2009-2010 Player Evaluation: Matt Barnes | Magic Basketball



Jun 09

2009-2010 Player Evaluation: Matt Barnes


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Synergy-fueled player evaluations, with the help of other metrics, are always fun.

Today, the small forwards.

2009-2010 regular season Matt Barnes
Games Played 81
Minutes Played 25.9
adj. +/- -1.06
net +/- +6.6
statistical +/- +1.34
PER 13.6
WARP 2.6
Win Shares/48 .135

When Matt Barnes signed as a free agent with the Orlando Magic in the off-season, with Dwight Howard doing his part and persuading him to join the team when Barnes was contemplating his decision, people wanted to know whether or not he would start at the small forward position. Those questions, however, were answered literally at the dawn of a new year, when Barnes showed that the intangibles he brought to the table proved to compliment the four All-Stars very nicely and he started from December 30 until the end of the season.

It’s cliche, but true. Barnes did the little things that needed to be done for the Magic’s starting lineup to be successful in games. Whether it was rebounding the basketball, providing much-needed toughness, or playing with high intensity, Barnes was able to be a positive impact for Orlando and ended up being another bargain signing (Jason Williams being the other) for general manager Otis Smith.

Via Synergy Sports Technology:

2009-2010 regular season Time Poss. PPP* Rank Rating
OVERALL OFFENSE 100% 728 0.98 73% Very Good
Spot-Up 37.4% 272 0.88 42% Average
Transition 18% 131 1.29 76% Very Good
Cut 14.6% 106 1.27 61% Good
Offensive Rebounds (put backs) 8.2% 60 1.18 69% Very Good

.576 .546 12.3 10.1 15.3 16.2 111

Barnes was an efficient player offensively, with career-highs in several categories. And he did things, like cutting to the basket when Howard would be looking to pass the basketball out of the post in 4-out/1-in offensive sets, that helped the Magic. But Barnes’ main weakness, was the fact that he wasn’t, and isn’t, a great spot-up shooter. This proved, ultimately, to be a problem against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, when J.J. Redick‘s marksmanship proved to be one of the main reasons why Barnes’ playing time was lessened. That doesn’t mean Barnes isn’t good on offense, but his strengths both helped and hurt Orlando at times.

Barnes did most of his damage offensively either at the rim or at the three-point line, which is the shot locations he favored. In theory, it’s not a bad idea for Barnes to center his game offensively around two of the most efficient shots on the court, but he isn’t as effective as he can be because of his struggles to shoot three-pointers at a higher percentage. Sure, Barnes had a knack of crashing the glass and getting offensive rebounds for put-backs, but he was the worst three-point shooter for the Magic and that was a problem in the 2010 NBA Playoffs. It’s also one of the reasons why, even though Barnes does a lot of things well, he is a player that can be replaced if push comes to shove.

Via Synergy Sports Technology:

2009-2010 regular season Time Poss. PPP* Rank Rating
OVERALL DEFENSE 100% 835 0.87 61% Good
Spot-Up 31.9% 266 0.94 59% Good
Isolation 25.6% 214 0.85 51% Good
P&R Ball Handler 17.1% 143 0.94 17% Below Average
Off Screen 8.7% 73 0.66 89% Excellent

net def. +/- dMULT opp. PER TRB% STL% BLK%
-1.19 0.940 13.3 (vs. SF’s) 12.3 1.5 1.1

At times, it seemed like Barnes was overrated on defense. This doesn’t mean that Barnes was a bad defender, on the contrary, but sometimes everyone would make note of his scuffles with Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, and other great scorers during the regular season and ignore some of his weakness defensively.

For example, Barnes’ poor pick and roll defense sticks out like a sore thumb. The main issue with Barnes’ pick and roll coverage is that he’ll either opt to go over or into the pick a majority of the time, and get burned in the process because he’s not strong enough to fight through or around a screen

As much as Barnes is a pesky and tenacious defender, he’s a bit undersized when dealing with opposing perimeter players like Dwyane Wade or LeBron James.

Closing thoughts
Barnes, in many ways, was a breathe of fresh air for Orlando this year. Barnes was a perfect sidekick with the starters and his toughness, more than anything else, was a welcomed addition to a team that is criticized many times for being finesse and soft … except against the Celtics apparently. In any case, there are weaknesses to Barnes’ skill-set that can’t be ignored. It’s one of the factors, other than the fact that Barnes wants a raise and deservingly so, that he may be replaced in the off-season with a cheaper and better alternative.

Still, Barnes should be applauded for never, ever dogging it in games, always playing hard no matter what, and putting forth the proper effort and energy to win. Barnes’ intense and competitive nature got him in trouble sometimes, but there’s no question that he always played with the best intentions in mind for the Magic. Ultimately, it’s an ironic situation with Barnes — he’s the perfect role player for a team like Orlando, yet he can be easily replaced if need be. It will probably be no surprise, then, if Barnes either comes back or leaves the Magic for another team.

*points per possession

Grade: B