Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 23, 2010

The unanimous division over Rookie of the Year

I get the sense, call it a hunch, that an unhealthy portion of Kings fans are nervous about the Rookie of the Year award. That it matters a bit too much. That every time they watch an opposing broadcast and hear opinions on why winning matters more, or how this guy has played so much better recently, and it sends a few into a tizzy that only the person performing the theatrics really understands. Sort of like Cleveland with LeBron James only with a lot less hysteria.

Truth is, I don’t get it. I don’t care about Rookie of the Year awards because I think awards are stupid. I think MVP awards are stupid, and I especially think Most Improved Players are stupid. So many criteria’s that make up these things are completely subjective, and what one person thinks important is something that someone else dismisses entirely. But, with Rookie of the Year, there is a lot at stake for 3 or 4 clubs at the moment.

Let’s start with the Los Angeles Clippers first. Why would Ralph Lawler and Mike Smith publicly endorse Brandon Jennings (as they did on Sunday) for ROTY? Because they are the same team that has the first overall pick in the draft in 2009, and because they want to support Blake Griffin. It’s really no simpler than that. Lawler and Smith aren’t stupid guys (actually they know quite a bit about the game), and they have an impossible task. They know Tyreke Evans should be the ROTY, and what not. They know Blake Griffin will be in the running next year. They know the award doesn’t mean as much if a lesser player gets it. They know all that. They have to. Both guys have been around the NBA for a long, long time. Having said that, they get that a lot of this is simple PR. If it’s all Tyreke Evans all the time, then a lot of people won’t care. Would the ROTY really matter to Kings fans as much if everyone just said: Oh of course it’s Tyreke. What’s causing the unrest IS the difference in opinion.

Then you have the Golden State Warriors, and their voting loyalists. Stephen Curry, in my mind, has been the 2nd best rookie this season and has done well regardless of whatever filters you want to put on his production. No question of that. But the best rookie OF THE YEAR? No, he’s not. Still, if you’re the Dubs you don’t want to see Evans win ROTY and have a team 80 miles down the road have a wonderful marketing tool that your franchise could have had if you put the effort in to market the ROTY appropriately. You know the saying: You can’t win if you don’t play. ROTY is also a tool that the Dubs will no doubt use to try and draw fans (like Sac) to watch games in person and make them more money (which is all Chris Cohan is really about) as the season winds down.

Let’s factor in the Milwaukee Bucks while we’re at it. They are in the playoffs (firmly there–not just in the race) and Brandon Jennings has been a part of they’re run. In my mind he’s the 3rd best rookie (shooting percentages are just one area of the game) in the field because it’s Rookie of the Year, not Rookie of the last month or two. Regardless of whether Hornets fans believe Darren Collison should be 3rd or not. (And that would factor in the Hornets too.)

Then you have the Kings themselves. Since the Kings have been in Sacramento, other than executive awards for Geoff Petrie, and some NBA community service awards for Corliss Williamson and Vlade Divac (if I’m remembering accurately), the Kings have had one player win a “major” award: The 6th man award which was given to Bobby Jackson in 2003. The franchise wants this for Tyreke Evans. Because, like with any other franchise, Tyreke Evans is a franchise player and franchise players are good for franchise profiles. These players make the franchises worth more money, franchises with these players tend to win championships (that’s the goal isn’t it?), and with all the attention and glory comes this money. Awards are just one way that people tend to make things important. If you win the MVP you’re a dominant player (or if you’re high in the voting every year you’re dominant) or some such. Even though it’s stupid, it’s important because it gets people involved in ways that they wouldn’t care or otherwise be interested in. It’s one thing to root for LeBron James. It’s another to root for the MVP of the NBA and a player who is like LeBron James. That, in a nutshell, is what this ROTY award is partly about. Partly it’s about making sure that in future years that Tyreke is in the conversation for MVP too. It’s part of the Blueprint after all. Just as important, it’s one indication that the Kings are doing all they can to support Tyreke Evans in his quest to be the best player he can be at the NBA level. As I said, there is a lot of dynamics and angles that this stuff plays out.

Having said that, it matters to a lot of people that a Kings player wins ROTY (and also that Omri Casspi is on the all-rookie team) and there’s going to be a lot of anger if Casspi is not on that All-Rookie 1st team. (Nevermind that Casspi has completely dropped off after his wonderful start.) It doesn’t matter to me or not whether Casspi belongs to the All-Rookie 1st team or 2nd team (he’ll be on the 2nd team at the least). If certain things happen that they don’t agree with, it will anger them. There is very little room to change their opinion once it’s formed. Especially if that opinion doesn’t completely coincide with a personal ideal they hold to be self-evident.

Here is the voting totals for the 2009 ROTY. 2009 ROTY. 2008 ROTY. 2007 ROTY. 2006 ROTY. 2005 ROTY. 2004 ROTY.

Notice something? Nobody won unanimously. Not LeBron James, hell Dwight Howard didn’t even get the ROTY (And Ben Gordon finished 2nd in the voting–Dwight finished a distant 3rd), Chris Paul didn’t win unanimously (but nearly was), Brandon Roy won it despite only playing 57 games (Roy, like Paul, was nearly unanimous), Kevin Durant was playing on an awful team where he only “scored” as opposed to Al Horford helping a winning team (Jerry Reynolds was guilty of that one), Derrick Rose wasn’t as good as Brook Lopez (David Thorpe was guilty of this transgression), and so it goes detective lieutenant. …… Everybody likes their argument, and believes it matters. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be their argument. Or their favorite version of it anyway.

If you want to get up in arms over Tyreke not being the unanimous ROTY, then fine. Get mad. Point fingers. Blame people with their own agendas other than yours for not daring to come to terms with your particular opinions for ROTY. That’s fine. Just expect me to point my finger and laugh at you for your ignorance (necessary or not) if it comes to that.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Tyreke wins 70% of the 1st place votes. (Or 50% of the 1st place votes and many of the 2nd place votes.) That’s more than enough to make him ROTY. That’s what ultimately matters. So grab your pipe, get high, and stop chattering about this bullshit. There is real things to discuss.

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Responses

  1. […] answer that after his 3rd or 4th season depending on health and circumstances. As far as ROTY, I already talked about that horseshit. I’m tired of that debate […]


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