Cuban: Barnes is Mavs' 'most cerebral player' since Nash

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Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Harrison Barnes appears to have earned the admiration and respect of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

The Dallas-based billionaire spoke highly of his starting small forward in a recent interview, comparing the 25-year-old's intelligence to one of the greatest players in franchise history.

"(Barnes) is probably the most cerebral player we have had here since Steve Nash," Cuban told Dalton Trigg of MavsMoneyball.com. "Like Steve, he is self-aware, contextually aware, smart and works his ass off to be great. HB, like Steve before him, saw his role change when he came to the Mavs and has adjusted his training - physically, skills-wise, and mentally - to improve at that new role. It's not easy. But he puts everything into getting there."

After being primarily used as a spot-up shooter with the Golden State Warriors, Barnes proved he could carry an offense during his first season in Dallas. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged a career-high 19.2 points per game in 2016-17, while being used as the team's No. 1 scoring option for much of the campaign.

With the Mavericks currently embracing a youth movement, it seems likely that Barnes will once again be relied upon heavily during the upcoming season.