Los Angeles Lakers: meniscus

2010-11 Lakers report cards: Matt Barnes

May, 15, 2011
5/15/11
9:39
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
We continue our series of Lakers' report cards. Next up, the reserve forwards of note (which means no report cards for the sparingly used Derrick Caracter, Devin Ebanks, Joe Smith and Luke Walton).

Harry How/Getty Images
Before getting injured, Barnes was always in the middle of the action.



Matt Barnes was, for me, a prototypical case of expectations turned on their head. Before this season, memories that stood out included Barnes operating like a lunatic during the Golden State Warriors' upset of the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks in 2007. Or his ball fake at Kobe Bryant's face last season -- a hilarious, ridiculous bit of bravado. Or this "screen" set on Rafer Alston. Factor in how a player of his caliber had been unable to stick anywhere, and my perception of Barnes the person wasn't too favorable.

As it turns out, that was just Barnes' fire on the court. Away from the hardwood, the guy is almost jarringly soft spoken.

Similarly, I never realized the scope of Barnes' skill set until watching him on a regular basis. From the outset, I thought his ability to move without the ball and hit the offensive glass would fit well into the Lakers' system. But perhaps because he's always been labeled an "energy player," I figured his contributions would be more "hustle" oriented than anything tangible. Barnes revealed far more ability as a ball handler and play-maker than I ever would have guessed.

With all that in mind, it's only fitting he'd end up the biggest surprise of the season.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
22.3 5.6 1.3 34.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.9
AssistsK. Bryant 5.6
StealsR. Price 1.6
BlocksE. Davis 1.3