Hot Take Marathon: Harrison Barnes Wins 2019 Most Improved Player
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*The NBA offseason is cooling down, but the takes at OTG aren't. This month, we are hitting you with the Hot Take Marathon. Check back every day for a spicy NBA take!*
The simple fact that I am throwing out an award prediction with the NBA season still about two months away from starting may be controversial, but I firmly believe this will be the year Harrison Barnes will make a leap. He, and the Dallas Mavericks as a whole, have nowhere else to go but up.
Since entering the league, Barnes has been an NBA starter. Not by luck or strategy, but because he was always a good NBA player. The transition from fourth option in Golden State to first or second option in Dallas was tough at first, but Barnes is now more mature, has a couple of years in a Mavs uniform under his belt, and is ready to take the next step with this improved, strengthened team.
With Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan joining him in the starting lineup, Barnes’ workload should be lighter. He will have the chance to take possessions off on offense by simply standing on the corner to catch his breath, waiting for a possible kick out pass to shoot an open three; he will also have the chance to grab hold of the ball and score at will; and he will probably unlock a new facet of his playmaking capabilities with Jordan able to catch all sorts of sky-high lobs.
Barnes also played some more power forward last season, and he looked very comfortable; he has the ability to stretch the floor and defend three positions. There is so much to learn from Dirk Nowitzki, one of the greatest scorers in the history of our game and a top 5 power forward all-time. The thought of Barnes as the 2019 MIP may be hard to grasp with so many other fitting candidates that come into mind; and though I could be acting in a very optimistic manner, I am high on Barnes and expect him to prove detractors wrong.