NBA Experience: 9 Years
Contract Status: Free agent
2011-12 Averages: 7.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.0 apg, 22.9 mpg, 45% FG, 74% FT, 33% 3PT
For all we know we’ve seen the last of Matt Barnes in a Lakers uniform and if so he’ll have departed L.A. in unceremonious fashion. Barnes might not have been the difference maker the Lakers envisioned when they signed him but his high energy style of play will be missed…just like his jump shot in the playoffs.
Barnes has never been a great three point shooter but he developed a reputation as being reliable enough to hit open shots. That reputation took a big hit in the 2012 playoffs as Barnes went belly-up from deep. His poor postseason play overshadowed an otherwise productive season. At least productive in relation to how most of the Laker reserves played this year.
Nobody expected Barnes to fill the void left by Lamar Odom as L.A.’s sixth man but you’d have liked to have seen more consistency from the former UCLA Bruin. When he was on his game, playing that feisty brand of defense, slashing to the hoop and hitting the boards Barnes was invaluable. When he wasn’t in the flow of the game his minutes were more hollow than a wiffle ball bat.
The real issue for Barnes and his style of play relates more so to his age and his knee injury going back to his first year as a Laker. Plus you can’t overlook the fact it wasn’t until Ramon Sessions arrived that Barnes truly had a counterpart that complimented his game.
No matter the reasons his production, though solid, wasn’t nearly enough to help get the Lakers over the hump. Once an enemy of Laker fans the crowds at Staples came to appreciate Barnes for the effort he gives every time he steps on the court. It’s no wonder he keeps finding work in the NBA. Now he’s likely off to another stop on his career travels.