golden State to score in double digits, but most eyes wer on the first round pick, as Barnes has a lot of believers but also many that still do not think he can live up to the hype that he brought with him from high school. Having watched both of his first two games in the Summer League with the young man in them I can safely say two things: first, he is playing well in this small tournament like, and secondly, the competition he will face in the 84 game season coming in three months or so is definitely going to be a lot better than what he is going to see in Vegas.
The other thing that is nice to see is that Barnes is still perfect from beyond the arc, going four for four in the first game and two for two in the second. The Warriors will need for this to continue as Klay Thompson, who has been with the franchise for a year already and had a good rookies season, will not be playing the remaining three games scheduled. With that will go 20.5 points per game that Harrison Barnes and his team mates will have to make up. This too should be a good thing for the former Tar Heel as we see how he does when the pressure is put more and more on his shoulders. It should also show the people watching the former UNC forward how much he can be pushed. Up til now I have seen few bad thought shots, with the need to make up for Thompson’s scoring something to watch will be if with this will Barnes take ill advised shots.
Next up for the Golden State Warriors will be the Miami Heat at 10:30 pm EST on Wednesday, followed by the Chicago Bulls at 8:30 on Friday and the New Orleans Hornets at 6:30 on Saturday. I am very interested in seeing how the small forward does in the final three games and even more so how it all translates in his first season in the National Basketball Association. As usual, make sure to check back here for all updates on Harrison Barnes and the other former North Carolina Basketball players as the season slowly but surely comes closer and closer.