Reke ROY finished with 24 more first-place votes than Warriors guard Stephen Curry. No doubt Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans deserved Rookie of the Year. I just heard the best explanation (and from a Curry supporter): Evans became the front-runner the first couple months of the season. It was his to lose and he never lost it. Despite Curry’s stellar production starting with January 1, Evans never gave voters a reason not to vote for him. He stayed consistently good throughout.
With that said, knowing what Curry did down the stretch, that annual question now comes to mind. The same question that always comes up when there are two stand-out rookies: who will have the better career?
As with anything else in this league, a lot of that will depend on things oftentimes players don’t control. Staying healthy. Getting help from the front office. The type of system they end up in. What position they end up playing. And so on. But presuming all of that works in their favor, who turns out to be the better player, Curry or Evans? Or will it be Brandon Jennings, who is getting an upperhand on both right now with the postseason experience he is accumulating?
It is really hard not to lean towards Curry considering the multiplicity of ways he produced last season. He wasn’t just scoring. He was scoring efficiently. He was setting up others and also shairng the rock, making the extra pass, making the hockey assist. He was rebounding (especially well for someone 6-foot-3, 180 pounds). He was racking up steals and many times being a factor on defense. Certainly, he had his shortcomings. Plus the style of play and lack of significance of the games certainly played a part. But the boy showed some stuff that really pushed the bar up for what his career can be. Because of his stroke and his acumen, it’s hard seeing him not being a force.
Now, I didn’t see Evans enough to get any intricate knowledge, but he seems like a straight up beast. A physically imposing type of player who is near-impossible to contain.
It seems to me that the physically gifted still need to develop intangibles in order to take that next step. But the guys with the intangibles are already ahead of the game. Evans is going to get the kitchen sink thrown at him by opposing coaches, so his development will be a must. I can’t really give a valid analysis of his cerebral game and the development of his jumper, etc., but those who I have talked to seem to think he’s got the tools to survive the scout and the expectations. If he does, he’s going to be ridiculous.
With that said, both had great individual years for bad teams, so can’t anoint either as arrived yet. Especially Evans’ style of play. It has been known to be anti-team success. He needs to prove he can be productive for winning’s sake. How many players could average what Evans averaged if they were given the green light he was given, on a team not expected to win?
Ditto for Curry in some ways. His style of play does seem to be more of a winning style, because he doesn’t have to take shots to hurt you, and he is willing to blend into a team offense while still being able to produce. But he has to show he can produce with something on the line, against teams who are playing their best and not against teams looking at the Warriors as a break in the schedule.
But the prospects of how good they can be, especially growing up in the league together, is kinda captivating. Kinda like Chris Paul and Deron Williams.
I included some data for your perusing.
The final tallies of the NBA Rookie of the Year voting
Name, Team 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Tyreke Evans, Kings 67 50 6 491
Stephen Curry, Warriors 43 50 26 391
Brandon Jennings, Bucks 12 22 78 204
Darren Collison, Hornets 1 1 9 17
Jonny Flynn, T’wolves 0 0 2 2
Taj Gibson, Bulls 0 0 2 2
Curry and Evans head-to-head by the numbers
Name, Team Points FG% 3FG% FT% Asts Rebs TOs Stl
Stephen Curry 17.5 46.2 43.7 88.5 5.9 4.4 3.0 1.9
Tyreke Evans 20.1 45.8 25.5 74.8 5.8 5.3 3.0 1.5
Last 20 Rookie of the Year winners
2009-10 Tyreke Evans, Sacramento
2008-09 Derrick Rose, Chicago
2007-08 Kevin Durant, Seattle
2006-07 Brandon Roy, Portland
2005-06 Chris Paul, New Orleans
2004-05 Emeka Okafor, Charlotte
2003-04 LeBron James, Cleveland
2002-03 Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix
2001-02 Pau Gasol, Memphis
2000-01 Mike Miller, Orlando
1999-00 Elton Brand, Chicago (tie)
Steve Francis, Houston (tie)
1998-99 Vince Carter, Toronto
1997-98 Tim Duncan, San Antonio
1996-97 Allen Iverson, Philadelphia
1995-96 Damon Stoudamire, Toronto
1994-95 Grant Hill, Detroit (tie)
Jason Kidd, Dallas (tie)
1993-94 Chris Weber, Golden State
1992-93 Shaquille O’Neal, Orlando
1991-92 Larry Johnson, Charlotte
1990-91 Derrick Coleman, New Jersey