Tag:Rookie of the Year
Posted on: May 4, 2011 4:48 pm

Blake Griffin officially named Rookie of the Year

Posted by Royce Young

Blake Griffin has officially been named the 2010-11 Rookie of the Year. That's not the news, because we all knew that was happening. The interesting part is, Griffin became the first unanimous winner of the award since David Robinson in 1989-90.

The only other unanimous winner was Ralph Sampson in 1983-84.

Griffin was taken first overall in 2009, but missed the whole season because of a left kneecap fracture. Griffin led the Clippers and all rookies with 22.5 ppg, 12.1 rebounds per game and 63 double-doubles (a Clipper franchise record). He was the only player in the entire league to average at least 20 points, 12 rebounds a three assists a game. Griffin is also the first rookie to average at least 20 and 10 since Elton Brand in 1999-00. He's the fourth to total at least 1,600 points, 900 rebounds and 250 assists, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor and Sidney Wicks.

So you can see why this was unanimous.

Griffin was also selected to the All-Star team, the first rookie to receive that honor since Tim Duncan. And of course he blew everyone away that weekend during the dunk contest as well.

A couple notes on the voting returns:
  • John Wall finished second, getting 91 second-place votes and 22 third-place votes.
  • DeMarcus Cousins finished third, getting 11 second-place votes and 48 third-place.
  • Landry Fields actually received more second-place votes than Cousins (12), but not near as many third (26).
  • Greg Monroe, who quietly had a really nice rookie year, picked up one second-place votes and 12 third.
  • Gary Neal snuck in to finish fourth above Monroe though with three second and 10 third.
Posted on: April 9, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: April 9, 2011 4:12 pm

Absolutely no doubt about Blake Griffin for ROY

Posted by Royce Young

It's this season's easiest award to hand out. It's like The Godfather winning Best Picture in 1972. There's really no other option and it was so good you almost want to give it two trophies.

Blake Griffin is the Rookie of the Year. He was so good, he may have staked out Rookie of the Decade.

There isn't any kind of debate here. No discussion to be had. It's the anti-MVP debate. Whatever metric you use -- advanced stats, regular stats, your eye ball, YouTube hits -- Griffin is your winner.

(Really, the biggest debate there was with Griffin was about a potential nickname. Blake Superior, The Blake Show, Quake Griffin, Captain Planet as Deron Williams dubbed him -- nothing seemed to totally fit but darn it, we were all trying.)

Let me go over his resume briefly in case you somehow were in a bomb shelter the past six months: 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game on 50 percent shooting, a Clipper franchise record for double-doubles in a season (60) and 500 jaw-dropping plays. He was the first rookie All-Star since Tim Duncan, won the dunk contest and participated in all three nights of All-Star Weekend. And just remind yourself again quickly here, he's 21 years old and just finished his rookie season.

Most likely, Griffin will become the third unanimous Rookie of the Year selection to go with Ralph Sampson (1983) and David Robinson (1989) since the NBA/ABA merger. You really could make a pretty strong case that Griffin had one of the best rookie seasons in history.

Griffin is such a sure thing that if you're just dying to discuss this year's rookies, you've got to talk about the runner-up. It's most likely John Wall, but players like Landry Fields, DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe have had really strong seasons. Coming in to the season, most were unsure of Griffin and had Wall, Cousins, Monroe, Evan Turner and Derrick Favors as their favorites. But this race was actually pretty much over by the end of November where Griffin averaged a double-double and blew us away with a flurry of ultimate highlight dunks.

I think one of the most interesting things about Griffin's rookie year though is how he almost overshadowed himself. He became more of a novelty, more of a highlight machine than a basketball player. And what was overlooked is that Griffin is a terrific basketball player.

He plays like an animal that's caged for 22 hours a day but is let out for two hours every few days on a hardwood floor. That may be his kryptonite too though -- he might actually play too hard. Every Clipper fan -- and NBA fan for that matter -- lives in fear every time he rises high off the floor only to come crashing down like a pile of bricks dropped from a ladder. But it's also a reason Griffin is so intoxicating. He plays each game like it's the only chance he gets to do it for weeks.

He's a 6-10 monster of a man, built of a adamantium that can run like a wide receiver, leap like a high-jumper and is strong like a bull. He's graceful in his movements, skilled with the ball, can handle in traffic, pass masterfully to cutting guards, post guys bigger than him and score in any situation. He even stepped out to 3-point range a bit (30.4 percent). If that's what's next for him, well, God help us all.

My favorite game of the season was also his best, but one that didn't have a high-flying dunk in it. Against Indiana in December, he notched 47 points on 19-24 shooting, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished out three assists. He only dunked once so instead of wowing everyone above the rim, Griffin showcased his complete game. He posted, he nailed jumpers, he spun, he ran the floor, he finished in traffic -- it was just an awesome performance. Don't get me wrong, he had about 50 awesome games this season, but that was his best one and it was because he actually had the chance to show how good he really is.

It's almost a shame Griffin became such a sensation because of that. Between jumping over the car, the YouTube clips and all the buzz he manifested in every arena he walked into, Griffin's actual game was almost an afterthought.

Don't get me wrong, the dunks were awesome. I mean, watch this. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or this or this or this or this or this.

But I get the feeling we sort of got all of it out of our systems this season. By the end of the year, every dunk Griffin had wasn't exploding on Twitter and uploaded to YouTube 15 seconds after it happened. People sort of chilled on him, which is a good thing in the long run. Now people can begin to appreciate how fantastic a basketball player he is, instead of seeing him only as a dunking machine.
Posted on: September 10, 2010 11:43 am
Edited on: September 10, 2010 11:44 am

Pop Quiz: Who's the Rookie of the Year favorite?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Who is winning Rookie of the Year? John Wall, Blake Griffin or someone else?

There's the Madden Curse, the Curse of the Billy Goat and the the Curse of the Sacred Buffalo. And for the past couple years, there's been the Curse of the No. 1 Overall Pick.

Of course there's Greg Oden who missed his entire 2007-08 rookie season because of microfracture surgery on his knee. Derrick Rose escaped and had a nice 2008-09 rookie campaign, but then Blake Griffin fractured his patella and sat out all of 2009-10.

Maybe it's a trend. Or maybe like the other "curses," it's just a combination of coincidence and bad luck.

But not often do you have a season with two No. 1 overall picks playing their rookie seasons together. John Wall and Blake Griffin are the last two top picks in the NBA and they are both entering their official rookie seasons. Griffin was the clear-cut favorite for Rookie of the Year last season before he got hurt, but his injury opened the door for Tyreke Evans to snatch the award. But with how electric Evans was last season, who knows, he might've won the award anyway.

So coming into 2010-11, we have two obvious favorites. But will one of them win it? If so, which one? Or if not, who else could slip in and grab the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy? Here are the favorites and then two sleepers:


Blake Griffin, Clippers - It's easy to forget what a freak of nature Griffin is. It's easy to forget his non-stop motor, his talent, his ridiculous ability and his awesome athleticism. He sat out last season so it's easy to forget that he was pretty much a consistent 20-20 threat at the University of Oklahoma and that he averaged almost 30 points and 15 rebounds in the NCAA tournament. It's easy to forget that he was the most dominant college big man since Tim Duncan.

But he's healthy and he's hungry. Those are two very, very scary things for those that dare challenge him head-to-head. Griffin has an other-worldly work ethic and he's spent the last 15 months waiting to get a crack at the NBA. He's ready to go and the Clippers need his services. He'll get big minutes and he'll likely put up big numbers.

John Wall, Wizards
- In terms of pure flash, skill and NBA talent, it's hard to top John Wall. He just has some sort of allure to him that makes him must-see. And that sort of thing goes a long way in determining Rookie of the Year. Wall has "it," whatever "it" is.

He's going to struggle some though, especially early on. He's being put in charge of a fairly bad Wizards team from the get-go. He's going to have to manage being a scorer and a distributor, something really good point guards don't figure out most times until their third year. He will struggle at times. He'll turn the ball over. He'll miss open shots. And he'll likely get frustrated. But Wall will have flashy games, good numbers and most of all, that Derrick Rose like draw that just makes him fun to watch.

DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
- A lot of really smart analysts agreed in June, DeMarcus Cousins was the most talented overall player in the draft. He's the most NBA ready player and most capable of stepping on the floor and contributing this second.

But for Cousins, it was a between-the-ears thing.

Assuming his head is on straight and he's focused, Cousins is an absolute force on the post. In the first three games of Vegas summer league, he was nearly unguardable. He was a walking double-double. But then he got tired, lost interest and his numbers dipped severely. If we see the good Cousins consistently, he's a legit contender. If he wavers, he might not even make an All-Rookie team.

Evan Turner, 76ers - During summer league, Turner looked lost. He looked confused. He looked as if he wasn't sure of himself, his abilities or how he was supposed to fit in.

But remember, summer league.

Turner nearly averaged a triple-double at Ohio State last season. His issue will be something he doesn't really control. New 76ers coach Doug Collins will have to figure out where he's supposed to play. Is it point? At the 2? At the 3? Once that gets settled and Turner fits into his role, he should be a guy that finishes with quality numbers on a team that likely won't be very good.

Greg Monroe, Pistons - Maybe Monroe would be better suited in the "sleeper" category. He was drafted seventh overall and isn't set up to garner a ton of attention or playing time early on in Detroit.

But Monroe's skills are unignorable. He passing beautifully out of the post, has terrific footwork and rebounds better than people give him credit for. Right now, he's a little low on the depth chart, but the Pistons are likely planning on moving some pieces around. So Monroe will probably get plenty of playing time in a rebuilding situation.

Patrick Patterson, Rockets - Daryl Morey traded Carl Landry away to Sacramento last season at the deadline. And he replaced him with, basically another Carl Landry.

Patterson is a machine on the post. He never stops working, never stops fighting. He's pretty much a perfect Houston Rocket at this point. The traditional box score may say he's not great, the measurables may say he's not super talented, but he just gets it done. Given the chance, he might slip in and average quality numbers playing in a bench role for Houston. And if so, he might also slip into the ROY discussion.

James Anderson, Spurs - With the oft-injured and aging Manu Ginobili playing in front of him, James Anderson might be called upon at some point to step up in a big way for the Spurs. And since he plays for San Antonio, obviously Anderson will be up to the task, because that's the just the way the Spurs work.

He was an elite scorer in college that was questioned at the next level because he's not overly athletic and doesn't score at the rim. But does it matter when you can just plain score? He shoots an open 3 beautifully, he gets to the free throw line and he's not a bad defender. If he gets opportunities, he could potentially average double-digits and play a big role in keeping the Spurs going. And that might be enough to at least get him in the conversation.

This is a weird year. On one hand, there are the obvious favorites as in, two No. 1 overall picks. But on the other, it's a wide open race because there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding those guys. Can Wall settle in with Washington? Is Griffin completely healthy? How good is DeMarcus Cousins and can he jump other candidates?

After Blake Griffin's injury last season, the ROY race opened up completely. Basically everyone had a shot. This season, it's pretty much a two-man showdown, with a couple dark horses hanging around. Writers are just waiting to hand the award to either Wall or Griffin, so in order for someone else to get into the conversation, they'll have to have a big time year.

So it comes down to the two No. 1s. Griffin has the advantage of going through an NBA season already, even if he didn't play. He's had a year of practices, a year of meetings, a year of travel. And most importantly, a year away from home in a big city with a lot of money in his pocket. He knows how to handle it. Wall on the other hand, is coming in like a traditional rookie - fresh.

Basically in my mind, it comes down to Griffin's health. If he doesn't sustain anymore injuries and is able to play the bulk of the season, he's going to have seriously good numbers. Probably something in the 17-10 range or maybe even better. He's a statistical machine. Wall will have a nice year no doubt, but Griffin will likely put up numbers that can be ignored. And that's why, in his second rookie year, Blake Griffin gets the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy.
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