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):
- Wiggins (MIN), Noel (PHI), Payton (ORL), McDaniels (PHI), and LaVine (MIN)
- 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.
|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|
|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.