I guess that NBA players themselves are as starved for content as the rest of us. On Monday, Miami Heat rookie Kendrick Nunn proclaimed that he should win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award over Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.
No doubt that the Heat rookie has had a solid year for a good team. He is averaging 15 points per game on 36% shooting from three. To add to this resume, Nunn has also started in all 62 games this season, which is a very impressive accolade for the undrafted 24 year old.
Unfortunately, his logic falls short just a wee bit. He somehow left out that he is a role player on this 41-24 team, and not the focal point of their construction. If we were just handing out awards to rookies of the teams with the most wins, then Talen Horton-Tucker from the Lakers would be taking home some hardware.
Let’s let one of the newest Grizzlies, who has been teammates with both Nunn and Morant, settle this silly debate.
Bing. Bang. Boom. Done.
No doubt that Nunn should be ranked very high among rookies, especially since he has had impressive longevity and played so many games, but that doesn’t count for everything. You have to take into account the role that the individual player has on his roster. If Nunn were to miss the rest of the season, would Miami suddenly fall apart? No. They would have someone like fellow rookie Tyler Herro step up and fill that space pretty quickly.
On the flip side, when Morant is out, Memphis is not the same team at all. This shows you how valuable Ja is to his team, and how his numbers in the box score ultimately impact the numbers in the standings.
Ja Morant is averaging 17 points and nearly 7 assists while being the best player on a team that was supposed to be one of the worst in the league. He has outperformed the expectations of most and has given the Grizzlies life in a season that was supposed to be very dull.
Oh, and I almost forgot, if you really want wins to impact the ROTY voting, I think win shares is actually a better litmus test.
Ja – 3.4
Nunn – 2.4