NBA

Harrison Barnes explains what he's already learned from playing with Dirk Nowitzki

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Harrison Barnes may have been a role player during his time with the Golden State Warriors, but in his first season with the Dallas Mavericks, he proved that he has star quality.

Barnes was highly regarded in the Bay Area but the acquisition of Kevin Durant meant the Warriors had to make some sacrifices and they opted not to offer the small forward an extension.

Golden State's loss was certainly Dallas' gain as the 25-year-old thrived with the added responsibility on the offensive end.

HB averaged a career-high 19.2 points per game in his first campaign in Texas and went some way to justifying the franchise's decision to offer him a max contract last summer.

There were many who questioned the four-year $94million deal given to him by the Mavs and whether he was worth such an outlay.

But Barnes showed a vast improvement as he became the number one option on offence for the Mavericks.

He is now seen as the man to take over as the face of the franchise from Dallas legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is slowly coming to the end of his glittering career.

For now, though, Dirk still remains the face of the team having re-signed for a 20th season but Barnes is more than happy to have the German around as a mentor and to continue learning from him.

Having spent just one season with Nowitzki, the former Warriors man has already learned one big lesson from the future Hall of Famer.

"His work ethic," Barnes said in an interview with Complex. "When he came in the league you look where he started, to be able to become MVP, be a perennial All-Star, a lot of people said he would never be able to lead his team to a championship—which he did with no other All-Stars on the team, which is very rare, especially in today’s NBA—I think how he is always just precise and diligent about his work ethic is the biggest thing I’ve learned."

Nowitzki has always worked diligently on his game and it's great to see a young player looking to pick up on that.

But the big man's career will soon be over and it'll be down to Barnes and the Mavs' other young players to step up and lead the organisation.

Dallas' hopes of making the playoffs may be slim next season with the stiff competition in the Western Conference, but their future looks bright having drafted one of the most exciting young players this year in Dennis Smith Jr.

With the likes of Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell also on the roster, the Mavericks have solid young talent that can help move the franchise forward but it'll be down to Barnes to be at the forefront and take a leadership role.

Topics:
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki

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