Can Harrison Barnes and the Dallas Mavericks return to the Western Conference Playoffs next season?
Harrison Barnes was one of the casualties when the Golden State Warriors decided to go after Kevin Durant in the 2016 NBA free agency. The Warriors’ successful acquisition of Durant forced Barnes out of Golden State where he ended up signing a four-year deal worth $94.4 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavericks signed Harrison Barnes with the hope that he could help them bring the team back to their former glory. As the Mavericks’ option on the offensive end of the floor, the 26-year-old small forward has shown a massive improvement in his statistics. Since joining the Mavericks in 2016, Barnes averaged 19.0 points and 5.5 rebounds on 45.6 percent shooting from the field and 35.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately, those numbers were not enough to make the Mavericks a significant team in the Western Conference as they missed the NBA Playoffs in the last two years. According to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, Barnes revealed that he had a difficult time in first two seasons playing on a rebuilding team.
“It’s difficult,” Barnes said of what it’s been like to go from a winning situation to rebuilding. “I think I’ve definitely gained a greater appreciation for the process. To be able to understand how good teams are built, how competitive it is every single night, the margin between wins and losses. We won 33 games two years ago, 24 games last year. We lost 30 games by five or less, when you go through that, you really start to see how the little things of the game can go either way. I have learned a lot the last two years.”
With the improvements the Mavericks made this summer, Harrison Barnes has something to look forward to in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. Barnes admitted that he is “super excited” to play alongside the Mavericks’ newest acquisitions DeAndre Jordan and Luka Doncic. After failing to acquire him in 2015, the Mavericks succeeded to sign Jordan to a one-year, $27 million deal in free agency.
Meanwhile, during the 2018 NBA Draft, the Mavericks engaged in a trade deal with the Atlanta Hawks to acquire the draft rights on Doncic. Though they are yet to play together, Barnes believes Jordan and Doncic can immediately make an impact on the team next season. As of now, the Mavericks are indeed a better team than they were in the past two seasons.
However, fully dominating the Western Conference will be a tough challenge for the Mavericks, especially now that LeBron James is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, just got stronger with the acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins in free agency.
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