Matt Barnes will not wow anybody on the stat sheet, but the fact of the matter is that he is an extremely valuable piece to the Lakers’ puzzle. Especially considering the way the Lakers have played recently, as they suffered back-to-back losses against Charlotte and Cleveland. The Lakers have been lethargic and uninterested; luckily help is on the way.
Barnes tore his lateral meniscus in a Jan. 7 game against the Hornets, and since that point, the Lakers have faced their fair share of ups and downs. The story of the 2010-11 Lakers revolves around inconsistency and boredom with regular season tilts. These are areas that Barnes can help solve.
One thing that Barnes will bring to the Lakers is effort – perhaps the one thing the Lakers need when they often don’t seem interested in some games. Barnes will do all of the little things, whether it be playing lockdown defense, diving for loose ball or crashing the offensive boards. The lack of these kinds of effort plays has been part of the reason that the Lakers have been so inconsistent since Barnes’ injury.
Barnes’ effort will not just end with him though, as his type of effort is contagious. As Barnes makes his comeback expect more effort and focus out of each and every Lakers player in response to his energy.
Barnes will also give the Lakers the chip on their collective shoulder, which they desperately need. Whether you love or hate Barnes, he is the type of player who you would love to have on your team. We all remember his confrontation with Kobe last season, which proved that Barnes is not afraid of anything or anyone. Barnes will without a doubt be a valuable asset to the Lakers come playoff time, as he could potentially get into the head of great scorers, such as Kevin Durant or LeBron James.
Barnes’ 7.4 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game may not look like much on the stat sheet, but the intangibles he will bring back to the Lakers will be a sight for sore eyes.