While I support Tyreke Evans’ win in the Rookie of the Year race, I just wanted to clarify my position and explain one final time why I think Curry was the better rookie and should have won the award.
If you look at Evans’ stats, they are indeed impressive. There is nothing you can really say to take away from the stats. There are some reports that Evans is selfish and focused on his stats the final few months of the season, that the 20-5-5 stat was very important to him and he did everything necessary — including alienating teammates — to keep his stats where he wanted them. But I’ve never heard any player actually say this, I’ve only heard rumors, so I will dismiss those claims for now. Evans had a great rookie season. Period.
Claiming that Stephen Curry is a better player and more deserving of the award doesn’t detract from Evans’ accomplishments. If you’re a Kobe Bryant fan and I tell you I think LeBron James is a better player, that doesn’t mean I’m saying Bryant is not a good player. The same goes with the argument surrounding Evans and Curry. Both are great. One is better. I place my vote with Curry.
The main reason I’ve heard for Evans winning the award is that he was more consistent for the entire season, whereas Curry only came on strong the last four months. I don’t think that’s a very good criteria for an award like this. It would be one thing if Curry had two great months at the end of the season (like Darren Collison). That’s not a large enough sample size of the season to discount what Evans had done all year. But Curry was a better player than Evans (and the stats prove it) for four months of the six-month NBA season. That’s why I discount November and December, when Curry wasn’t getting the consistent minutes to produce that Evans enjoyed from the first game of the season.
After Curry became a fixture in Don Nelson’s offense in January, and started playing similar minutes to Evans, a realistic comparison between the two could be made. And it tilts in Curry’s favor quite dramatically. Here’s a look at their stats in the four final months of the season:
Evans: 19.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.5 steals, percentages (.454 FG, .252 3P, .728 FT)
Curry: 21.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.8 steals, percentages (.469 FG, .451 3P, .902 FT)
The first thing to say about both stat lines is how impressive they are. Clearly, both players are excellent and will be stars in this league for a long time. But Curry is better. When all things are equal (as they were from January through the end of the season), Curry was better in every category but rebounding, and that one was very close.
Curry was a better rookie than Evans this season. That’s why he should have been Rookie of the Year.