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NBA: Who wins Rookie of the Year?

Since the Most Valuable Player race isn’t exactly suspenseful, with LeBron James set to claim the honor for the 2nd consecutive season, I thought I would take a look at the competition for 09-10 Rookie of the Year, the only award still up in the air.

As the season progressed, three point guards charged to the head of the pack. They were: Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans, Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings, and Golden State’s Stephen Curry.

Let’s take a closer look at each player’s case for Rookie of the Year…

Tyreke Evans, PG, Sacramento Kings (20.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.7 apg)

Of the three contenders, Evans’ team won the fewest games, finishing with a 25-57 record. However, you can’t fault Evans for the Kings’ lack of success. The only other star on the roster, leading scorer Kevin Martin, was dealt to Houston mid-season. That left Evans as the only true playmaker on a team devoid of talent. Despite a weak supporting cast, Evans was able to put up truly historic rookie statistics.  Evans became just the fourth rookie in NBA history to put up a 20-5-5 line, joining the ultra-exclusive company of Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James.

Brandon Jennings, PG, Milwaukee Bucks (15.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.7 apg)

When the Bucks drafted Jennings with the 10th overall pick, many saw it as a gamble. At the time, that thinking was more than justified. Jennings famously spurned the NCAA’s one-and-done rule by choosing to play overseas, where he rarely saw action for his Italian pro team. In the end, Jennings proved to be worth the risk, leading the upstart Bucks to a 46-36 record and the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Jennings brought new life to the team and to the fans in Milwaukee. He only shot 37% from the field, and proved to be very streaky, but he showed everyone that he and the Bucks franchise have a bright future ahead.

Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors (17.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.9 apg)

Everyone knew the Golden State Warriors were getting the purest shooter in the Draft when they selected Stephen Curry of Davidson with the 7th overall pick. He ended up being a great shooter, and much more, for the Warriors this season. Coach Don Nelson moved Curry to point guard, an unfamiliar role, but one that proved to be a great fit. Curry showed much more playmaking ability off the dribble than he was thought to have, and ultimately thrived as the facilitator for Nelson’s wide-open offense.

And the winner is….Tyreke Evans. Not only do his stats trump those of Jennings and Curry, but he became the Kings’ leader from Day One. He still needs to develop his game, especially his jumpshot, but he has the skills to become a star in the NBA for years to come.

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