Well, you can’t blame Stephen Curry if voters don’t name him Rookie of the Year. He certainly has done everything possible to demonstrate that he is the NBA’s most talented rookie, including a sparkling performance in the regular-season finale against the Blazers (42 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 1 block).
I was listening to ESPN radio on the way home from work last night and they were talking about the NBA’s different awards. After about a minute of worshipful gushing about Tyreke Evans and nary a mention of Curry, the ESPN commentator said that no other player should even be in consideration for the award. All I could do was laugh at the radio. Thankfully, not all NBA pundits are so clueless; most of what I’ve read about the award is at least giving Curry a lot of credit (though most go on to give Evans the nod).
I don’t understand it. Evans is fantastic. His stats are very impressive, but I’m flabbergasted that so many voters are seemingly going to cast their vote for an inferior player because of some magical 20-5-5 number and because Evans has been “consistent.” Curry has proven the past four months that he is a superior player to Evans in just about every way. Five years from now, I predict both players will be good, but Curry will be considered a much better player. This reeks of 2004, when Emeka Okafor won the award over Dwight Howard. How does that look now?
I heard somebody argue that the reason Evans is the choice is because this is the Rookie of the Year award and because Evans has been consistent from the beginning of the season to the end, he should win the award. No, the award should recognize the best rookie, period. Curry is the NBA’s best rookie. He should win.
Curry should win April Rookie of the Month, which would give him three such honors (Evans has two). I wrote that after he won the honor for March, that whichever rookie outperformed the other in the final month of the season should win the award. Again, advantage Curry. Here’s the two rookies’ stats for the month:
Evans: 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 3.3 turnovers, percentages (.443, .200, .750)
Curry: 26.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 8.1 assists, 2.6 steals, 3.1 turnovers, percentages (.469, .472, .895)
Evans is very good, but it’s not a contest anymore. Curry is the better player. He has been the better player for the majority of this season. Voters have their blinders on and seem to be conceding the award to Evans because he was better in November and December, when Curry wasn’t getting the playing time necessary to compete. What a lame reason to vote for somebody. If LeBron missed the first two months of the season and then came back and dominated everybody else in the NBA for the last four months of the season, he would still win MVP. So, why shouldn’t Curry win Rookie of the Year?
The Monta Dilemma: Monta Ellis was great (34 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 14-24 FG) last night. But he’s still not the right fit for this team as long as Curry is the point guard and rightful leader of this team. Ellis isn’t an efficient scorer, but that’s not the biggest reason why it won’t work. It’s the defense. As long as you’re starting Ellis and Curry together, you will always have one major defensive liability on the floor (whichever of the two is guarding the shooting guard). I’m not saying Ellis isn’t a good player. He really is great, and that’s why he is the Warriors’ best opportunity to improve the areas they really need help — defense and rebounding. Ellis has good trade value. I’m not saying the Warriors should give Ellis away, but if they could, for example, trade him for a player like David Lee, that’s a smart move for the Warriors. Again, the Warriors should only trade Ellis if they get great value in return. But I think pursuing a trade like that should be a major priority this offseason.
Pray for karma: The Warriors’ win last night is a blow to their draft lottery chances of landing one of the top two picks. Because the Wizards and Pistons won, it’s not as big a deal as it would have been otherwise. But here’s what they gave up. If they had lost, they would have had a 27.9 percent chance of landing one of the top two picks. By winning, they now have a 21.5 percent chance of getting one of the top two picks. Does 6.4 percent really make a big difference? Probably not. But pray now that the basketball gods smile on the Warriors for playing hard and playing with integrity to win in their final game. Maybe the Warriors can luck into one of those top two picks anyway.
Kudos to … : Another player who deserved credit for a solid performance in Wednesday’s game — Anthony Tolliver (19 points, 15 rebounds). Also, the Warriors committed only seven turnovers. That’s a nice stat.
Looking forward to … : This offseason.
I really think this could be an eventful and exciting offseason for the Warriors. A new owner, possible trades bringing in new exciting talent, the intrigue surrounding the draft, watching Reggie Williams and Co. in summer league. The season’s over, but the fun is really just beginning.