By Craig Kwasniewski
Ever look at what appears to be a hot chick from a distance only to see up close and think, "Yikes! Damn, what was I thinking?!?" Back in the day, we coined the phrase good from far, far from good. No matter what the situation the phrase always made me giggle.
Well the Matt Barnes era just might be the hoops version of that phrase... and I'm not laughing.
Barnes has been a Laker for a little over a month and we learned that: a) he's terrible at spelling (there's a difference between tweeting a few misspelled phrases being cutesy and a virtual bukake of grammar/spelling errors. I guarantee he can't spell facial... anyway) b) he's a little, how you say, "off" in the temper department (insert video of Matt trying to intimidate Kobe Bryant here) and c) he's already had a run in with the law (the abuse charges this week).
Now reports are saying that his girlfriend is denying all the accusations of abuse and that it seems the latest issue will blow over. But here's the problem, the preseason hasn't even started and I'm worried the Lakers signed an even crazier person than Ron Artest. In fact, now that Ron-Ron is fully embracing his therapy sessions, he appears to have controlled his outbursts to the point that he's gone to the level of marketing his craziness... which really means that he's not crazy at all.
Well, Matt Barnes is coming off as one crazy ass cat and I'm not even sure he knows he's crazy, which by definition means he's seriously crazy... and as a Lakers fan, that's crazy!
Here's where the good from far comes into play; I always liked Matt Barnes's game. He's got a decent three-point jumper, he's willing to do the little things on the floor, he'll always bring it on D and he appears to be a good soldier, someone you always want on your squad.
But then here comes the first red flag. Despite all these "great teammate" traits, he never stays long with a team. If he's that valuable BELIEVE ME teams would find a way to keep him. Yet he continues to bounce around. He was a quality Nellie guy in Golden State, fitting in perfectly with the Boom Dizzle-Captain Jack era, then he bounced to Phoenix during Shaq's one full season there and then Orlando. All good teams that never quite made it over the hump, but it wasn't because of anything Barnes did. In fact, as Bill Simmons would say, he's not a guy who takes anything off the table, but he doesn't bring anything TO the table either. He's the perfect 8 thru 12 guy off the bench. Yet he never sticks around.
So when LA signed him a weeks ago, I originally liked the idea of a guy like Barnes. He and Ron-Ron would make the perfect platoon defense against the likes of LeBron, Pierce, Melo and KD. We're talking 12 fouls of intense non-stop defense. Constant pressure that eventually would wear down some of the best offensive forwards int the NBA.... Good from far.
Then the far from good came into play. Can the Lakers deal with two semi-crazed guys? Kobe's will and Phil Jackson's patience might be the only two traits/people in the NBA capable of dealing with and Ron Artest and Matt Barnes. I still believe he's a perfect fit for this Lakers squad, but I'll be honest I'm a little uneasy.