The View From Mt. Airy: Harrison Barnes To The Sixers 07-1-16

 
hi-res-6776498_crop_exact

Seriously.

Harrison Barnes makes absolute sense for the Sixers.

I hear you screaming.

“Look at his performance in the NBA Finals. What did he do to deserve or even earn a max contract as an NBA free agent?”

“Won’t he just be in the way?”

“Why would you add a Golden State Warrior who arguably failed on the biggest stage as a complimentary player to this array of young talent we lost 200 games to acquire? ARE YOU  HIGH?”

It’s a little more complex than just signing Harrison Barnes. There is a lot more involved than inking a max contract for a player who was very underwhelming on a 73-9 Warriors team that came up smaller than a Seahawks’ playcall in the Super Bowl when his team failed with a 3-1 finals lead and home court advantage.

Yup.

I can recite all the numbers. How did he fail along with his cohorts who lost more playoff games than regular season contests? How do you justify paying him to be a franchise (monetarily at least) player amidst a locker room full of elite draft picks?

It’s a simple as this…….

Follow the bouncing balls…

A. Harrison Barnes would join the Sixers this fall fresh off his experience in the 2016 RIO Olympiad as a member of the USA Basketball team assembled by his new (76ers) team PRESIDENT PER SE….yeah…call him a consultant…but Jerry Colangelo has just as much a hand on the Sixers’ tiller as his kid Brian. But not to demean his son but the NBA footprint (with steel toed boots) is all over the change from Sam Hinkie and his gang of IPad analytic gangsters to old school NBA. That being known Jerry is fully responsible for the outcome and the product in Philadelphia this fall and beyond. With that in mind he played it closer than Dusty Rhodes and the NWA belt….give it to my son. There is no accident that Barnes is on the Sixers horizon and the 2016 Olympic team.

Now who assembled, chose and anointed the group that will represent Team USA?

You guessed it. Jerry Colangelo.

Does that give the Sixers an edge? I think so.

B. He will arrive after being wholly saturated in NBA success. The 73-9 Warriors, as led by Steve Kerr, emulate the offense that Brett Brown seeks to incorporate in South Philly. That means movement after the pass. Versatility in both offensive and defensive matchups. Unselfish play, with the ball never getting stuck anywhere but in the twine for two points. Harrison Barnes was not and at no point in the future being the Alpha in the Golden State offense, yet he could teach and display for the kiddie Sixers the model that makes wins outta being a part of a winning formula versus being solely responsible for the
outcome as most of the top young talent has been throughout the majority of their fledgling basketball lives.

C. NBA LIFE – There is more to the NBA player’s lives than game day. With the proliferation of highly paid kids who will board your Sixers’ charters next season, it absolutely can’t hurt to have someone who can show and prove for these kids how to live and survive on the road. We have heard the horror story of A.I. and his ten years of no packing, buying clothing on the road everywhere and ultimately failing in his transition to professional behavior and comportment. Yeah, he garnered an MVP and dragged a lame roster to a 2001 NBA FINALS appearance, but it was all downhill from there. Harrison Barnes, by all accumulated evidence, is just the cerebral citizen that the Sixer kids can follow, copycat and respect. I know you want to argue that a veteran like Elton Brand can do the same. That’s bulls—. These young men need someone who is modeling and contributing at a high level on the court also. Sitting on the bench for 38 minutes is NOT NBA leadership anymore. If it were ever.

D. SHOW HIM THE MONEY! The NBA salary cap is irrelevant in this conversation. As the advent of the new billion dollar bag-busting TV deal rolls around, it appears that the league and a large group of its teams will experience a virtual cap-free season. Knowing this, and coupling that information with his age, health, contribution and exploration date, this seems to be a no-lose situation for Philadelphia. Can he psychologically handle a max deal? Wherever he goes that will be the case so factor that question out. So here is your silver lining. Whatever he is, as a Sixer, will NOT include washed up. His value will grow in year 3 and 4 as his contract becomes obsolete in price and attractive to anyone as he will still be at or near peak athletic performance and barely 30. Do the deal. I am not a Harrison Barnes fan but, as a 40-year NBA observer, I know my romper room of future stars needs a leader that can play.

That’s the view from Mt. Airy…..follow me @MtAiryPhil and @NTheZoneShow on Twitter.

“The Big Four” in Golden State?

Durant

The Golden State Warriors already have two phenomenal sharpshooters like point guard Stephen Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson. Shouldn’t that be enough? Don’t forget to add in power forward Draymond Green, one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Sure, the Warriors suffered a heartbreaking NBA Finals defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that’s all in the past. Golden State is looking forward to making a huge splash in free-agency by luring in Oklahoma City Thunder’s small forward Kevin Durant.

According to cbssports.com’s Ananth Pandian, the “Warriors’ front office is planning on sitting down once free agency starts with Durant to discuss the opportunity in Golden State.” Golden State, along with other suitors, are scheduled to meet with him when free-agency starts on July 1. Durant is one of the best players in the NBA, and he is a lethal scorer. He stands at 6-foot-9 and weighs 240 pounds. Durant is a threat from beyond the arc and in the paint.

He can shoot 3-pointers as well as anyone in the NBA, and he is fearless when driving to the hoop. Durant’s playing style is reminiscent of George Gervin because he is smooth and patient with the ball in his hands. Last season, he averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and five assists per game.

You are probably asking yourself this question right now: Why should the Warriors pursue Durant in free-agency when the team does not need any more scorers? If you were watching the NBA Finals, then you saw the Cavaliers play tight defense on Curry, Thompson, and Green and left players like small forward Harrison Barnes open from beyond the arc. While Cleveland allowed him to take uncontested shots, he kept missing. He shot 35 percent from the field in the Finals, according to desmoinesregister.com’s Tommy Birch.

Imagine if Durant was the one attempting all of those open shots. He would have made most of them. Barnes’ abysmal shooting percentage in the Finals is one of the reasons why Cleveland forced a Game 7 and avoided losing the series 4-1.

If Durant does sign with the Warriors, he would bolster their starting lineup and take a lot of pressure off of Curry. Besides, Barnes is scheduled to become a free-agent, and the Warriors are not interested in re-signing him.

Durant would give the Warriors another lethal scoring option, and a player who attracts double-teams. Some fans do not want to see Durant play for the Warriors because they believe the team already has a lot of talent.

Those fans are correct, but great teams are always looking for ways to improve. It’s clear that Durant wants to play on a team that has the talent to win multiple championships. Is there a better team to sign with than Golden State? No.

Sfgate.com’s Rusty Simmons said, “Thompson and Curry will be part of the Warriors’ full-court press to reach an agreement with Durant when free-agency opens this week.”

The Splash Brothers are trying to help the Warriors’ front office make a splash in free-agency. Will it work? Golden State better hope so. If it does, folks, say hello to “The Big Four.”

Follow me on Twitter @KaleelWeatherl1