Harrison Barnes was one of the most talked-about players in the last days of the trade deadline. Everyone was convinced he was the man the Celtics would spend their trade exception on. But, the Kings decided to keep the small forward, and his buzzer-beater against the Cavs showed why.
At first glance, Barnes isn’t dominating this season. He’s averaging 15.7/6.7/3.6, shooting 48.6% from the field, 35.4% from the three-point line. But there’s a reason Barnes is leading the Kings in minutes per game (36 min). He is reliable. You know what you are getting from HB, and that matters.
A moment after Harrison’s amazing buzzer-beater revealed the difference between today’s NBA and days past. Following his game-winning shot, Barnes patted Darius Garland on the ass. With a smile, enjoying the move, Matt Barnes made it clear what would happen after that in his NBA.
Not happening. On me and then smack me on the ass? Oh yeah, imma wait for him by the bus.Matt Barnes, The Jump
We need more of this. It’s what Steven A. talked about recently – it’s OK to take stuff like that personally. As I mentioned before, Matt had a smile on his face while making the comment. Letting someone know you won’t let them do that again isn’t an act of aggression – it’s competitiveness. You stand up for yourself, let the guy, his team, and the league know moves like that have consequences. Not a fistfight – basketball consequences. There’s more than one way to play that game. Steven A. reminded everyone how MJ did it.
Michael Jordan, one time at a press conference, I forgot who it was against. Somebody said something, and MJ said, ‘Okay.’ Then got up, walked down, turned around, and said, ‘Who said that again?‘ So everybody knew, ‘Oh damn, it’s going to be something.’Stephen A. Smith, First Take
This is probably a generational thing, something people with doctorates could explain. My simplistic view is, kids today are raised with any form of aggression being labeled bad. I’m not saying they should throw punches – but getting in someone’s face, standing up for yourself, and playing hard, all-out defense has a certain level of aggression to it. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, particularly while participating in a competitive activity.
If my niece tells me to fu** off because I won’t buy her something, we’re gonna have a problem. If she does it while we’re playing a card game or on a court – it’s fair game. The level of tolerance for conflict and aggression changes for those 48 minutes. At least it did in the NBA I fell in love with as a kid.