Of course Harrison Barnes can be rookie of the year—this is America, anything is possible. However, is it likely? Ehh. And I say that with the utmost respect for the Tar Heel alum. There’s a reason behind the diminished probability of a rookie of the year award: he’s on a pretty good team.
Golden State selected Barnes seventh in the 2012 NBA Draft and although the Warriors finished last season with a 23-43 record, the consensus is that they’re quickly on the rise. Big man Andrew Bogut and former Davidson standout, Stephen Curry, are coming off injury-plagued seasons. David Lee and Carl Landry are both still young and bring a lot of size to the front line. Harrison Barnes’ versatility, size, and mid-range game fits in well to that Golden State system.
So, will he be rookie of the year? Not likely. People like to root for the underdog and what team could be more of an underdog than the Charlotte Bobcats or New Orleans Hornets? There may be an east coast bias at work here, but the Hornets’ Anthony Davis is a big fish in a small pond and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the draft pick of a new coach’s system in Charlotte. There’s no system for them to fit in. Those two rookies are the new system. They’re going to build around.
This means that they will most likely be the focal point of the team’s sagging offense, leading to padded stats—but probably not a dramatic improvement in win totals. In the NBA, big statistical numbers is the royal flush of trump cards for rookie of the year voters. I just don’t think Harrison Barnes will see enough of the ball to throw up huge numbers.
That’s part of the Harrison’s greatness though, he can find solid numbers and do the intangibles for this young team. He’ll help where it counts though: wins and losses. You know what I say? Let Uni-brow Davis go home with Rookie of the Year—we sure won’t be seeing him square off against Harrison in the playoffs.