During the aftermath of Toronto’s 89-82 win over the Pistons last night, on the post-game show, I was asked by a listener who I felt was most deserving of the Rookie of the Year award this season.
Well, Jonesy and I bounced around the question/issue for a couple of minutes and we both came to the same conclusion of the top 3 candidates (in no particular order): Luis Scola - HOUSTON, Al Horford – ATLANTA, and Jamario Moon – TORONTO.
To many folks’ surprise, neither one of us had Kevin Durant (SEATTLE) in our top 3. We both had him #4 on our lists. And both Jonesy and I agreed that while Durant is a future star and an unbelievable talent, he has the misfortune of being a rookie during a season in which 3 other first-year players are providing significant contributions to WINNING and/or PLAYOFF teams.
Assuming Atlanta makes the post-season, Horford will be right around the double-double mark for the year. The kid is an absolute stud and a future All Star in my eyes.
Nobody can deny what Scola has done ALL season … let alone in the last month or so … since the absence of Yao Ming.
And say what you will about Jamario Moon, but he’s a 27-year-old rookie who has played through thick and thin since early in the season when Sam Mitchell inserted him into the starting line up in Chicago. While he made his name off thunderous dunks and a brief spotlight in the Slam Dunk competition, he’s known more in Toronto as a guy that doesn’t drive enough; that appears reluctant to put the ball on the floor. Yet he continues to flirt with the top 50 in the NBA in FG% and his rebounding and shot-blocking abilities have been major assets all season.
Compare these three guys to Durant, and there is no comparison. Long-term, Durant will probably be the bigger “star” when stacked-up against Horford, Scola, or Moon. But for this year … Durant’s inflated numbers on a terrible Sonics squad don’t look as impressive as what the other 3 have done in winning environments.
In fact, if you take a look at the “numbers” … Moon, Scola, and Horford have all averaged less minutes-per-game than Durant, but they all have more rebounds-per-game and they all shoot a higher percentage from the field than Durant. The only thing KD has going for him is points-per-game. He has scored at least 10-points-per-game more than any of the three I’ve mentioned. He’s averaging just under 20 PPG – and that’s DAMN impressive for a rook.
But if the vote were to go down today, I’d write my ballot like this: 1. Horford 2. Scola 3. Moon
Take a look at their numbers heading into last night’s action: