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.