Catch&Score Finisher, Undersized Big

James Michael McAdoo Scouting Report

(Originally posted at Upside & Motor)

Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears first reported on Sunday that the Golden State Warriors have reached an agreement on a 10-day contract with James Michael McAdoo. The 6-foot-9 forward also received interest from the Memphis Grizzlies, which likely pushed Golden State into adding him to the roster. The Warriors currently have no minutes available and aren’t in pressing need of an emergency option at his position, yet they’ve invested 658 minutes in his development through their single D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, and don’t want to see another team collect a potential reward.

As he reaches the NBA (for now, at least), McAdoo concludes one of the most unlikely paths to the pro level I can remember. He was a highly touted prospect out of a high school, and rated by Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony as a potential lottery pick when he enrolled at North Carolina. His freshman season was spent mostly by backing up Tyler Zeller and John Henson but he was still valued highly had he opted to declare for the draft. Yet, McAdoo elected to return to Chapel Hill. His stock consistently declined over time and after a couple more years, he went undrafted.

In his 20 D-League appearances, McAdoo impressed by leveraging his athleticism into production. He’s a fluid runner in transition and has even flashed the ability to handle the ball on the break. Those ball skills were also on display on face-up drives, where McAdoo was able to get to the rim against this level of competition due to his long strides but struggled to get separation and finish around length. Most important for his fit on the next level, perhaps, is that he flashed some passing instincts on post-to-post action and entering the ball from the foul line to Ognen Kuzmic on high-low action, assisting on almost 10 percent of Santa Cruz’s scores when he was on the floor.

In the fast-paced, three-point oriented environment of the D-League, Santa Cruz stands out as one of the teams that focuses on running some semblance of a half-court offense and go to the post from time to time. McAdoo got touches in the block quite often but struggled to set deep position due to a lack of core strength and was often pushed closer to the wing for his catches. When he got his shot off, the touch on those finishes was only OK. McAdoo has flashed an outside shot, both off the bounce and on a couple of three-point attempts from the corner, but it’s not much of anything at the moment and accounted for just 31 of his 234 total attempts, per NBA.com.

The vast majority of his scoring came around the rim, where he was superb. McAdoo is a good scorer out of the pick-and-roll. He’s not a great screener, with on-ball defenders managing to navigate around his picks without much struggle due to his lean frame. But he has soft hands to catch the ball on the move and can play above the rim as a target for lobs, finishing his 203 attempts at the basket at a 63 percent clip. McAdoo also played with very good energy on the glass, and was able to reach the ball at a higher point than the average competition he faced thanks to his leaping ability, collecting 10 percent of Santa Cruz’s misses. As a constant threat around the goal, he also drew shooting fouls at a high rate and converted them well.

His value on the other end also came around the rim. One would assume McAdoo, due his mobility, could be a versatile defender who provides his team with the flexibility of trapping pick-and-rolls way high on the perimeter or switching comfortably, but that’s not the case at the moment. Santa Cruz had him guard the ball-screen flat, dropping to the foul line, and Jermaine Taylor drove around him rather comfortably on several occasions. What McAdoo does best is use his quickness rotating off the weak-side to protect the rim. He has proven able to play above the goal as a shot blocker, leading the D-League in total blocks (52) and averaging 2.8 per 36 minutes.

Protecting the glass, McAdoo relies on his athleticism to track the ball off the rim quickly and outjump the competition rather than box out diligently. That worked fine in the D-League, enough for him to collect 19 percent of opponents’ misses, but it’s something he will need to tighten up at the next level.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.

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Stretch Big, Tall Passer, Undersized Big

Draymond Green Scouting Report

David Lee has logged just seven minutes this season due to a strained left hamstring, and the majority of his vacated playing time has gone to Draymond Green, who is off to a breakout season after the first 25 games. Green has fit like a glove in the motion offense installed by Alvin Gentry and been a vital part of the Warriors’ 22-win, three-loss bottom line.

Green was a very diverse player at Michigan State, where he was used as a point forward towards the end of his college career. He started to show signs his skill-set could be translated to the pro level last season, assisting on 12% of Golden State’s scores in his 1,797 minutes and upping his three-point rate to 36% of his shots.

But Gentry has fully maximized his ball skills this season. Green is utilized as a hub to initiate offense, handling the ball on the break or from the high post so Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can run around screens off the ball or catch and attack off live dribbles. He is an above average passer for a player his position, thanks to great feel to hit cutters in stride facing the defense from the perimeter. He is currently assisting on 14% of Golden State’s scores when he is on the floor.

Green has also developed into a much more willing three-point shooter, averaging five three-point attempts per 36 minutes and 44.4% of his shots being taken from beyond the arc. But he remains average, hitting his 116 attempts at a 34.5% clip – including only 36.4% of his 107 catch-and-shoot three-point attempts and 33.6% with no defender within four feet. Green sets a wide base in his stance, doesn’t elevate much off the ground and has a long motion. The arc in his shot is pretty good but the low release point and the slow trigger make him strictly an open shot shooter.

When those dribble hand-offs evolve into pick-and-rolls on the fly, Green has been a decent screener who looks to draw contact but whose compact 230-pound frame doesn’t disrupt the defender off his path if he merely chips him. He doesn’t play above the rim as a target for lobs but has good hands to catch the ball on the move and explosion to dive down the lane with some force. That fluidity sprinting in space also translates in transition. Green has shot 64.6% at the rim on 96 attempts, including 75.8% when assisted.

Other areas of his game are not of use to the way Golden State plays offense. He doesn’t spend any time in the low post, taking only four hooks/fadeaway jump-shots in 844 minutes. And while facilitating offense and spotting up in the perimeter, Green spends little time below the rim and has collected just 4% of the Warriors’ misses when he’s been on the floor.

But thanks to his passing and ability to extract the most value out of his average jump-shooting by taking mostly three-pointers rather than long-twos, Green is vital to Golden State’s offensive machine, which actually still struggles with spacing a bit when Curry rests. The Warriors are averaging 110.5 points per 100 possessions with Green on the floor, and only 100.1 when he’s on the bench.

On the other end, he has also been essential to the unit that currently leads the league in scoring allowed per possession. While the Warriors do miss Lee to some extent, for his rebounding, it can be argued that they’ve climbed to the top of the defensive rankings specifically because he is out of the lineup. Golden State has become very flexible switching on screens, in large part because of Green’s versatility. He doesn’t have the foot speed to chase quick guards or small wings around the perimeter and struggles navigating screens due to his frame but has enough lateral mobility to keep the average wing in front in isolation and is able to contain dribble penetration through contact.

Green is coached to guard the pick-and-roll flat; he moves fluidly in space and has an eight-foot-nine wingspan to effectively contest mid-range shots. Opponents have shot just 31.4% from outside 16-feet with him guarding them. He is able to play above the basket as a shot blocking threat, which, combined with his mobility, has translated into average rim protection. Opponents have shot 47.9% at the rim with Green protecting it. That’s not elite but very descent considering his size. Good enough for Steve Kerr to play him as a small-ball center in the fourth quarters of games against other western conference powerhouses like Houston, Memphis and Oklahoma City.

Green is an undersized big but one that is not taken advantage of in the post. He has the lower body strength to absorb contact and hold his ground, and it’s also able to use his long arms to net some standstill blocks. He is not as good a rebounder as Lee but has collected 20.5% of opponents’ misses when he’s on the floor – which is an average rate, and the Warriors have protected their glass significantly better than when rests.

Overall, Golden State is allowing just 94.1 points per 100 possessions when he’s in the lineup and 100.1 when he’s off the floor.

Editor’s Note: Statistical data for this post was researched on basketball-reference, NBA.com/stats/ and nbasavant.com.

Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here and at BballBreakdown or at Upside & Motor, a couple of websites where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.

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3D wing

Harrison Barnes Scouting Report

(Originally posted at BballBreakdown)

After a disastrous sophomore campaign, Harrison Barnes is back on track, showing some of the same promise he flashed towards the end of his rookie season.

The Warriors are off to a 21-2 start, fueled by a starting lineup that has blitzed opponents and outscored them by 28 points per 100 possessions in 245 minutes, a league-best mark among lineups that have logged a minimum of 100 minutes, per NBA.com/stats/. Much of the attention has gone to Stephen Curry’s MVP-caliber performance, the changes Steve Kerr made to the offense and the emergence of Draymond Green as a high end contributor.

It is important to note that there has been no significant development to Barnes’s skill-set. I profiled Barnes in preseason, looking back at his first two seasons, and found that he showed flashes of ability in every facet of the game to go along with great physical tools. Barnes never lacked for talent. His spike in productivity can instead be explained by how his existent skill-set is being employed in a healthier ecosystem.

When the Warriors signed Andre Iguodala, previous head coach Mark Jackson immediately installed the veteran in the team’s top lineup and designated Barnes as the go-to option of his unproductive units built of five reserves. Barnes did well in the post but struggled attacking set defenses, especially recognizing the second line of help, often driving into crowds. This is still not a particularly strong area of the game for him; Barnes has a decent handle dribbling from side-to-side but does not attack with as much speed off the bounce when he does not have a live dribble, and has only so-so instincts passing out of dribble penetration. Golden State also did not have much passing and shooting in those lineups, except for Green – who last year was not the player that he is now.

Barnes is not the sort of player who can create for himself and others at this point, and he knew he was miscast in such a role, as he revealed to the Mercury News’s Marcus Thompson a couple of weeks ago. The combination of his limitations as a shot creator and the iffy talent around him resulted in Barnes shooting 27.8% in 97 shots in isolation and averaging only 0.62 points per possession on 97 pick-and-rolls, according to mysynergysports.com.

Kerr has solved this issue by inserting him back in lineups that feature Golden State’s best playmakers and shooters, which has freed Barnes to make better use of what he is good at; weak-side cutting and attacking closeouts. He has no ball-handling responsibilities any more (in part because the Warriors have a surplus of ball-handlers) and only gets isolated in the post in the flow of the offense, when a thinner player switches to him after he screens for the ball-handler. Those 1-3 pick-and-rolls have also been used to get Barnes other chances to attack off the catch with a live dribble, aside from defenders running him off the three-point line. He has shot 47.8% on 38 drives so far this season, an improvement from his 38% inefficiency on 223 such attempts last season. 29.5% of his two-point baskets have been dunks, and Barnes has shot 76% at the rim overall, per basketball-reference.

His interior scoring has been complemented by improved outside shooting, also best explained by context. Barnes logged just 42.1% of his minutes with both Curry and Klay Thompson on the floor in 2013-2014, a rate that has gone up to 58.7% in 2014-2015. The release in his shot is not any noticeably quicker, but by playing more time with two of the league’s most respected shooters, Barnes has been open more often and his efficiency on long-range looks have increased as a result. According to NBA.com’s SportVU tracking technology, he is taking roughly 57% of his shots with no defender within four feet of him, an increase of 10% in comparison to last season. With no ball-handling responsibilities and playing alongside a bunch of high end passers, he is taking 38.1% of shots off the catch, and has hit his 48 such three-point attempts at a 43.8% clip. Barnes has taken only four three-point attempts off the bounce and only three with a defender within four feet of him. Maybe only Tony Allen could do poorly with such a recipe.

Another area where his productivity has spiked is on the glass. David Lee has logged only seven minutes this season due to a strained left hamstring, and the bigger part of his playing time has gone to Green, with Barnes cast as a small-ball power forward whenever in alternate lineups and Marreese Speights logging 92% of his minutes as a center.

On the offensive glass, Barnes is taking advantage of a less-packed lane in Lee’s absence. Green is essentially a perimeter player when the Warriors have possession, developing into a much more willing and productive three-point shooter while also being utilized as a hub to initiate offense to enable Curry and Thompson to catch the ball with live dribbles. Very few players in his position can outrebound Barnes due to his leaping ability, and there are not that many big men who can successfully finish their box-outs on Barnes because he can bounce off the ground a consecutive time quicker than most of them, a term Jay Bilas has coined “second-jump-ability”. Barnes is playing with enough energy to transform those attributes into an asset, and his almost two rebounds per 36 minutes rank in the top 10 among position peers.

The understanding of Barnes’s rebounding numbers within a team concept is important here. Lee’s absence is a big factor – Green is a good rebounder despite his height disadvantage but he is not as good as Lee. The improved defense without Lee, however, is also a factor. Barnes’s improved numbers on the defensive glass are mostly a result of more rebounding chances being made available, in part due to opponents converting only 41.1% of their shots against Golden State, which leads the league in scoring allowed per possession.

While the Warriors do miss Lee to some extent, for his rebounding and scoring talents, it can be argued that they have climbed to the top of the defensive rankings specifically because he is out of the lineup. Golden State has become very flexible in switching on screens, in large part because of Barnes’s versatility. Against New Orleans last week, Barnes successfully defended power forward Ryan Anderson with his length in the post in one possession and contained point guard Austin Rivers’s dribble penetration with his 210-pound frame on the next. It was the sort of display that gave Kerr confidence to play him and Green as the two big men, with no true center, in the fourth quarter of the game against Houston, with great results.

Barnes is not the most important player on this elite Warriors team, but he is playing as a star role player at the moment, and has been a part of Golden State’s success. As a part of the right lineups and catching the ball at the right spots, he has been a far more productive and vital player than the one Warriors’ fans wanted to run out of town last season, even if his skill-set remains about the exact same. His breakout season is a testament to the values of coaching, systems and team work, rather than individual talents. He already had those.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.

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7-footer, Catch&Score Finisher, Tall Passer

Andrew Bogut Scouting Report

(Originally posted at BballBreakdown)

Stephen Curry is playing at a ridiculous high level right now. His .594 effective field goal percentage ranks seventh in the league, but three of the players ahead of him are centers who do most of their shooting at the rim. At the helm of a more dynamic attack than he was a part of last season, Curry is also complementing his prolific shooting by ranking fifth in assist rate. He is an offense all to himself, a destroyer of defensive schemes, and the difference-making star his Golden State Warriors team had not had for almost 20 years.

But as great of a player as Curry is, Golden State’s championship odds reside just as much in Andrew Bogut’s ankles as Steph’s.

Unless you have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers shutting down passing lanes and flying all over the perimeter, it is essentially impossible to win a title without rim protection. The Warriors have several plus-defenders on the wing (Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston and Harrison Barnes) but Bogut remains the key component of the unit drilled into excellence by Mike Malone and taken over by Ron Adams, which currently leads the league in scoring allowed per possession.

With Adams on board, Golden State is running a version of Tom Thibodeau’s strong-side zone guarding of the pick-and-roll, which asks perimeter players to go over the screen and keep the opponent from getting to the middle of the floor, funneling them into the big man who must position himself to cut the path to the basket or challenge a drive from a position of leverage. Bogut has been excellent as the linchpin of such scheme. While his stance is not quite textbook (probably because he cannot bend much at this point of his career), Bogut moves exceptionally well laterally and plays great position defense.

Bogut has a well documented long history of injuries, but it is one composed of freaky occurrences. The most impactful issues of his career were the broken ankle suffered in 2012, that time Amar’e Stoudemire broke his arm and the rib fracture that kept him sidelined through the 2014 postseason. Without ever having had major problems to his feet and knees, Bogut seems to have preserved most of the athleticism that makes him a superior kind of seven-footer, which has translated in his short range quickness rotating off the weak-side and elevation to block shots. He has blocked 33 shots in 16 appearances (a top five mark) and held opponents to 39.7% shooting at the rim – third best among players who have logged a minimum of 20 minutes per game and defended five shots at the basket per game.

David Lee has logged only seven minutes played so far this season and his absence has affected the Warriors’ defensive rebounding, which has declined from fifth last year to 13th this. Bogut has kept them at least average in this department, however, collecting 27.1% of opponent misses when he is on the floor, which ranks 11th in the league. He is often in position to control the glass due to the nature of his size and general role within Golden State’s scheme, but what makes him above average is his diligence in boxing out and activity tracking the ball off the rim.

The size that makes it hard for opponents to rebound when he is around also makes it challenging for them to score on him in the post. Bogut manages to absorb contact without giving up his base due to the strength in his 245-pound frame. Brook Lopez, the league’s premier post scorer in the age of no post scoring, did not have much success backing him down and creating separation to get his shots off when the two met a couple of weeks ago. Andre Drummond is not a good post scorer against anyone, but he looked even more inept against Bogut on Sunday.

But as much of a difference maker as he is on defense, and as much as the Warriors rely on him because of his proficiency on that end, Bogut has also become a truly vital player on offense due to the addition of Steve Kerr. Golden State ran some good looking pet sets under Mark Jackson, but overall the offense was not as dynamic as it should have been given the personnel he had to work with. The Warriors went into the low post quite a lot under Jackson, and when they did not have a clear mismatch to take advantage with their wings, they ran straight pick-and-rolls with Curry at the top. Curry is excellent, and the odds of him getting a good shot for himself or others are always good. But there was this constant feeling that the Warriors were not maximizing this great asset, the league’s leader in gravitational pull. And that was translated on the Warriors ranking a mere 12th in scoring per possession last season.

The offense is still posting an average rating under Kerr, only ranking eighth in offensive efficiency so far this season, per NBA.com statistics. But it has been a much different looking kind of average, mostly only kept average because of a sky high turnover rate. Kerr has emphasized more ball movement and player movement, and as a result, Golden State is averaging roughly 69 more passes per game this season in comparison to last one, improving from last in the league to 11th.
And Bogut has been at the center of this improvement.

Bogut has excellent ball skills for someone his height, and Kerr has fully utilized them to feature him as a hub for shot creation from the high post. The shooters (Curry, Thompson) constantly dart towards him for catch-and-shoot or one-dribble pull-ups off his dribble hand-offs, and the athletes (Barnes, Iguodala, Leandrinho Barbosa, Draymond Green) cutting backdoor for catch-and-finish looks at the rim. Using Bogut in this way is a principle Kerr has transferred from San Antonio’s magnificent offense. Whenever it stalls midway through or late in the shot clock, Gregg Popovich has taught his best players to run at the ball-handler and run some variation of a two-man game. Imitating this has maximized the value of Bogut’s passing, and his 18.2% assist rate ranks second among centers, behind only Joakim Noah’s. The risk involved is reflected in his turnover rate, a sky high 22.9% in the context of his 14.5% usage rate – bad passes account for 14 of his 31 giveaways, according to basketball-reference. But that turnover risk comes with the territory in regards to playmaking.

Bogut could only be more perfect for this principle if he were Kevin Love and could also shoot jump shots off of fake hand-offs. That is not the case, however. Bogut’s scoring zone is limited to inside 10 feet, as he has only shot roughly 32.5% outside that range in his NBA career. That lack of shooting skill is also reflected at the foul line, as he has hit his free throws at a historically poor 56.1% clip. That problem does not manifest itself much in the flow of the game because Bogut rarely draws shooting fouls, at least – his free throw rate has consistently declined since that fall that broke his arm in 2010, to a point where he now averages less than one attempt per game.

Some of this is explained by his role in the offense, where he is often working in an area where he is not a scoring threat and therefore is never fouled in the act of shooting there. But some of it is also a general lack of aggressiveness looking for the contact when he is in the post. Bogut does not get isolated in the low block much these days, and when he does, he is more often looking to hit a cutter darting towards the rim. But when he is looked to finish, Bogut has shown a strong preference for a turnaround left-handed hook falling away from the opponent. That move has been effective on its own (Bogut has shot 13-for-28 on hook shots this season, according to nbasavant.com) but it has not helped generate free throws.

Although a decent post scorer, the majority of Bogut’s points come at the rim via pick-and-rolls and putbacks. Those dribble hand-offs used to set up catch-and-shoots for Curry and Thompson have also often led to lobs for Bogut diving to the basket. As mentioned previously, he is moving very comfortably at this point and that has translated into sharp cutting on these plays. He remains capable of playing above the rim as a target for alley-oops, and although he is not the constant threat guys like Tyson Chandler and Dwight Howard are with their elite athleticism, Bogut’s effectiveness in this area comes from his soft hands to catch the ball on the move and his great touch to finish at rim level. 54.1% of his shots have been in the restricted area, and he has hit them at a 71.7% clip.

Due to the nature of his role in Golden State’s offense, Bogut is below the rim a little less often now when the shooters take those long range bombs, and his offensive rebounding rate has declined this season. Nevertheless, when he is positioned to chase misses, Bogut remains a difficult behemoth to box out due to the combination of his size and general activity. His seven-foot-three wingspan also helps him rebound outside of his area, and despite the small decline he is averaging three offensive rebounds per 36 minutes, which is still a decent number.

Injuries derailed the end of Bogut’s tenure in Milwaukee, to such a frustrating point where he ended up traded for Monta Ellis. Ellis did not move the needle for the Bucks, which continues cycling through mediocrity – in large part because Bogut’s replacement, Larry Sanders, had his development stagnated by injury as well. Golden State, meanwhile, won what has become a very lopsided trade. On first thought, it can be a bit stunning to see how many strong points Bogut has in his game when he is at full health. But then you remember he was drafted number one overall; he is supposed to be this good. So good, in fact, that Golden State’s shot at the title reside on his ankles just as much as Curry’s.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.

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3D wing

Harrison Barnes Scouting Report

(Originally posted at BballBreakdown)

Harrison Barnes had a promising rookie season as an important part of a team that was tied 2-2 with the Spurs heading into game five of the Western Conference semifinals. But either because of Andre Iguodala’s addition changing his role or some other unknown reason, Barnes’s second season was a disaster. Other than on-ball defense and transition scoring — aspects he can be easily effective in due to his physical profile and by playing hard — Barnes tanked in all other areas of his game.

The biggest difference was the way he was used. Barnes spent 1318 of his 2058 minutes in his first season in five-man lineups that had all of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee in it. Once the Warriors signed Iguodala, head-coach Mark Jackson installed the veteran in Barnes’ place and designated the 21-year-old as the leader of his second unit. A second unit is an outdated concept, as it’s widely understood by now the best way to manage your rotation is staggering minutes in order to always have one of your best players on the court and limit the drop-off in production once you substitute. Jackson, however, was not much of a forward thinker in that department.

As Iguodala dealt with injuries that held him to 63 appearances, Barnes still had opportunities in his absences to log 593 minutes with Golden State’s aforementioned most gifted offensive trio. Yet throughout the season, Barnes was mostly cast as the go-to option of dreadful units built of five reserves, lineups that lacked much talent in the way of shooting and passing outside of Draymond Green. With Jarrett Jack gone to Cleveland, the Warriors struggled to find a capable backup point that provided his combination of shot creation and off-ball usefulness, going from Toney Douglas to Jordan Crawford to Steve Blake. To try and circumvent those issues, Jackson emphasized playing through Barnes in the post.

It is actually understandable as to why that was. Barnes has impressive footwork for a wing player and a varied post game, utilizing two-step running jump-hooks, pull-up face-up jumpers off jab-steps, turnaround fadeaway jumpers, and spins left to take it to the basket. He was somewhat effective, too, particularly so when guarded by smaller players, showing good patience using his lower body strength to back them down or create separation. And although Barnes was only an OK scorer in comparison to the rest of the league, ranking in the top 100 on a per-possession basis, his attempts from three- to 16-feet away from the basket – a low percentage area, in general – increased from 31.5 percent in his rookie season to 36.3 percent in year two.

He did, however, only look to score from the post. Scoring off post-ups is a lost art, as increasingly often nowadays, teams post up to draw a double team and kick the ball out to generate a more valuable look from three-point range, moreso than to score. However, Barnes was not that sort of offensive catalyst, passing out of the post on less than a fifth of his post-ups and teammates averaging just 0.727 point per possession off those passes. With defenses keying on him without Curry and Lee in to ignite ball movement, Barnes further struggled scoring out of dribble penetration. He was held to 38% shooting on 223 drives, only able to take less than a quarter of his shots at the basket and held to 59.2% shooting there. Barnes is an incredible athlete who, it figures, would be a much more efficient finisher at the basketball because of this, but he does not consistently play up to his level of athleticism. Barnes’s physical tools are also not enough on their own to get him to the rim; he has a tight handle when dribbling from side to side, looking to dribble the ball low in traffic, but struggles at recognizing the second line of defense, has not shown many instincts passing off the bounce, and also did a lot of catching-and-holding. Of the team’s rotation players, only Thompson, Jermaine O’Neal and Marreesse Speights passed the ball fewer times per game, and those are all also better finishers.

Every now and again, Barnes will explode off the ground and remind you of the kind of physical specimen he is. However, he was more likely to do so in his first year (his dunk-attempt rate dropped five percentage points as a sophomore), when he was in a better position to attack closeouts with his explosive first step and long strides. Barnes struggled badly as his own shot creator, shooting just 27.8 percent on 97 attempts in isolation and held to 0.62 point-per-possession on 69 attempts off pick-and-rolls, averaging three free throw attempts per 36 minutes.

With regards to his jump shot, Barnes looks like a good shooter when shooting off of the catch. He does not possess a particularly quick trigger, especially in comparison to Curry and Thompson, but he has a smooth release with good mechanics. Even then, though, the ball did not go in as much as it should. Barnes hit only 40 percent of his approximately 192 catch-and-shoot attempts, and while 40 percent of his attempts were from the corner, he hit them only at a 35.5 percent clip. In fact, if you discount his three-point shooting in transition (44 percent on 38 attempts), he hit just 33 percent on jump shots in the half-court.

Barnes played with good effort on defense and leveraged his athleticism to make an impact in individual defense. He held opponents to 33.3 percent shooting in 83 plays defending in isolation, and allowed just 0.87 points per possession in 167 defended pick-and-rolls. His short range quickness is particularly impressive, as he can take an extra step inside to help seal the lane and return to his man with great momentum to intimidate average shooters when the ball is swung to them. However, his off-ball statistics were not as flattering, and he ranked outside the top 45 in defensive rebounding rate among position peers. Overall the Warriors defended better on a per-possession basis without Barnes on the floor, even though he shared a third of his minutes with interior defensive anchor Andrew Bogut.

Barnes, then, needs to have a bounce back season. In his first two years of the league, he has shown flashes of effectiveness at all facets of the game, but he has also shown little in the way of being able to adapt effectively to his own scouting report and developing his skill set. Many players stagnate as sophomores, but Barnes arguably regressed as the team around him improved. He needs to quickly reverse this trend, especially with his extension window opening up next summer. Perhaps, with a new coach and some slightly different personnel, this will happen.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.

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