With free agency coming up fans are going to want to know who are the best players available at their respective positions. Sports Illustrated’s Rob Mahoney listed the top wing players in an insightful post. He ranked Los Angeles Clippers free agent Matt Barnes 11th on the list. Here’s what Mahoney had to say on Barnes:
Barnes, 33, has topped $2 million in annual salary only once in 10 years, and he may be enough of a spotty shooter and loose cannon to draw a similarly modest deal this time. But he’s earned a raise from his current $1.2 million salary with his play for the Clippers this season, despite the characteristic inconsistency in his production. Barnes contributes all over the court even when the ball isn’t swinging his way, including solid rebounding and good, meddlesome defense. He uses his length well to challenge shooters and corral ball handlers, and Barnes has proved to be a helpful contributor in several different kinds of defensive systems.
Barnes shot a below-average 34.2 percent from three-point range this season, but he makes up for the come-and-go nature of his jump shot with clever cuts through the weak side and down the baseline. He receives little credit for those plays, but smart decisions and good effort allow him to exploit defensive inattention on a consistent basis.
Obviously the most noted thing here is what salary Barnes will be looking for come this summer. “He’s earned a raise from his current $1.2 million salary with his play of the Clippers this season” is a factual statement. And it’s relatively low for a player of his talent, fitting the trending 3-and-D mold that’s becoming vastly important in this league, but age and consistency are problematic here when deciding how much and how long you want Barnes’ services.