Of all the maximum salary contracts signed in free agency this summer, few – if any – were greeted with more skepticism than the Mavericks’ four-year, $94MM+ pact with Harrison Barnes, who had never averaged more than 11.7 PPG in a season. However, as Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, Barnes is showing so far that he’s capable of being worth every penny of that deal.
As the Mavs’ No. 1 option – or perhaps No. 2 behind Dirk Nowitzki – Barnes has seen his shot attempts skyrocket (from 9.6 per game to 17.8), but is still shooting a career-best 49.3% from the field so far, good for an average of 22.6 PPG. As Bontemps writes, Barnes certainly has plenty of work to do to live up to his massive contract, but he’s off to a great start.
Here’s more on the Mavericks:
- For his part, Barnes sounds like he’s preparing to eventually take on the responsibility of being the franchise player in Dallas if that’s what asked of him. “It’s no secret that Dirk is going to be leaving this team and the Mavs are going to be entering a post-Nowitzki era,” Barnes said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. “We have to be prepared for that. That’s why I’m working every single day, working with the coaches, so I can do my part and make sure I’m ready. Whether that time is now or that time is whenever, I need to be able to step into that [role] and have it be a seamless transition.”
- Andrew Bogut admits that the bar is set much lower for the Mavericks than it was when he was chasing the wins record and a second title with the Warriors last season — Dallas’ goal is to make the playoffs. As Bogut explains, according to MacMahon, the mix of Mavericks’ veterans and younger players means the team is “half rebuilding” this season. “We’re an older team in the starting lineup, but our bench is younger, so it provides a different challenge,” Bogut said.
- Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News takes a look at two of those key young players for Dallas, exploring the roles Dwight Powell and Justin Anderson will play for the team this season.