OAKLAND -- Harrison Barnes still has eight games before he reaches the halfway point of his first season with the Warriors, but as far as he's concerned, his rookie phase is long over.
"I wouldn't call myself a rookie anymore," he said Monday at the team's practice facility. "Probably after the first 10-15 games, I started to get comfortable and I felt like I knew what I was doing as far as defensive rotations and such."
The question that remains is what Barnes might have in store in the second half now that he has his NBA feet under him.
So far, as the seventh pick in last year's draft, the 6-foot-8 small forward has done pretty much what's been expected. He has started every game, he's seventh in the
In other words, Barnes almost certainly has done enough to earn a spot in the NBA Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Weekend next month, but that individual goal and other personal goals are the furthest thing from his mind, as you would expect from a player groomed for two years in the University of North Carolina basketball mentality.
"My only goal is to win games and keep pushing toward the playoffs," he said. "I just want to keep contributing every day. Some nights you're going to play a lot of minutes, some nights less, but it doesn't really matter as long as the team
It's around this point in the season that rookies frequently hit a wall, but Barnes is showing few signs of physical or mental wear.
He's been a double-figure scorer in four straight games and had a terrific all-around game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Oracle Arena last week -- 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists along with some stellar defensive work.
Barnes, 20, gives the strong sense that his offensive ceiling is a lot higher than what he's shown so far, but for now, he's happy enough to demonstrate that he can be a well-rounded player.
"Everybody wants to be known as a player who plays both ends, because that's what's going to keep you in this league a long time," he said. "Athleticism, all that show and flash, that's good for the fans. But being able to guard the basketball and create things offensively, that's what's going to keep you around. The main thing I try to do is add something positive to every game I play."
"This is not a rivalry until one of us separates ourselves, or both of us separate ourselves, from everybody else," Jackson said. "Neither team has done anything, contrary to popular belief."
Guard Stephen Curry said the Warriors and Clippers might look more like a rivalry now because both teams are winning
"It's a different situation than when the Clippers and Golden State have met in the past, so it's going to mean a lot more," he said. "We should just have fun playing. We're not going to get too sensitive getting beat by (26), and I'm sure they felt the same way when we beat them at home pretty handily."
The two teams will play their final regular-season game at Oracle on Jan. 21.
Asked if Jack was hurting Saturday night against Los Angeles after playing 24 minutes and shooting just 3 for 9 from the floor, Jackson wouldn't say.
"We're a no-excuse team," he said. "If you're on the floor, you're fine."
It has been speculated undrafted guard Kent Bazemore might be a casualty, but the Warriors like him and wouldn't gain much against the threshold by waiving him. Bazemore is owed roughly $300,000 for the rest of the season.
Memphis (22-10) at Warriors (22-11), 7:30 p.m. CSNBA