The first seven games of the 2016-2017 season are in the books and the Dallas Mavericks are in a very unfamiliar situation as they sit at a mere 2-5. It’a hard to believe that with all the terrible teams the Mavericks threw out on the court in the late 80s and early 90s (pre-Dirk) that this season is the first time in franchise history that the team started a season at 0-5. The Mavs may be in exotic territory with their recent start but the play from Harrison Barnes is reason enough for Mavs fans abroad to remain optimistic.
7 games into the new campaign, new team, new role, the 24-year-old Barnes has shown an uncanny knack for making his presence felt on a team that for the most part has looked lackluster at best. In six games alone Barnes set a career high in points. First he scored 31 in the home-opener loss to Houston while shooting a very respectable 56% from the floor, a 34 point outburst in the Mavericks first win of the season Sunday where he shot 50%, and followed it up with a 31 point game in Staples Center last night shooting 61%.
His per-game averages have resulted in a line of 22.3 points per game on a 51% field goal percentage while also throwing in 5.9 rebounds. Nobody and I mean nobody besides maybe Barnes himself, could have even dreamed of him having a better start to the season. Although it hasn’t resulted in more than two wins; until the rest of the team starts making shots; games will be a lot harder to come by.
Although “numbers don’t lie” is a great mantra that a lot of sportswriters tend to use in situations as such, i like to take a deeper look into why Barnes is so easily making everyone quickly forget about Chandler Parsons. Barnes knows his spots on the floor that he can shoot at a high percentage, typically on either elbow is where I’ve seen him take the majority of his successful jump shots, but more impressively is his ability to get to the rack almost at will. Take a look at the Milwaukee game for instance; down 2 late in the game another Mavs offensive possession seems to be going nowhere until Harrison crosses over his defender and confidently takes it to the whole where he flushes in what seemed to be a very tough angle and shot with ease.
Barnes carries traits that no stat-sheet-stuffer could mark down in a valid way that would truly give him his due. whether that be the poise he possesses in which i mean he doesn’t seem to get rattled easily when the game is on the line, or his confidence when he raises up for a shot, Barnes is proving to every hater, every person that tends to forget his play from high school to college and flashes with the warriors, that he is a man who was born to play basketball (and play it extremely well i might add).
It is a very long season with so far a very small sample size, but the mavericks and their fans must not be hasty in giving up hope and optimism, because if this is the Barnes that we get for the rest of this season and the 3 years remaining on his contract? The future is very bright in Dallas, and I can’t wait to be a witness.