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OAKLAND – Warriors forward Harrison Barnes, who has been mired in a prolonged slump, received a piece of good, and perhaps unexpected, news on Tuesday.
The second-year forward was among 18 first- and second-year players invited to participate in the annual Rising Stars Challenge featuring NBA rookies and sophomores on Friday, Feb. 14 at New Orleans Arena.
Asked about the possibility of joining All-Star Weekend festivities during an interview on Monday, Barnes paused and pondered before delivering an answer.
"Oooh, I'm just trying to take it game by game," he said with a chuckle. "That's a little ways out. I haven't really put too much thought into that stuff. If it happens, that's great."
Barnes, who was voted a first-team member of the NBA All-Rookie team, is averaging 10.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He's shooting 41.7 from the field, just under 37 percent in December and January.
Asked to rate his season thus far, Barnes was honest.
"That's a tough question," he said. "Obviously, personally, probably not that high."
He added that the Warriors are doing reasonably well, which surely was a factor in his invitation to New Orleans. The Risings Stars are chosen through a vote of the league's assistant coaches.
The actual rosters, a blend of rookies and sophomores on each side, will be announced on Feb. 6, after which fans will be allowed to vote for starters through online balloting.