Maymin vs. Maymin: Rookie of the Year
The ROY needs to put up good numbers, not just on a per-minute basis but on a per-game basis and as season totals. So the most important thing is minutes. But, the ROY also needs to play on at least a mediocre team. A great rookie on a terrible team won't usually get the nod, as some benefits for winning are built-in. Let's look at some top contenders.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
He will indeed likely see a lot of minutes but his offensive game seems very raw and while his Helicopter Harry shotblocking and energetic defense will win the fans over, it might not be enough to get the ROY title.
Emeka Okafor, Charlotte Bobcats
The problem is it's the Bobcats. If they are 10-72 at the end of the year, he could have Wilt Chamberlain-like numbers and still not be a cinch for ROY.
Ben Gordon, Chicago Bulls
Will he be able to co-exist with Kirk Hinrich in the backcourt? Are there enough minutes? He certainly has the talent and the drive to get there.
Shaun Livingston, LA Clippers
Too young. Too raw. Too soon. Plus, he's on the Clippers. They would have to at least make it to the playoffs.
Devin Harris, Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs have a recent history of playing rookies lots of minutes but as a backup to Jason Terry, and with Marquis Daniels more than capable at that spot, Harris likely won't see the 30-40 minutes a game you'd need to generate the kind of stats that win prizes.
Josh Childress, Atlanta Hawks
You'd think here's at least one guy who will have a lot of minutes but unfortunately not. He is behind both Al Harrington and Antoine Walker on the depth charts and though he might have to slide over to guard, there's plenty of competition for that spot too.
Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls
He will see some time but will he see 30 minutes worth? Deng is perhaps the dark horse to win the ROY if Chicago can finally put it together and Deng is involved nightly.
Rafael Araujo, Toronto Raptors
Poor Toronto. It is just so unlikely that team will win any awards this year. It doesn't help that Araujo was probably drafted a bit too high.
Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers
The only thing holding this other AI back is new head coach Jim O'Brien's potential reluctance to rely on a rookie. That reluctance comes solely from needing all his players to get with his defensive scheme of fronting the low post on every possession. If Iggy gets it quickly enough and earns starter minutes, he could be a solid favorite for the ROY with his versatility and ability to play off of the primary AI.