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An early assessment of Harrison Barnes' start to life in Dallas

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Harrison Barnes has been used to living in the limelight. Throughout his two years at college with the North Carolina Tar Heels, he was under constant scrutiny as the top overall recruit coming out of high school in 2010.

He took a back seat with the Golden State Warriors as the talents of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green took centre stage. But having been picked up by the Dallas Mavericks on a four-year, $94 million deal, the pressure is now back on the forward to perform.

Looking at the Mavericks' standing in the Western Conference, early on - 14th with just one win from six games - doesn't paint a good picture for Barnes, but the statistics prove the Iowa native has been solid, if not spectacular, since switching California for Texas.

The 26-year-old's shooting has been under scrutiny since his performance in the NBA finals, where he shot 5-32 - including 3-11 from three - through games four, five and six of the series as the Warriors lost to the Cavaliers.

So far this season, Barnes has shot a respectable 34.8% from behind the arc on his 23 attempts - including a clutch three to send Dallas' game with the Indiana Pacers to overtime - and a career-high 49% from the field overall as he is averaging 20.8 points per outing.

Given he is playing 38.5 minutes per night - up from 30.9 during his final season with the Warriors - and his usage rating is at a career-high 23.7 (the highest during his time as a Warrior was 17.7% in his rookie campaign) then the former Tar Heel is producing at a strong rate for the Mavs.

Portland Trail Blazers v Dallas Mavericks

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks

But is it enough to warrant the huge amount of cash? Probably not. Although, Barnes has never been an efficient scorer. During his two years playing NCAA basketball, he shot 43% from the field and was a poor 33% during the tournament.

Dallas' 1-5 start can't be pinned on the former lottery pick; Andrew Bogut has struggled to adapt to his new surroundings - with the Mavs playing a different, slower brand of basketball to Golden State, it has been difficult for the Aussie to show his strengths. Dirk Nowitzki playing just three games also hasn't helped.

Adapting from being a role player to the go-to guy was always going to be tough, but the early signs are relatively positive that Barnes can make his time in Dallas a success. A career-high 34 points in their only win won't hurt that assumption.

Topics:
NBA
Dallas Mavericks
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Harrison Barnes

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