Rondae Hollis-Jefferson A Little Ahead Of Himself


Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is yet to play a single NBA minute, but the Brooklyn Nets rookie is already prepared to embrace some veteran responsibilities.

In an interview last Friday with Sports Illustrated, Hollis-Jefferson alluded to his desire to take on a leadership role in Brooklyn, but not once he’s made a name for himself in the league however.
Next season:

Basketball, you got to show that you can be out there. Show that you can do those things. If you show those things, no matter who you are, no matter how old you are, people follow good things and I feel with that, on top of that, I got a good smile and I got a good personality that they will follow. And I’m willing to do what it takes to help, make it easier for everybody. So it should be a smooth transition, I believe.

You have to applaud the kid for his openly ambitious nature.

Yes, it’s always great to have players with positive personalities and a willingness to do whatever it takes – players that want others to follow their lead.

Yes, with rosters that are peanut-sized, NBA players are constantly put to the test to prove that they are worthy of the uniform they wear every night.

Yet, at the same time, no.

No, it does matter who you are and how old you are in this league.

No, a rookie simply cannot expect to come in and automatically attain the respect of the veterans surrounding him.

No, having likeable qualities such as hard work ethic and an upbeat attitude isn’t enough for a rookie to immediately assume a role that must be earned over time.

All you have to do is look at the complexities of the All Star Game to understand this reality. As great as LeBron James was in his rookie season over a decade ago, he was not named to the Eastern Conference All Star team. Reigning Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins was no different last season, as he was not selected to represent the West in the All Star Game either.

If fans need to see more from outstanding rookies just to be voted into an exhibition game, one could only imagine what veterans demand from incoming rookies.

An NBA locker room is jam-packed with grown men. No matter what a rookie that was enveloped in hype accomplished prior to entering the league, those men that have worked their tails off to stick around won’t look to follow any rookie.

Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Jarrett Jack and other Nets veterans are no different.

To Hollis-Jefferson’s credit, he never used the words “leadership” or “leader,” but it’s certainly easy to interpret his comments as such.

Once again, give the kid credit for being so determined before being blindsided by his first NBA screen. It’s a sign that he has a bright future so long as he can match his ambition with his talent.

But he needs to realize that just like Karl-Anthony Towns and the rest of the 2015 NBA Draft class, it’s back to Square One.

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