Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and the Problems Of "Tools"
But to use a quote attributed to another Bay Area sports legend, "we're not selling jeans here." Billy Beane, as quoted in "Moneyball", is telling his scouts that he cares far more about what potential acquisitions and draft picks produce than how well they fill out a uniform, and Jackson would be wise to take note.
Despite his high school pedigree, the case for Barnes breaks down fairly quickly under careful observation. What looks at first glance like a prototypical wreckingball two guard out of the Mitch Richmond mold is revealed to be something else entirely, and far less valuable: a tweener. Barnes is not by any stretch a smooth ballhandler, Warrior's blogger Evan Zamir recently compared his open floor dribbling akin to watching some one "try to bounce a salmon'. So if he can't really dribble, he's not a two guard. But he's not a new age 3-and-D small forward either. He has neither the extremely long arms of the Trevor Ariza or Kawhi Leonard types nor is he a particularly smooth catch-and-shoot player. Barnes is a respectable shooter from deep, but has a relatively slow release and not much elevation on his deep looks, meaning he requires time, space and an on target pass for accuracy.
Green, on the other hand, looks like the guy who always seems to be on the team that wins for an hour straight in a pickup game and you're not sure how. He can't really shoot, (his TS is .477 for the season which is actually a substantial improvement from last year, though his 33% from 3 and penchant for timely buckets in big spots means you can't simply ignore him on the perimeter), and turns the ball over a fair amount.
On the other hand, even if you knew nothing of any advanced metrics, you could intuit that Green can defend. Given his body type and offensive stats, he simply wouldn't be in the league if he couldn't. But it goes further than simply being a competent defender. Green can passably defend 4 positions on the floor, and having this sort of versatility while not being completely useless on offense is a huge boon towards winning the matchup game - Green's versatility, not unlike though to a lesser degree than that of Andre Iguodala allows the Warriors to play the game at a pace and style of their choosing rather than have their lineup dictated by the opponent. (The fact that Jackson routinely squanders this advantage is one of the reasons he might be one of Golden State's main weaknesses heading into the playoffs.)
But advanced metrics also think highly of Green defensively, (a solid positive in defensive RAPM per Talking Practice, despite his status as a second year player hurting him slightly under that methodology.) He's an extremely solid rebounder for a player who spends most of his time on the wing, and is second to Shane Battier in both percentage of shots contested at the rim and overall rim protection value among wings (though both have spent time at PF in small lineups).
To make a long story short, Green's defensive value and versatility combined with Barnes' inability to function as a primary scorer with Golden State's 2nd unit mean that Green has been a far superior player this season. Many take this to mean that Barnes just needs a change of scenery and/or role to reach his "true" talents. While there is definitely something to this in terms of Jackson asking Barnes to become a post up or isolation scorer, it also reeks of excuse making for a guy with such highly touted "talent".
Here's an example of Barnes in what should be an advantageous position - catching the ball at the arc with Kyle Korver closing out on him: