The Dallas Mavericks were again forced to the fringes of NBA free agency this year, and their biggest move was signing small forward Harrison Barnes to a four-year, $94 million deal. The seventh overall pick in 2012 struggled to find a consistent niche in the Golden State Warriors’ pecking order, but that will not be a problem with his new team.
In 2015-16, Barnes averaged a career-high 11.7 points per game along with 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game over 66 games (59 starts). From an advanced stat standpoint Barnes was a bit of a mixed bag, with a solid 55.9 true shooting percentage and a reduced turnover rate (7.6 percent) but declines in his rebound rates on both ends of the floor.
Fantasy value is rooted in opportunity, and the Mavericks can provide that for Barnes as a primary scoring option. His usage rate was just 15.9 percent last year with Golden State, which was lower than all eight Mavericks that averaged at least 20 minutes per game last season. A closer comparison from Dallas’ 2015-16 squad would be Chandler Parsons, who had a 20.5 usage rate and is now gone to the Memphis Grizzlies in free agency. In any case, Barnes’ usage rate will surely climb a fair amount next season.
Scoring will drive whatever fantasy value Barnes has in 2016-17, but a bigger role and a requisite bump in playing time could bring solid rebound and assist averages based on volume/opportunity alone. It will be easy to overrate Barnes heading into next season, in real and fantasy terms, but a mid-round draft pick could pay off nicely for fantasy basketball owners.