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Barnes should get chance to start for Warriors

The SportsXchange

Nobody will ever know if the Golden State Warriors prioritized need or went with the best available talent with the No. 7 pick of the draft.

That's because, as far as Golden State was concerned, North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes fit both bills when it came time for the club to make its lottery selection.

The leading scorer on a powerful Tar Heels team last season, Barnes joins a Warriors club with four set starters for 2012-13: point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guard Klay Thompson, power forward David Lee and center Andrew Bogut.

It's quite possible the two-year Carolina standout will be the fifth, although veterans Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush, should he re-sign with Golden State, also figure to be in the mix.

If there was any disappointment in the selection, it was that the Warriors would have preferred one or possibly even two other available small forwards. Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who went No. 2 to Charlotte, would have given Golden State the type of defensive stopper it coveted. And Syracuse's Dion Waiters, selected fourth by Cleveland, is considered to have far greater star potential than Barnes.

But the lanky perimeter threat and Festus Ezeli, a defensive-minded center selected by the Warriors with a pick (No. 30) acquired in-season from San Antonio, figure immediately into the club's grand scheme. Each could provide an important piece of insurance, with Rush possibly leaving in free agency and Bogut no sure thing following two injury-plagued seasons.
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