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Criticism of Scottie Barnes' Rookie of the Year desire unfair

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Some fans weren't too happy about Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes saying he wants to win Rookie of the Year. They felt it showed a level of selfishness, which couldn't be further from the truth. Listen to the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: And I think--

JOSH LEWENBERG: People were so ticked off about his comments the other day about Rookie of the Year. Did you see that as well?

AMIT MANN: I didn't, no.

JOSH LEWENBERG: I got a lot of--

AMIT MANN: I didn't see it.

JOSH LEWENBERG: I got a lot of react-- so he was asked about whether Rookie of the Year is important to him or not. And he was honest. Like, he said-- well, first of all, he didn't just like bring it up unprompted. He was asked about Rookie of the Year and if it's important to him.

So he said, yeah, it's important to me. Like, that's a goal that I've had since I was drafted, and it could be important in establishing my legacy early in my career. And that's something that everyone should shoot for, or something-- I'm paraphrasing, obviously.


JOSH LEWENBERG: But-- and I don't know. I just saw so much negative reaction to that on Twitter of people taking issue with it--


JOSH LEWENBERG: --like, oh, well-- people wanted the cliche of, like, oh, not important to me. All that's important to me is winning. Well, first of all, it's not mutually exclusive. You can want to win Rookie of the Year while also prioritize winning. In fact, the two kind of go hand-in-hand. But also, are we really going to kill these athletes for the cliches? And then the second they veer off of the cliche, we're like, well, where's the cliche?

AMIT MANN: Exactly. It's competitive spirit, too.

JOSH LEWENBERG: I like it, so--

AMIT MANN: Yeah, exactly.

JOSH LEWENBERG: That's why I say--

AMIT MANN: It's competitive spirit, though.

JOSH LEWENBERG: --I don't know if he's going to get the Rookie of the Year, but if he's the best screener of the class, then at least that's something. Give him a trophy.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, I guess so. I think ESPN got it wrong with that one. He's much more than that. Obviously, it's a great rookie class, one of the best ones I think we're going to remember.

JOSH LEWENBERG: Really good.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, but I think, I mean Evan Mobley seems like he's going to have have that locked up. But a credit to Evan Mobley. And that's just how good we are looking at. We're seeing players who are going to be the future of the NBA to some degree between Cade and him and Evan and, you know, Josh Giddey. Players like this, we're going to be talking about them for 10 years, 10, 15 years. That's how good they are.

I think you want a player to be competitive, right? And that is a testament to how competitive Scottie is. He wants to be Rookie of the Year. He is part of the rookie class. That is only given to one player in the class. And so you want him to be wanting that award. And if we're going to kill him for wanting to be Rookie of the Year, then do we kill [? Fred ?] for saying that he wants to be an All-Star? Because that is another-- that's another individual award.

And they also do kind of go exclusive with-- exclusive with one another. You win games, you might be an All-Star. You win games, you might be Rookie of the Year. It's kind of how it is.

JOSH LEWENBERG: Fred was the first guy that came to mind, first of all, when I saw that comment, but then also when I saw the reaction to it because I think with Fred, like, maybe earlier in his career, it caught people off guard. Now people are used to him saying stuff like that. But I mean, obviously as a member of the media, I love it because I don't want the cliche, I want the honest answer. And Fred is the king of it, the king of it.

So-- and I also think, like-- I think this is a great system and a great situation for Barnes to be in for a lot of reasons. But one of those things-- and clearly, he's he's paying attention, and clearly, he's fitting in really well.

It's like Nick Nurse when he was on the-- it was the JJ Redick podcast, right? When he was talking about his coaching philosophy, he was saying, like, our goal is to get players individual success, accolades, whatever it is-- the big contract, the big award, as much money as they can get, because that means that we're doing our jobs in terms of development. But it also means that-- like, those things don't happen-- the contracts don't happen and the awards don't happen unless we're winning.

So, like, he gets it. And I don't have a problem with it at all. I was shocked that people did. Shocked. But it's Twitter. So what do you want?

AMIT MANN: I know.

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