Jackson beams over blossoming rookie Barnes

Jackson beams over blossoming rookie Barnes
April 3, 2013, 11:00 am
Share This Post

Harrison Barnes hasn't lit up his rookie year statistically, but the Warriors are a winning team when he starts. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Programming note: Warriors-Hornets can be seen tonight at 7:30 on CSN Plus. For channel listings in your area, click here.

The No. 7 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Barnes' contribution often flies under the radar. Considering his circumstances, that can be looked at as a good thing -- no other rookie on a playoff-contending team has played a role that Barnes has. He ranks third in minutes among all rookies and is the lone first-year player in the top-17 picked in his draft class who appears headed to the postseason.

"To me, he's first-team all-rookie and I wouldn't understand if he wasn't," Jackson said. "I would have to question the people who voted."

Jackson's rationale is easy to follow.

"The reason why is because we are ten games over .500 with this guy starting all season long," he said. "Disregard the numbers and understand the impact that he's had for this basketball team."

And if the numbers are included in Barnes' case for first-team all-rookie, they don't paint him as elite, but they don't hurt his case, either. He ranks fifth in scoring (9.3 ppg), 11th in rebounding (4.0 rpg), 10th in steals (49) and 10th in three-pointers made -- all numbers that would undoubtedly increase on a lesser team.

"Rookie year is all about a marathon, not a sprint," All-Star forward David Lee said. "You're going to have a five-game stretch where you feel like you can be an All-Star in the league and a five-game stretch where you feel like you're on the outside looking in. You have a lot to learn.

"What (Barnes has) been through both this year and his attitude and his work ethic have shown through."

The 2012 draft's No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Davis, will make his second appearance at Oracle Arena on Wednesday when the Warriors (42-32) look to complete a four-game season sweep of the lowly New Orleans Hornets (26-48). It would be the first season sweep of the Hornets since the 1995-96 season when Golden State took both games from the then-Charlotte Hornets, who featured Stephen Curry's father, Dell.

The game marks the beginning of a five-game road trip for the Hornets and the end of a five-game homestand for Golden State. New Orleans has won four of six, which includes wins against Boston, Memphis and Denver following a 93-72 loss to the Warriors on March 18.

With eight games left, Golden State's magic number to clinch a playoff spot sits at five. It has a one-game lead over Houston for the No. 6 spot and a 3 1/2 game cushion over the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers, which are tied at No. 8.