Barnes Bulks Up For Small Ball

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Harrison Barnes wore his layer of new muscle in Las Vegas last week like a superhero wears his costume. He tried to act natural, like nothing had changed since the last time we saw him. But it’s hard to hide the obvious, especially when it’s 10 to 15 pounds of new muscle.

Barnes has bulked up considerably since his breakout showing against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals. With the addition of Andre Iguodala this summer, Barnes knows that the time he spent working at power forward in the Warriors’ small ball lineup could be a more common occurrence during the 2013-14 season.

So he had no choice but to go to work on his physique. The gains were on display throughout USA Basketball’s mini-camp for the Men’s Senior National Team, and specifically in the Blue-White Showcase (just ask Ryan Anderson).

Warriors coach Mark Jackson will have to sort out his rotation and find creative ways to use Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Barnes and Iguodala in a way that capitalizes on all of their individual talents. That could mean a sixth man role for Barnes or a position switch and perhaps another move, possibly even trading David Lee or Andrew Bogut to create more time for that smaller lineup.

A key piece of the Warriors’ core group, Barnes is prepared for whatever comes his way.

“I’ve really been working hard this summer to get ready for that,” Barnes said. “I’ve really been working on my body. I need to get used to the toll it takes down low, boxing out and rebounding with the bigger guys. [Denver’s] Kenneth Faried definitely served as an inspiration and great guy to help prepare me for what it takes to play that position when you are considered to be undersized by people. But it’s like I said, I’ve been preparing for that change all summer.”

Thompson participated in the mini-camp, too. He acknowledged that changes that will come with Iguodala’s addition, and not just offensively.

“He’s going to help make us a stronger unit defensively,” Thompson said. “I think that’s the first thing that jumps out at you when you add him to our mix. We’ll adjust offensively. Coach Jackson can get creative with what he wants to do in that regard. Everybody will just have to wait and see what he comes up with.”

Watching Barnes work throughout the mini-camp and in that Blue-White game should be required viewing before any decisions are made. He played inside and out, ran the floor as well as anyone, guarded on the perimeter and in the paint and held his ground routinely against bigger guys. He scored 18 points in the game without any designed scheme to get him involved, which might be his best trait. He can adapt his game to whatever style of play the Warriors decide to utilize.

“The [USA Basketball] experience is great for me,” Barnes said. “It’s different for sure. But it’s kind of fun at the same time because you don’t have expectations for yourself. I don’t get game reps a lot at the [four], so I got to come out and here and just go on the fly. It was great, though. I’ve only had the chance to rock the USA on my chest one time, and that was in high school. So to come out here and get a chance to play against so many great players was fantastic.”

Barnes said he’ll take a similar approach to Warriors training camp. Instead of worrying about what he’ll have to sacrifice with the arrival of another player who will chew up minutes at small forward, he continue to focus on the positives and what it takes for him to be effective in whatever role he’s asked to fill.

“I don’t think it takes long for us to figure it all out as players,” Barnes said. “The best thing about Andre is he’s a great passer. And he’s got plenty of experience playing small ball. In my mind, our versatility is what’s going to set us apart. The fact that we’ll be able to play multiple guys at multiple spots is what will make us so dangerous, whether it’s me at the four and David Lee at the five or whatever it is we do against certain teams. We’ll have the advantage a lot of nights because we can match up basically with anybody.”

That was certainly the Warriors’ plan.


  1. Dub Quest says:

    The D.Lee versus Aldridge talk is academic now.D.Lee is a Warrior.Despite his perceived shortcomings defensively,the man has shown he can play and has the heart of a lion.He backs down to no one and has added an edge that the Warriors have lacked for years.He loves his team and fans and the team and fans love him.If his hip is good,he’ll continue to be a key player and leader on this team.
    In regards to Harrison Barnes and Iguodala,I would bring Iggy off the bench.He’d be the perfect 6th man both offensively and defensively.His experience(not to mention his contract)should keep his ego in check enough to accept that role.He’ll be in the game at “crunch time”most of the time anyway(much like Jarrett Jack was–but without the turnovers!).
    Get ready WARRIOR NATION,we’ve got a gang of talent and options to look foward to !!!!

  2. jleemagnetic says:

    I think the Warriors have so many different options. They can start Barnes and Iggy together. They can start Klay and Iggy and have Barnes come off the bench. Or they can even have Lee come off the bench. Or they can start small and have Bogut come off the bench (not likely). Even having Iggy come off the bench as a super 6 man wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. At the end of the day it comes down to minutes. Personally, I’d like to adjust the lineup depending on the opponent.

  3. Nick says:

    Dont get all this about trading d. Lee. He is a top 5 PF in the league, works hella hard, and has great chemistry with all the other players, and is a leader. Dont think u’ll find that in anybody u brought back in a return for him…just saying

  4. suraj says:

    For all the David lee haters, don’t forget he led the league in both double doubles and 20-10 games, as well as being the only source for inside scoring for the warriors. It’s not like Kevin love is an amazing defender, but no one criticizes him.

  5. warriors says:

    with the right training staff and food with high intake of protein u can gain 10 pounds of pure muscle easily. Remember muscle is much more dense compared to fat. I myself have gained 15 pounds in two months.

  6. Curious E says:

    10 to 15 pounds of muscle in a couple of months to an already lean physique?! PEDs here we come! When are they going to start testing these guys??

    Sudden muscle weight gains to long, lean frames is a huge red flag. Brook Lopez, Enes Kanter, Gortat, LeBron James, D Wade … for example, do we really believe that Thaddeus Young put on 19 pounds of muscle last summer naturally?!

    Yes, Harrison, we know how Faried really inspired you …

    • Woodard says:

      Barnes has never even had a sip of alcohol in his life, and you think he’s using AAS/PEDs? He’s one of the most intelligent and devoted basketball players of his generation

  7. J says:

    I think barnes will be sixth man but it would make more sense if golden state’s starting lineup was this:
    pg curry
    sg iggy
    sf barnes
    pf lee
    c bogut

    cause Thompson would be a better sixth man to come in and drain some 3s
    on another note, it would be good to see d lee traded for say lamarcus Aldridge and bogut traded for……………. mmmmmm…….. vucevic or pekovic or Jefferson (kept only if healthy)

    and its a good choice for barnes to bulk up grrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!

  8. Bambino says:

    Enough said.

  9. Mike says:

    I would love to have Aldridge and would gladly give up Lee to get him. Lee is nice and has a better than average offensive game, even in the post, but Aldridge is a better athlete and would give the Warriors an added dimension. Still, you gotta be excited about this year. It’s all about the health. Go Ws.

  10. Gillsy says:

    I agree that Barnes will be a great player but they won’t trade him he is a second year player who is costing them nothing on a rookie contract.

  11. Ken says:

    Nobody can gain 10-15 lbs of muscle in three months without the use of AAS; it is a physical impossibility.

    • Bigmatta23 says:

      of course you can Kenny… its only one pound a week. If all you do is eat and work out you can do that easily.

  12. amitpal says:

    I think harrison barnes is going to be a superstar player someday and therefor might needed to be traded from the warriors. The warriora r going to have to teade someone soon cuz barnes cant keep coming off the bench. Hes to talented. I think barnes is actually a better offensive version of andre igudala so signing andre was a little confusing for me. Yeah barnes isnt as good defensivly yet, but he will be soon. Someone is going to have to be moved wether is iqudala barnes thompson and even possibly lee.

  13. Gillsy says:

    Obviously he has been told to bulk up to play more 4. Does this mean Lee maybe the one being the sixth man, depending on the oppositions line up. This would leave the back court as is and put Iggy to the 3, with a defensive stopper in the middle.

  14. Kimmy says:

    This is definately the fantasy that Harrison Barnes imagined…

  15. warriors says:

    they have enough money to get a legit free agent in 2014

  16. johnny dawson says:

    As sixth man Barnes would get more dunks, as he would compete against other bench players.

  17. squala96 says:

    I don’t think that Iggy would accept the Warriors’ offer if he wouldn’t start. It’s also too early to tell if Barnes will be good at the 4. Lee is still the priority, but if he is still injured (or gets traded), then Harrison might get his stint.

  18. yourmother says:

    Sekou, I don’t know if you know anything about working out, but you can’t gain 10-15 pounds of muscle in 1 month..

    But good for Barnes for being a focused young guy who seems to have great work ethic.

  19. tphen says:

    start with barnes!


    but definitely the line up that’ll see more mins will be:


    excited to see warriors this coming season!

    • Nore says:

      Well i like the small unit limeups with much shooting Power when you have Curry, Thompson, Iggy and Barnes out there but i just can’t imagine yet how Lee would defend against Marc Gasol, Dwight, Hibbert, Brook Lopez, Pekovic, Kanter or Cousins Down Low – hes just not big or strong enough for those guys. He’s after all a power forward and not a center. And with that smaller lineup i also can’t imagine Barnes defending the likes of Boozer, Ibaka, LBJ, Anthony, KG, Blake Griffin, Zach Randolph, Josh Smith, David West, Lamarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Nowitzki, Love, Faried or Favors. They will push him around on the defensive end. So offensivly they can make a splash in terms of a shooting team but defensively (the small line up) this could turn out to be a nightmare in terms of match ups …

    • CAVS!!!! says:

      I think your right… Iggy started last year at guard sometimes, so he’s perfectly able to do it…

  20. Jimmy jazz says:

    I think Barnes will come off the bench, however he will average more mpg then last year.

  21. Unkle Daddy says:

    I truly think starting Iggy over Barnes would be a crime, he proved in his rookie year he was a starter, and played even better in the post season and I’m big Iggy fan saying this. Andre should come off the bench as the sixth man sense he can play literally four position.

  22. Ultimate Warrior says:

    It’s likely Barnes will be the super-sub. But everybody will enjoy watching him with Andre on the court together.
    Too bad warriors weren’t able to trade DLEE+Rush for Aldridge. They still need a legit post player. That is why they made a pitch for Howard.

    • Jose Luis says:

      So Lee isn’t a legit Post player? SMH watch the warrior games and you’ll see how David lee gets his points.

    • Tucker says:

      Lee IS a legit post player. He made the All-Star team last season.. He’s about as good as Aldridge. Trading Lee and Rush for Aldridge would be a stupid move.

    • Unkle Daddy says:

      Check their stats Lee is better than Aldridge…

      • Chris says:

        Lee is a better rebounder, but he’s not a better overall player. The Blazers weren’t giving up Aldridge, they’re trying to build something in Portland. Lee is a solid post player. He will have to step up on both ends though if the Warriors want to get to the WC Finals. Barnes will be better suited to be the 6th man than the starting 4, especially in the Western Conference. It’s all about internal growth for this team

      • Brodster says:

        Need I remind you of David Lee on the OTHER side of the post. He’s trucking horrendous as a defender and even worse as a post defender. He looks like Nate Robinson out there trying to guard Bigs

      • RipCity Duck says:

        Lee is better than Aldridge how? tell me what stat makes him better, games missed? points? Leadership? please explain

      • Dieter says:

        Aldridge is the leader of his team, he didnt play with a real center and teams focus alot more on him defensively. Lee is a good PF, top 10 in the league, but he ain’t at the same level as Aldridge.

        I just hope we don’t see a decline in Barnes’s minutes because he has the most potential of all players in last years and this years draft. I guess he could be as good as Durant if he works hard, listens to his coach, and keeps playing like a team first player.

    • malachi cook says:

      shut up.. ihate wen people say thing like dat…. y would u trade davi lee for aldridge, david lee is twice the rebounder, toughness, defender, and team player…. aldridge just got offense… he wouldnt fit with curry, thompson, and bogut, stooopid

    • Post Player?? says:

      Do you watch the warriors play? How in the world is David Lee not a legit post player? Most of his points come from the post. He has a good back-to-basket game along with his great rebounding ability (more than 11 rpg). Aldridge is a good post player and could spread the floor shooting wise, but by no means is a stellar rebounder Lee is.

    • amitpal says:

      Ok all u guys saying lee is better than Aldridge are smoking something. Aldridge is probably the best all around powerforward behind duncan. And no lee cant poet up. Lee beats u with his mid range. He cant post up with his back to the basketball. Warriors would love to havw Aldridge because of his true post ability, length for defense and a better midrange jumper.