The Golden State Warriors received bad news when it was announced that Kevin Durant will be out indefinitely after spraining his MCL in Tuesday’s loss to the Washington Wizards. With Durant gone the Warriors were forced to scramble to find a replacement. Enter bad boy Matt Barnes.
I’m not using the term “Bad Boy” in a negative light but Barnes is exactly what this Warriors team needs now. With the rest of the NBA focused on trying to be physical with the smaller, less muscular Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry and teams taking shots at Draymond Green for what they feel is dirty play, it was time that the Warriors added an enforcer to the lineup. Durant is a pure scorer, while Barnes is more of a defender and rebounder.
In terms of production, look at the Warriors roster and pinpoint what they are losing. Not much. The Warriors won 73 games last season without Durant due to their focus on the defensive end of the court. This season, the Warriors have struggled a bit on that end but with three players averaging 22+ points per game, it was often overlooked. Green is still the defense spark plug of the team, with Durant out his shot attempts and numbers should increase.
However, the key is still Barnes.
Barnes caught a raw deal in Sacramento after the Kings traded DeMarcus Cousin as he was let go. Now, he has to be smiling as wide as the Grand Canyon. Not just because he’s going to a team that’s a title contender but because he’s going home. Barnes had productive seasons with the Warriors in 2006-2008 where he averaged eight points, five rebounds. Not All-Star numbers but he wasn’t the focal point of the offense.
The Warriors had a need for toughness that was lacking and Barnes gives them that credibility. Opposing teams will now think twice about driving the lane with Green and Barnes ready to knock someone to the floor. Durant will be missed, but the addition of Barnes will slow the leak until Durant returns.