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NBA Podcast: Did Andrew Wiggins already win the Rookie of the Year race?

But the Utah Jazz may still send a spoiler to represent them as part of the Rookie teams!

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

It is the middle of January right now, and while 68 new rookies have played last least one second in the NBA it appears as thought Andrew Wiggins has already run away with the rookie of the year race. It was assumed so after Jabari Parker had a season ending injury after only playing in 25 games. But it is somewhat confirmed now after Wiggins has gone for 20+ points in 9 of his last 11 games.

Andrew may win in one of the most uncontested ROY races despite the 2014 NBA Draft being lauded as the successor to the 2003 draft, that itself the successor to the 1984 draft. It's only January, but the lack of impact rookies this season has been noted by many observers. Perhaps that's an issue about how players are drafted now, though. Take for example Dante Exum. The Utah Jazz drafted him for who he was to be in 3 seasons, not who he was on draft night. Naturally we'll have to wait and see how these players change, grow, and thrive over time. But right now the 2014 class appears to be Wiggins, and everyone else.

Phil Naessens had me to hit cleanup on his show (which also features a lot of basketball talk about the Memphis Grizzlies (Kevin Lipe, SB Nation), Portland Trail Blazers (Dave Deckhard, SB Nation), and NBA trades (Matt Moore, CBS). My part starts off at the 45:14 section. Listen to it here, or just listen to it below:

Personally, I think the ROY race is done, but you have to look at who are going to be named All Rookie1st and 2nd teams. I assume that Jabari will not make it, and Wiggins will. So that's 9/10 spots left. It's not done by position, but I think the front runners will be (in no order):

  1. Wiggins (MIN), Noel (PHI), Payton (ORL), McDaniels (PHI), and LaVine (MIN)
  2. Mirotic (CHI), Smart (BOS), Bogdanovic (BKN), Papanikolaou (HOU), and Nurkic (DEN)

If you look at the stats you see that I go with the players who play the most. If you play more you a) get bigger numbers, and b) are seen more. And the people who vote for these thinks don't know everything about every team or player. They'll go for the easy picks. They don't care about low pace teams that feature pass first guards.

Rookie Tm Pos Draft Age G MPG PPG FGA FG% 3PT% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG BARPS /min
1 Andrew Wiggins MIN 2 1 '14 19 37 32.7 14.7 12.7 42.3% 38.7% 72.9% 4.2 1.7 1.1 0.5 22.1 0.677
2 Jabari Parker MIL 3 2 '14 19 25 29.5 12.3 10.5 49.0% 25.0% 69.7% 5.5 1.7 1.2 0.2 21.0 0.710
3 Nerlens Noel PHI 5 6 '13 20 35 30.3 7.8 7.9 42.5% -- 49.4% 7.1 1.6 1.5 1.5 19.5 0.642
4 Elfrid Payton ORL 1 10 '14 20 42 26.4 7.0 7.3 40.0% 21.1% 51.1% 3.6 5.3 1.4 0.2 17.5 0.663
5 K.J. McDaniels PHI 2 32 '14 21 37 26.1 9.3 7.9 41.0% 30.9% 76.9% 3.8 1.4 0.9 1.5 16.8 0.643
6 Nikola Mirotic CHI 3 23 '11 23 40 18.3 8.2 5.9 41.5% 36.8% 77.1% 5.0 1.1 0.6 0.7 15.6 0.855
7 Zach LaVine MIN 1 13 '14 19 34 24.3 8.6 8.1 40.4% 24.6% 83.3% 2.3 3.6 0.9 0.1 15.5 0.638
8 Jusuf Nurkic DEN 5 16 '14 20 26 14.5 6.9 5.7 48.0% 0.0% 67.9% 5.3 0.7 0.8 1.3 15.0 1.032
9 Elijah Millsap UTA 2 61 '14 27 5 24.0 5.6 6.2 32.3% 46.2% 50.0% 3.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 13.2 0.550
10 Marcus Smart BOS 1 6 '14 20 24 21.4 6.5 5.5 39.4% 34.9% 68.8% 2.3 2.8 1.1 0.1 12.9 0.601
11 Kostas Papanikolaou HOU 3 48 '12 24 30 21.5 5.0 5.5 34.5% 30.1% 68.8% 3.3 2.3 0.8 0.3 11.7 0.545
12 Bojan Bogdanovic BKN 3 31 '11 25 38 22.3 7.3 6.6 41.8% 30.5% 86.8% 2.4 0.7 0.5 0.1 11.2 0.501
13 Tarik Black LAL 4 61 '14 23 29 16.0 4.8 3.5 55.9% 0.0% 55.6% 5.3 0.4 0.3 0.1 10.9 0.681
14 Shabazz Napier MIA 1 24 '14 23 28 20.5 5.5 4.3 42.1% 37.3% 72.2% 2.2 2.0 0.9 0.1 10.6 0.516
15 Aaron Gordon ORL 4 4 '14 19 11 14.7 5.8 3.9 58.1% 50.0% 66.7% 3.0 0.6 0.3 0.5 10.3 0.698
16 Rodney Hood UTA 3 23 '14 22 22 18.2 5.3 5.3 31.6% 27.7% 72.7% 2.3 1.3 0.4 0.3 9.5 0.525
17 P.J. Hairston CHA 2 26 '14 22 28 15.3 5.8 6.1 32.7% 31.2% 83.3% 2.3 0.5 0.5 0.5 9.5 0.621
18 Jerami Grant PHI 3 39 '14 20 23 16.1 4.4 4.0 34.8% 30.8% 58.8% 2.8 0.5 0.6 0.8 9.1 0.566
19 Dante Exum UTA 1 5 '14 19 39 18.6 4.9 4.6 38.1% 31.8% 62.1% 1.4 1.9 0.5 0.2 8.8 0.472
20 Cleanthony Early NYK 3 34 '14 23 13 14.8 5.1 5.1 37.9% 37.9% 50.0% 1.8 0.8 0.6 0.2 8.5 0.578
21 Joe Ingles UTA 2 61 '14 27 39 17.9 3.5 3.4 40.2% 26.3% 61.5% 2.1 2.1 0.8 0.2 8.5 0.473
22 Jordan Clarkson LAL 1 46 '14 22 19 11.6 4.7 3.8 41.7% 41.7% 75.8% 1.5 0.7 0.5 0.1 7.5 0.643
23 James Ennis MIA 3 50 '13 24 35 13.8 3.8 2.9 40.8% 31.4% 84.1% 2.3 0.7 0.5 0.3 7.4 0.538
24 Travis Wear NYK 3 61 '14 24 33 12.8 4.2 4.2 42.4% 34.8% 84.6% 1.8 0.8 0.3 0.2 7.2 0.558
25 Kyle Anderson SAS 3 30 '14 21 26 13.0 2.7 3.1 36.3% 27.3% 64.3% 2.5 1.1 0.5 0.3 7.1 0.546
26 Cory Jefferson BKN 4 60 '14 24 17 10.6 3.8 3.4 43.9% 20.0% 60.0% 2.4 0.4 0.1 0.4 6.9 0.656
27 JaKarr Sampson PHI 3 61 '14 21 32 11.5 3.7 3.1 45.5% 24.2% 55.9% 1.9 0.8 0.2 0.3 6.9 0.596
28 Furkan Aldemir PHI 4 53 '12 23 12 10.4 1.4 1.4 41.2% -- 75.0% 4.1 0.4 0.3 0.3 6.5 0.624
29 Spencer Dinwiddie DET 1 38 '14 21 8 11.1 3.0 3.6 31.0% 18.8% 100.0% 0.6 2.1 0.4 0.0 6.1 0.551
30 T.J. Warren PHX 3 14 '14 21 12 10.2 4.0 3.7 45.5% 40.0% 100.0% 1.1 0.3 0.4 0.1 5.8 0.574
31 Damjan Rudez IND 3 61 '14 28 29 15.2 4.0 3.6 40.8% 33.9% 66.7% 0.7 0.7 0.2 0.1 5.8 0.381
32 Nik Stauskas SAC 2 8 '14 21 38 14.1 3.6 3.7 33.1% 27.2% 81.5% 1.1 0.7 0.2 0.2 5.8 0.409
33 Nick Johnson HOU 2 42 '14 22 17 10.7 3.2 3.1 34.6% 31.3% 77.8% 1.4 0.4 0.4 0.1 5.5 0.511
34 Roy Devyn Marble ORL 2 56 '14 22 11 10.5 1.8 2.5 29.6% 9.1% 37.5% 1.8 0.9 0.8 0.0 5.4 0.513
35 Doug McDermott CHI 3 11 '14 23 17 11.6 3.2 3.1 42.3% 23.1% 50.0% 1.6 0.1 0.2 0.1 5.2 0.449
36 Joe Harris CLE 2 33 '14 23 32 11.8 3.0 2.7 39.5% 38.1% 62.5% 0.9 0.7 0.2 0.0 4.9 0.412
37 Gary Harris DEN 2 19 '14 20 18 13.8 1.5 4.4 25.3% 22.5% 66.7% 1.3 0.7 1.1 0.1 4.8 0.347
38 Erick Green DEN 1 46 '13 23 12 7.8 3.5 3.5 45.2% 30.0% 50.0% 0.4 0.8 0.1 0.0 4.8 0.613
39 Jarnell Stokes MEM 4 35 '14 21 16 5.6 2.1 1.6 48.0% -- 52.9% 1.3 0.1 0.1 0.2 3.8 0.674
40 Johnny O'Bryant III MIL 4 36 '14 21 14 12.8 1.3 4.2 40.7% -- 52.9% 1.4 0.5 0.1 0.3 3.6 0.285

Ideally, people will notice that there are a few good Jazz players. Even if they don't make the 1st or 2nd team. It's humorous to me that Exum may not even be the best rookie on this team as Minisap has come one strong. He's playing 24.0 mpg (7th most out of all rookies), he plays defense, and is hitting over 40% of his shots from deep.

Also, I listed the top 40 because I wanted to show you what Green and Stokes are doing. Green is who we traded away to get Rudy Gobert . And Stokes is who we traded away for, wait, what did we get for him again?

I like our Jazz rookies, but recognize what obstacles they'll have to safe. Trey Burke was a big name star in college, played in the biggest games, won most of the NCAA awards, and ended up winning three Rookie of the Month awards on his way to a lowly 3rd place in ROY voting. Right now I don't see Exum, two years younger, duplicating the feat despite being picked four spots higher in a more stocked draft.

It's true that Wiggins has probably won this already due to circumstance, but it would be nice to see some of our Jazz rooks crash the rookie team parties. If he continues to play this hard, and the Jazz sign him for the rest of the season, Elijah may get a chance to do precisely that.