LOS ANGELES CA - FEBRUARY 18: Greg Monroe #10 of the Detroit Pistons and the Rookie Team and Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Rookie Team cheer from the bench during the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam at Staples Center on February 18 2011 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
In the least surprising news of the day, Blake Griffin was officially named the NBA's Rookie of the Year. This has long been a foregone conclusion, perhaps since the first game of the season when he put up 20 and 14 in his NBA debut.
But while the top of the voting makes sense, the bottom is a little confusing:
|1. Blake Griffin, LA Clippers||118||-||-||590|
|2. John Wall, Washington||-||91||22||295|
|3. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento||-||11||48||81|
|4. Landry Fields, New York||-||12||26||62|
|5. Gary Neal, San Antonio||-||3||10||19|
|6. Greg Monroe, Detroit||-||1||12||15|
I never expected Greg Monroe to win the award, and while I believe he generally outplayed Wall, I also didn't expect the majority of the mainstream media to notice. But c'mon, I expected some of them to notice. Instead, he received a single second-place vote, 12 third place votes and was left off 105 ballots completely.
This for a guy whose 18.4 PER ranked him second among all rookies, who averaged a double-double (13.7 points and 10.0 boards) after the All-Star break. (He's also second in Win Shares, which I'm sure is significant, but I'm reluctant to build my argument around stats I can't quite wrap my head around.)
By the magic of Basketball-Reference, you can easily compare the top six here. To be fair, John Kuester did Monroe no favors by giving him so little burn in the first half of the season. But unlike some rookies who started hot and slowly faded (I'm looking at you, Landry), Monroe consistently improved nearly every facet of his game with each passing month.
Granted, in the history of injustices plaguing the world, this ranks somewhere near the very bottom -- arguing about whether a talented rookie deserves to be listed third vs. sixth is a little inane. But considering Monroe's development was one of the few silver linings to an otherwise disastrous season, it's disappointing that 105 out of 118 voters failed to notice.
Update As DBB reader heWizard points out, Greg Monroe reacted to the snub on Twitter:
Another Update: How much did Monroe improve over the course of the season? Dan Feldman shows us with some nifty graphs over at PistonPowered. Check it out.
Yet Another Update: Not surprisingly, Monroe took the high road when asked about his finish by the Detroit News:
"The guys who finished before me had very good seasons. I'm just happy to be mentioned," said Monroe, who was drafted seventh out of Georgetown. "I felt good about that (my second half). It gave me something to build from and hopefully I can pick up from that and build on that next year."