How do you play starting swingman/small forward on the best team in the NBA and not get more consideration for Rookie of the Year?
The vote for this year’s ROY proves it’s just a political exercise to try and make stars.
Two point guards were ahead of Kawhi Leonard: Ricky Rubio of Minnesota got second place and Kyrie Irving of Cleveland won the award.
Point guards generally get more of the public’s attention because the ball is in their hands more than all other position players.
They are critical players who have to create for their team with assists and score the ball to maintain offensive flow.
The caveat to this vote that suggests the inconsistency of the award is that Irving was on one of the worst teams in the league and Rubio missed almost half the season with an injury. Both are pretty players with an outstanding future in the League, but they were able to pad their stats by their role as ballhandlers, especially Irving.
Kenneth Faried of Denver is a solid player who got third in the vote, but he seemed to disappear during the playoffs, so he couldn’t have had that big of an impact.
Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs got fourth place, which isn’t bad. But if his playoff play is any indication of his value to the team with the best record, then there is more sense in his winning the award than any other player.
Leonard looks like he has the potential to be an All Star in the near future. He is critical right now for the Spurs in order to continue their incredible winning streak while contending for a championship.
He is counted on to play defense against KD (Kevin Durant) while trying to give offense when needed. Leonard is averaging double figures in points so far in the Western Conference Finals and is getting a good share of rebounds along the way.
He’s finally getting his due as the Spurs roll along getting more national press with each win they notch.
If they are able to get past the OKC Thunder, Leonard will face his biggest challenge of the season: guarding Lebron James. Unbelievable, Durant then James in successive series…and, he’s only 20 years old (still can’t go to the clubs).
If the Spurs win it all, he probably won’t care too much about the ROY plaque; he’ll be on top with a ring instead.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com