Post by Ian Noble on Jun 27, 2020 16:35:19 GMT
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
The 2020 Rookie of the Year is awarded to Ja Morant of the Dallas Mavericks (Danny Longley)!
It's been a great first year for Ja Morant and his Dallas Mavericks! Ja and teammate Devonte Graham led a low-rated but highly successful Dallas Mavericks team to a joint-4th-Seed position in the Western Conference! Morant took his team to places few rookies ever venture - the playoffs!
Throughout his full 82 game season Ja set the pace in the race for Rookie of the Year, receiving a well earned ratings boost from 76 to 81 in late March, ready to set the tone for the playoffs! During his first five playoff games Morant stepped up his game hugely - averaging a monstrous 20.6points, 5.8rebounds and leading his team with 2.4steals and 8.2assists per game! Indeed if last year's performance by Luka Doncic has earned him the title of "anti-tank missile" for bringing the 38-win Spurs to within two games of the 8th Seed, what does that make Ja Morant? The Mavericks tallied an extra 18 wins this season, compared to last, and finished just outside the ranks of the West's elite top-three, and who knows what could've happened if they matched up with anyone other than former rookie of the year, Nikola Jokic's Memphis Grizzlies in the first round?!
Of course this year there was always the pending tsunami-like arrival of another rookie, Cleveland's Zion Williamson, who returned from injury and was around long enough to tally a full 60 games played (unlike his 19 real-life games with the Pelicans) and at least give pause for thought about whether Morant was consensus Rookie of the Year. In the short space of time available the former Duke big-man got a raise to an 83 and the gap began to close on Morant, but perhaps just not enough to take the award. Zion's Cavs in the East, with 40 wins on the season, were only two wins short of Ja's Mavs in the West, and this year there is maybe no better microcosm to better display how the strength of conferences has switched hands from West to East, for the first time since the 1990s, than to compare Cavs/Mavs, Ja/Zion: despite only two wins difference the Mavs were joint-4th-seed, the Cavs 10th Seed, enough to make a playoff berth in the West.
The newly rebuilding Mavericks are short on draft picks, they had to make #2 count in the 2019 Draft and Ja Morant has not disappointed! In Morant Danny Longley has an explosive scorer/facilitator in the mould of an Iverson/Westbrook-hybrid that looks set to lead the real-life Grizz for years to come, he's lived up to the hype and he looks like an All Star which is exactly how the Mavs would've wanted to begin their first D5 year in the post-Dirk era!
Congratulations to Danny Longley and the Dallas Mavericks!
2019/20 Stats - 17.7ppg | 3.8rpg | 6.2apg | 0.3bpg | 1.4spg
Also in contention:
Zion Williamson - 19.4ppg | 8.1rpg | 2.2apg | 1.1bpg | 1.2spg
RJ Barrett - 14.9ppg | 6.9rpg | 3.8apg | 0.8bpg | 1.2spg
Coby White - 14.1ppg | 3.3rpg | 3.1apg | 0.2bpg | 1.3spg
Nickeil Alexander-Walker - 13.3ppg | 4.9rpg | 2.7apg | 0.7bpg | 1.1spg