The Dallas Mavericks are 1-5. Yes, if you still feel inclined, please proceed to the nearest bunker.
You can be assured, however, that despite the Mavericks’ annoying climb to their first win of the 2016-17 campaign, the problem has not been Harrison Barnes.
That’s the lone positive Dallas can take away through these first six games, and that’s more than fine.
Barnes’ career-high 34 points and eight rebounds in Dallas’ 86-75 overtime win Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks was another eye-popping performance by the Mavericks’ new $94 million man. It was the second time this season Barnes eclipsed his career-best point total, and he’s been the main reason why Dallas has been competitive (albeit, the record says otherwise) in this early season.
Entering Tuesday, Barnes is averaging 20.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in 38.5 minutes per game, while shooting 49 percent from the floor. All, thus far, are career highs. The drop-off is coming, unless this really is the Harrison Barnes Renaissance, then we are not worthy.
Nevertheless, these numbers are absurdly good and are worth mentioning. Here are some other mind-boggling numbers from Barnes’ hot start.
104 - Barnes’ total number of field goal attempts
Any other player, say a LeBron James or Kevin Durant, could put up this many shots in three games, if need be. But Barnes has never taken more than 700 shots in a season. Since the 2013-14 season, where Barnes took 679 shots, the shot attempts have dwindled from 656 to 633.
In short, he’s taken 15.3 percent of 679 shots through six games. At this rate, he will be close to matching that mark by the All-Star break.
68.4 - Barnes’ shooting percentage with 5 minutes remaining in 4th quarter/overtime
Early numbers indicate the Mavericks can rely on Barnes when they need a basket in crunch time.
Part of it has to do with Dirk Nowitzki’s ailing Achilles and the fact that Dallas has no choice but to get the ball to Barnes, but it’s one thing if he’s not making shots.
It’s another if Barnes has taken 19 shots and made 13 of them. It also speaks volumes that only three attempts Barnes has taken in this stretch have been 3-pointers.
This is how much Dallas relies on him: Barnes took 68 shots in 2014 with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter and overtime, the most of his career. He also shot 41.2 percent. The last two years, Barnes’ shooting percentage went up to 50 and 53.7 percent. But that was with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson being the late-game assassins they are.
If Barnes can be a go-to guy with the game on the line, even when Dirk finally heals up, Dallas’ bad luck with close games could be a distant memory.
32.8 - Percent of Barnes’ shots taken from 16 feet and greater
If this were Golden State, you’d think that would be Barnes’ attempts from 3-point range. In fact, the last two years, 32.8 percent of Barnes’ shots came from beyond the arc.
But much credit should go to Rick Carlisle for dialing up plays that get Barnes the ball from the top of the key, thus seeing what he can do with it. Whether it’s knocking down a face-up jumper or driving to the basket on Giannis Antetokounmpo with the game on the line, Barnes is getting great chances to score. He’s not someone who camps behind the 3-point line anymore.
As the season goes on, he’ll need to adjust to late double teams and more pressure once he touches the ball. Be happy, though. He’s making shots. That’s what matters, right now.
3 - Number of times Barnes made 10 or more shots in a game before signing with Dallas
Something about this screams absurd.
Yes, this is what happens when you’re relegated to be the fourth option on your team. The chances to put the round orange ball in the hoop thing become limited
But this is crazy. Barnes has two games this year where he’s made 13 shots, and shot 50 percent or better in both of them. The most baskets he made in one contest last year was nine. You have to go back two years prior to find the other two games in which Barnes made 10 or more shots.
It’s official: Barnes has done more in six games with Dallas than the first four years of his career.
OK, maybe not, but all of these numbers are encouraging signs for Barnes. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping up this type of production, or somewhat close to it.