Matt Barnes is the type that everyone loves to hate.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
Matt Barnes talks trash every opportunity he gets. He annoys opponents. He gets physical. He's not necessarily an enforcer, but he is a defender.
Because of that attitude, his opponents are not exactly the biggest fans of his. Most players simply don't enjoy playing against Matt Barnes. Why would they? If if he's the one defending you, your thoughts tend to change.
Now with his new team, the Grizzlies, arguably the biggest rival of his former squad, the Clippers, Barnes is teaching that to those who surround him in his new environment. Here's more from the Grizzlies' official website:
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Barnes should fit in just fine with one of the most physical and defensive-minded teams in the NBA.
Barnes averaged 10.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season with the Clippers.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks to a promotional event that I hosted at the Memphis Zoo with Mike Conley. After some small talk about things like titanium plates being inserted into one’s face, the conversation turned to Matt Barnes.
“What can you tell me about Matt Barnes?” I asked.
“Well, he and I have the same stylist,” Conley replied. “He’s actually a pretty good guy.”
“The kind of guy you love to have as a teammate, but hate to play against?”
That makes Matt Barnes the current captain of the All Bill Laimbeer Team – guys that you absolutely hate as an opponent because they get under your skin, talking smack non-stop and playing with a physical edge that rides the line between rough and dirty. But, if this guy is on your team? You absolutely love him because he’s going to have everyone’s back and will do whatever it takes to win.