As the trade deadline is only days away, so much continues to be made of all the potential trades involving Andrew, Lamar and Ron. Many argue that the Lakers don’t need talent. They need energy. They need motivation. For many Lakers fans there’s no urgency of either until the end of April. Regardless of what happens between now and then, one thing is for certain – it will be nice to get Matt Barnes back in the rotation.
Understandably so, his recovery has gotten a little bit lost in the midst of all the trade rumors. Being his first season in LA, it’s sometimes difficult to understand and fully appreciate his contributions to the team. Before his injury, he only played in 37 games and averaged 20.8 minutes per.
According to Matt’s Twitter account, rehab has been coming along nicely, and he expects to be back on the bench in early March. As of March 1st, there will only be 21 regular season games left on the schedule. Given that he is already a member of the team and familiar with Phil’s system, this already puts him ahead on the learning curve once reinserted into the lineup. He as been watching enormous amounts of footage and is even taking time to learn the guard positions, in case the need should arise.
I am a Southern California native, but a current Arizona resident. I was living here when Matt played in Phoenix. I was able to see him on a near-nightly basis. While his overall numbers increased across the board, his major contribution to the Suns came in the form of hustle and passion. Matt is a high-character guy. He learns quick. He adapts well. When the Suns were still in the hunt for a playoff spot in 2009, Matt addressed the team privately to share his experience of making an unexpected playoff run while a member of the Golden State Warriors in 2007 – the year they eliminated the #1 seed Mavericks. He was not a captain, but still highly respected in the locker room.