Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks: Mavs player profiles: What Harrison Barnes can do to take next step after his hard-to-top 2016-17 season

Harrison Barnes

Position: Forward

Age: 25

Size: 6-8, 210 pounds

Experience: 5 seasons

Contract status: He’s in the second season of a four-year, $94.4 million contract that will pay him $23.1 million this season. The 2019-20 season is at Barnes’ option.

2016-17: As years go, it’ll be hard for Barnes to top that one. First, he signed the huge contract as Golden State made room for Kevin Durant. Then, he joined the Mavericks amid loads of talk that expectations should not be piled on too high. Then he went out and played beyond all expectations. He made himself part of the fabric of the Mavericks and Dallas. And along the way, he got engaged to Brittany Johnson before the season started. What a year. And the numbers backed everything up for Barnes on the court. His scoring average soared from 11.7 in his last season with the Warriors to 19.2 with the Mavericks. He became a more featured player, even though his playing time went up less than 5 minutes per game. While his 3-point shooting was decent, it was his mid-range game that became his calling card.

2017-18 outlook: You can argue that the hard part starts now for Barnes. He’s now on everybody’s radar when it comes to game-planning against the Mavericks. Much will depend on how Dennis Smith Jr. bonds with Barnes and other teammates. What the Mavericks have going for them is Rick Carlisle pulling the strings. He’s no stranger to putting together new pieces – he’s had to do it just about every season in Dallas. And this time, the pieces might just have a bit more firepower. For Barnes, he has to improve his rebounding, which was a lukewarm five per game last season. If he can raise that a board or two per game, it’ll be the next step in his progression.

Did you know: Barnes’ wedding to Johnson, a style coach, happened in Rhode Island on July 29 and featured a few NBA colleagues, including Oklahoma City’s Doug McDermott, who played on the same high school team as Barnes in Ames, Iowa.

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