Harrison Barnes comes alive, what does it mean for Kings moving forward?

Veteran forward makes his case to stay in Sacramento

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Are you confused? You aren’t the only one.

Harrison Barnes’ recent surge in play is confounding. The veteran has taken a back seat this season with the Kings, willingly sacrificing his own offensive production to allow De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis to flourish, as well as second-year forward Keegan Murray to develop.

Through 41 games, the 31-year-old forward posted a modest statline of 10.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 29.1 minutes a night while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from long range. 

These numbers are well off the 15 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists he posted last season, even if the shooting numbers are close. 

Did father time catch up with Barnes over an offseason where he signed a new three-year, $54 million contract? Did head coach Mike Brown ask the veteran to take a step back for the rest of the squad? Did Barnes take his role as the fifth option in the starting unit to a level that no one expected?

Whatever the root cause, Barnes magically woke up from his slumber over the last two games, posting a combined 71 points in wins over the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors. His 39-point outburst in San Francisco was a career high and helped raise his season scoring average to 11.7 points per game. 

How does a player spend the entire first half of the season basically in mothballs while playing close to 30 minutes per game and then flip a switch that many didn’t know still existed? Is Barnes reborn or is this a momentary aberration?

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