OAKLAND -– Immediately after his promising rookie season two years ago, Harrison Barnes might have penciled himself into the Warriors starting lineup.
It made sense.
He was solid as a rookie, so he might be even better in his second season.
The Warriors, however, had other plans. They acquired big-ticket free agent Andre Iguodala, who instantly became their starting small forward.
Pushed to the bench, it was as if Barnes left pieces of his game -– and most of his confidence -– on the floor.
He's still searching, and so are the Warriors.
Last Sunday, with Iguodala possibly affected but not sidelined by a broken nose sustained last Thursday, Barnes was inserted in the starting lineup. He'll start again when the Warriors face the Nuggets on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
"It went great the other night," Kerr said on Wednesday. "Andre was fantastic again in practice today . . . so I'll do that again."
Though Thursday's game is something of an arranged homecoming for Barnes, a native Ames, Iowa, that's not why Kerr is sticking with his plan.
"I would start him anyway, just because I want to get a look at these particular lineups that we saw the other night," the coach said.
The purpose of the move is to get the most out of both players. Iguodala is versatile enough to be used in multiple ways. He is an initiator can maximize the talents of any teammate. Barnes is more complementary, benefiting from playing off others.
"It's no secret that playing with Steph and Klay makes things a little easier,'' Barnes said, "especially when they get off to hot starts like they did last game."
As for getting his second consecutive start despite a healthy Iguodala, Barnes is not ready to read beyond the surface.
"I'm just trying to take strides every day," he said. "It's preseason, so I'm not putting a lot of stock into that. I'm just trying to go out there, trying to develop a system, whether it's the second unit, the first unit or the third unit or whoever I'm with."