Michael Jordan is famous for using even the smallest of slights as motivation to propel him towards becoming the GOAT, and RJ Barrett should start emulating MJ by using the results of this year’s annual rookie survey as fuel for a burning desire to achieve greatness.
Going by the results of the 2019-20 rookie survey, which were unveiled earlier this week, Barrett’s peers don’t seem to believe he’s about to take the NBA by storm. The survey gives us insight into important information such as which of their peers the other rookies think is going to have the best career, or which first-year man might be the sharpest shooter.
While Barrett did receive a couple of props from his peers — he tied for third with five percent of the vote for who will be the 2019-20 Kia Rookie of the Year and was tied for fourth with five percent of the vote for which rookie will have the best career — he didn’t receive any votes at all for many of the categories.
In fact, of the 10 total questions posed to the rookie class, Barrett could have reasonably been one of the answers for seven, and of those seven he was only listed twice, in the categories noted above. Barrett wasn’t even among the “others receiving votes” when it comes to questions like ‘which rookie is the most athletic?’ or ‘which rookie is the best playmaker?’
Side note: Ignas Brazdeikis was among the “others receiving votes” for the question of ‘which rookie is the best shooter?’ Look out, league. There’s a new Iggy in town, and he’s so good at shooting that he received some votes from his fellow rookies on this question — although he received less than four percent of the vote.
Anyway, back to Barrett. Haven’t we all wanted to Be Like Mike? Well, Barrett actually has a chance, seeing as he’s in the NBA and all. If MJ were in Barrett’s place, it’s safe to say he’d be steaming mad about what his fellow rookies appear to think of him; just watch MJ’s Hall of Fame induction speech if you want to see the killer instinct that drove him.
Now is the time for Barrett — who less than a year ago was the consensus top prospect before being overshadowed by the scoring, playmaking and shoe-busting abilities of former Duke teammate and current New Orleans Pelican Zion Williamson — to start taking stock of all those who don’t believe he’s about to become the Next Great Player.
Barrett only received a 78 rating on the upcoming NBA2K 2020? Perhaps a few standout showings that contribute to early season victories for the Knicks will convince whoever determines those ratings that it’s time to push Barrett above 80.
People are still clowning on Barrett for his first couple of Summer League games? Force those people to watch this best of Barrett compilation from Las Vegas.
This random guy wrote a blog post saying Barrett is not an elite prospect? Shove that opinion down his throat by putting together 30 points and 10 assists on opening night against the San Antonio Spurs.
This isn’t an attempt to convince you that Barrett is the next Michael Jordan, because such a concept is fundamentally impossible, since Barrett is his own individual human being. The science simply isn’t there. Barrett can, however, seek to mirror MJ’s fiery competitiveness by internalizing all the negativity, including some that might not even actually exist, and using it to push himself towards greatness.
If the idea of Barrett doing his best Air Jordan impersonation sounds ridiculous to you, consider the fact that Jordan is one of three players Barrett recently mentioned as people he watches film on:
”I like to watch LeBron [James], James Harden and Michael Jordan, because Michael Jordan is just the greatest, and I love the way that LeBron and James Harden play,” Barrett said. “They can score and pass.”