Thursday , Jul , 23 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Orlando signs Matt Barnes, but wants ‘The Mohawk’

Such ‘swag’ could benefit the Magic. Recently, the club lost Hedo Turkoglu, a clutch closer and leader, to Toronto through free agency. Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis aren’t capable of filling the emotional void, while Dwight Howard is developing a leader. Barnes won’t take big shots, but will bring fire and intensity. Stats won’t count for much with Orlando. Sure, he’ll chip-in with near double figure points, some rebounds, assists, and defense. Instead of numbers, Van Gundy will want Barnes to bring toughness and an identity to a squad that after making the NBA Finals won’t get much respect …


Orlando signs Matt Barnes, but wants 'The Mohawk'


They signed Matt Barnes, but want ‘The Mohawk’.

In the latest episode of the Eastern Conference arms race, the Orlando Magic inked Barnes to a two-year contract. However, the club is hoping the versatile swing will rediscover his form from the 2006-07 Golden State Warriors when he had spiked hair.

Barnes, at best, is a spot-starter or solid back-up, while The Mohawk was a key part in eighth seeded We Believe upsetting the Dallas Mavericks. Yes, Barnes is good. The Mohawk, for a stretch of 2007, was great.

 How do the Magic get their new addition to tap into his past?

Well, Coach Stan Van Gundy has to show confidence by using him in a steady role. In 2006-07, Golden State bench boss Don Nelson got the most out of Barnes by giving him consistent minutes. Sometimes he started. Sometimes he came off the bench. But he always got important minutes.

Nelson and the Warriors were rewarded with a solid player. Barnes did everything. He stretched opposing defenses with his range. He handled the dirty work. And he often defended the other team’s top perimeter player. Most importantly, Barnes exuded confidence, which was amazing considering he was nearly out the league before the Warriors.

Such ‘swag’ could benefit the Magic. Recently, the club lost Hedo Turkoglu, a clutch closer and leader, to Toronto through free agency. Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis aren’t capable of filling the emotional void, while Dwight Howard is developing into a leader. Barnes won’t take big shots, but will bring fire and intensity.

His stats won’t count for much with Orlando. Sure, he’ll chip-in with near double figure points, some rebounds, assists, and defense. But instead of numbers, Van Gundy will want Barnes to bring toughness and an identity to a squad that after making the NBA Finals won’t get much respect.

 

(Barnes’ highlights from the 2006-07 season.)

 Barnes is a nice player. The Magic would be better off with ‘The Mohawk’.

What impact will Barnes have in Orlando? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of CharleyMarley.