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As expected, Kyrie Irving won the Rookie of the Year award. The only competition he faced was James Harden’s Sixth Man of the Year, a tight race for “which award will be more of a blow out?” Irving was fantastic all season, averaging 21.8 points and 6.4 assists per 36 minutes, but he was also clutch when the Cavaliers were in a tight game. In the last five minutes of a game with a margin of five points or less, Irving shot 54% from the field, and a stunning 67% from three point range. Congrats to Kyrie for a well-deserved honor.
Ricky Rubio finished second in the voting, despite missing every game after March 9 with an ACL tear. Here’s a chart, from ESPN.com, with the totals.
|Kyrie Irving, Cle||117||2||1||592|
|Ricky Rubio, Min||49||23||170|
|Kenneth Faried, Den||1||30||34||129|
|Kawhi Leonard, SAS||1||9||15||47|
|Iman Shumpert, NY||1||7||7||33|
Pardon me for a second, while I have a word with the voters. *ahem* “Would everyone who gave a first place vote to Faried, Leonard, and Shumpert step up to the podium for a minute please? Thank you.” *SMACK SLAP SMACK SMACK SLAP*
Look, I love Kenneth Faried as much as the next guy. His jersey is prominently featured on my list of things I’d like for my birthday (because we always need pick-up ball attire). He has alternately thrilled and impressed me with his high-flying play and his constant passion and energy. But in no way could you make a statistical case that he deserves the rookie of the year award. Picking him was a total homer move, one that discredits his finish in voting. The same goes for Kawhi Leonard, and as for Iman Shumpert, I just…I don’t…ugh.
I know I’m making a big deal out of something fairly trivial. The right guy won (in a landslide, I’m happy to say), the right guy got second, and the right guy got third (I think Isaiah Thomas should have finished fourth, but that’s neither here nor there). I’m just happy that Rubio got second without the help of some local sportswriter who saw ninety percent of his games and ten percent of Kyrie Irving’s giving Ricky a first place vote.