SHANGHAI, China – The Warriors and Harrison Barnes are expressing confidence that the injury to Barnes’ left foot is not major and that sitting him for exhibition games is just precautionary. Still, the injury could have major repercussions for the second-year small forward and the entire rotation if it lingers into the season.
Coach Mark Jackson has maintained he has open spots at shooting guard and small forward. He says that Andre Iguodala is a candidate for one of the starting jobs, not an automatic after arriving as a free agent with a four-year, $48-million deal. With Stephen Curry set at point guard, David Lee at power forward and Andrew Bogut at center, Klay Thompson, Igoudala and Barnes are challenging for the opening lineup at the two other positions.
Now, though, Barnes has missed two games, most of another, and will not face the Lakers on Friday night at Mercedes-Benz Arena (7:30 a.m. ET, NBA TV) here before both teams return to California. There is no indication when he will play, only statements that the Warriors are simply getting him rest when the calendar allows.
But, Jackson said, “Unfortunately [the injury] has got to play a factor because you didn’t really get to see those units together, no matter who it is. The good thing is, I know all of these guys. I envisioned when we got Andre how I would utilize all of them and that hasn’t changed.”
If Barnes starts for the second season in a row, it will be in the front court, no matter who Jackson picks as shooting guard. If Barnes does not start, Iguodala will be the small forward and Thompson the shooting guard.
The Warriors have two exhibition games remaining after returning to the United States, Wednesday at Sacramento and Thursday against the Trail Blazers in Portland. Golden State opens the regular season Oct. 30.
Meanwhile, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he has not made a decision on the starting power forward and center. Pau Gasol gets one of the jobs. The decision for D’Antoni is whether Gasol plays power forward next to Chris Kaman at center or Gasol opens at center with Jordan Hill at power forward.