DONUT 1: Barnes & Noble
Nobody You have an idea what you're getting with one of the Mavs starting forwards in 2016-17. Dirk Nowitzki and his nobility. And at the other forward? Harrison Barnes ... so "Barnes & Noble''?
OK, we're sorry. But fitting these two together does matter ... and it's largely about how much and how quickly Harrison Barnes can grow into the "go-to guy'' Dirk says he hopes the newcomer can be.
Let's examine ...
DONUT 2: The Pedrigee
After their "Double-Pipedream of Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside burst, and with Chandler Parsons packing up his things and leaving Dallas in the rearview in favor of Memphis, the Mavs were left scrambling to find a way to keep Dirk happy and stay competitive next season. The search for Parsons’s replacement led them to Harrison Barnes and to locking him up (literally, with the Wednesday night handcuffs in Ames, Iowa) to his four-year, $94-mil deal.
Barnes (6-8, 225) was drafted seventh overall out of North Carolina by the Warriors in 2012 (along with the fact that he was the top high school recruit from his class, there's pedigree!), where he started 81 games as a rookie, and averaged 9.2 points on 43.9 percent from the field that season. Over the following three years, Barnes continued to improve, increasing his scoring average in each of those three seasons following his rookie year. ... if only by a bit.
And maybe this is the first concern about Barnes: Is he an 11-points-per-game guy because he was on a Warriors team that employed superior first and second and third options? Or has his scoring been limited because he's limited?
DONUT 3: Blessing Of Youth
Our Matthew Postins writes here about Dallas both "blowing it up'' AND "starting a youth movement'' AND keeping Dirk involved at a competitive level. The "youth movement'' part matters here, as it relates to Barnes, because he plays. Every night. Somebody like, say, returnee Deron Williams, at 32, will not do that.
Somebody like Barnes, 24, does.
In Golden State, Barnes was a model of consistency, playing in 307 of a possible 328 games, and starting 246 of those games – something Chandler Parsons struggled with over his two-year stint in Dallas. In fact, the worst injury of Barnes’s career to date in the NBA was a sprained left ankle, which forced him to miss 16 games from November 30th to January second of this season.
We don't think it's unfair to bring up CP's lack of availability due to injury here. In fact, we think it's a huge part of the reason Parsons was not offered his max ... and we hope it's a reason Barnes justifies his.
DONUT 4: 'The Look' Of A 'Scoring Forward'
It can be argued that Barnes has the look of a "scoring forward'' who has the ability to stretch the defense and score consistently from downtown, while also possessing the skill to take advantage of mismatches and take the ball to the hoop against smaller defenders. Barnes has also been known to be effective in the post, and to moves well without the ball in his hands, off of screens.
For his career, Barnes averages 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28.1 minutes per game, while shooting just under 45-percent from the field and 38-percent from three.
But to be fair: Barnes doesn't "create.'' Over the weekend, a Mavs source told Fish that Barnes is greatly inferior to Parsons in the "creating'' department ... ball-handling, driving, distribution.
There is a great deal of work to be done there. (It's worth noting that some of Barnes' work begins immediately, and at a high level. Sometime after experiencing Dallas' fine dining ...
... He'll join the U.S. Olympic Team, the first Mavs player to represent our country since Jason Kidd in 2008. (If another new Mav, Andrew Bogut, is healthy enough, he'll play for Australia. The U.S. plays Australia in the Olympics in Rio on Aug. 10.)
DONUT 5: But On Defense
Again, to an inside-Mavs-HQ take: The Dallas personnel department thinks Barnes can be a top-notch defender, and that he can do is most anywhere on the floor. That Warriors defensive knack for being able to switch on defense and still win matchups due to interchangeability? One of the reasons Golden State could do that now can help Dallas do that.
Indeed, the Mavs projected starting lineup of Barnes, Bogut, Deron, Wes (oh, and "Noble'' ... er, Dirk) employs four guys who can play defense at a high level.
DONUT 6: "Utopia''
Dirk was talking about NBA money the other day and mentioned "Utopia.'' But he knows that true Utopia is success not in the bank, but in the locker room and on the practice court and then in games. Barnes brings to Dallas a reputation as a good, young locker room guy ... and we're attracted to the idea of adding him to the culture because he comes from a winning culture.
Dallas' locker room is keyed by Dirk. But if there is now a "Southwest Warriors'' flavor in there, too? Good deal.
DONUT 7: Coach 'Em Up!
Barnes has tools and talent, but it will be incumbent upon Rick Carlisle and his coaching staff to bring that talent out, and make the best of it. We like Dallas' odds here ... but we are likely to see some changes in Dallas' style of play.
Remember last year, at the end, when the Mavs became about grit-and-grind (sorry, Memphis) and won low-scoring games due to fewer possessions (meaning fewer chances for kids like Justin Anderson to make errors)? We're not necessarily forecasting a continuation of that from Rick this year ...
But there will be alterations.
You cannot unplug Parsons from the starting five and insert Barnes and expect it to remain "Flow.'' How does Barnes play in the pick-and-roll when he's one of the two main cogs? He hasn't done that much. If he's "go-to,'' as Dirk says, does that mean so many of his baskets are going to be assisted, rather than the result of his own wing creativity?
That doesn't mean Barnes CAN'T do some of the things Rick's standard offense requires; it just means he HASN'T done those things. We hope.
DONUT 8: Post-Up Game
This can be a win. Barnes is long, and has a knack inside. Maybe if we're worried that he won't get the open perimeter looks he got in Oakland (because how can that be matched, given that in Oakland the defenses were much more concerned about getting Splashed?), we can comfort ourselves with another vision: Barnes posting up, helping to create space and open shots for ... well, mostly for Dirk.
Because once again -- and this is a weird thing to consider for Mavs watchers from the last decade-and-a-half who watched Nellie and more, with offense seeming to be where Dallas wins games -- the Mavs are not now blessed with an assortment of range-finders.
Deron? Sure. Wes? Not consistent enough. Barea? Sometimes. Devin? Not really. Justin? Not yet. Seth Curry? OK, we can have some fun there ...
But this is why "Barnes & Noble'' matter together. "Noble'' is still quite likely to end the 2016-17 season as the Dallas Mavericks' leading scorer, you know. The quest to make Dirk "Dallas' third-best player'' isn't happening any time soon.
DONUT 9: Accepting Reality
There was a point in the last week when a large part of Mavs Nation, it seemed, wanted the Mavs to "spend money'' and "Do Something.'' Inactivity was grating.
Now comes the signing of Barnes, and -- is it the same people who are griping that they don't like the "something'' that Dallas "did''?
Can we agree that just as he was a young building block in Golden State, he is a young building block here?
There is other youth, too ...
Hammons' deal, by the way, DB.com is told, includes slightly more money than the usual rookie deal in exchange for a three-year commitment. And more, with the news that UDFA Dorian Finney-Smith is signing for three years with a partial guarantee ... and a partial guarantee for 6-8 Argentinian wing Nicolas Brussino. (In the late-week flurry of moves, Dallas also saved $1.4 mil of space - earmarked to retain Dirk's cap hold and to pay him -- by waiving Javale McGee.)
DONUT 10: The Fair Truth
DONUT 11: When Are Players 'Worth It'?
Is Barnes worth the max? Only time will tell. But the fact remains that Dallas has signed a guy who was a key piece in an NBA title and the best regular season in NBA history, and a guy who they can count on to be on the floor when they need him to be. And in a year where Evan Turner gets $18 million and Ian Mahinmi is getting $16 million per year, does it really matter if he’s "overpaid'' by a couple million?
Probably not. Especially, of course, if it all works out, and Barnes becomes a central part of Twilight Dirk's success in Dallas.
DONUT 12: The Final Word
"We expect more from Barnes than he showed in Golden State. Sure, he averaged only 11 points with the Warriors. But alongside Curry and Thompson that's (expected). We hope that he is a go-to guy for us.'' - Dirk. And "hope'' is OK.