Head-to-Head: NBA Rookie of the Year

  • Hoophead
  • Duane Munn, Paul Ulane
  • April 10, 2009, 5:58 PM

Earlier today, Professor Ulane and Duane from New Jersey had a "friendly" email argument over this year's NBA Rookie of the Year candidates. Keep reading to see who they're picking, and to weigh in with a pick of your own! 

From: Professor Ulane
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 11:21 AM
To: Duane From NJ
Subject: Derrick Rose makes O.J. Mayo look like an 8th grade bench warmer 

My biggest problem with the argument over the 2009 Rookie of the Year: that anyone is making an argument in the first place. The 2009 Rookie of the Year is Derrick Rose. Hands down. No questions asked. Done and done. Yes, O.J. Mayo scores a point and a half more per game than Rose, but Rose’s shooting percentage is three points higher than Mayo’s. That means he’s a more efficient scorer. Plus, Mayo, who’s trying to become an NBA point guard, only averages 3.2 assists per game. Point guards are supposed to distribute the ball! Rose averages 6.2 assists per game, best among rookies. Now that’s a team leader. And a Rookie of the Year.


From: Duane From NJ
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 11:54 AM
To: Professor Ulane
Subject: RE: YOU look like an 8th grade bench warmer

Hmm… I suppose Rose should be Rookie of the Year. If you’re only looking at the numbers he ranks first in. Let’s look at the rest. Not only does Mayo have a higher scoring average, but he’s also a MUCH better three-point shooter (.377 to .222), and holds a small edge in both steals (1.1 to 0.8) and blocks (nearly one a game, compared to 0.2 for Rose).

And it’s funny you’d mention Mayo trying to be an NBA point guard. Why is he trying to change positions? Because his teammates at the position have been so ineffective! If Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley could handle the job, Mayo could remain at shooting guard (his natural position). He’s talented enough to take on such responsibilities on the fly, proving he’s the most dynamic player of the 2008 Draft. Aka, “He da best!”

Let’s see what happens to Rose’s precious FG percentage if the Bulls ask him to play the two for prolonged periods.


From: Professor Ulane
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 12:17 PM
To: Duane From NJ
Subject: RE: Ball's in Your Court, Duane from NJ...

Those are some really compelling stats because, you know, most teams rely on their point guards to provide a lot of blocked shots. And three point percentage? Really? Rose doesn’t even average one three-point attempt a game. In fact, he hasn’t even taken enough threes to qualify for the league leaders list. That’s called knowing your game and playing within yourself. Instead of just jacking up shots, Rose is spending his time getting teammates easy baskets.

Also, just because you say Mayo is playing point guard, that doesn’t mean he is. Mayo leads the Memphis Grizzlies in field goal attempts. What kind of point guard leads his team in shot attempts? What’s worse, is that while Rose has gotten stronger as the season has gone on and helped spark a playoff run, Mayo’s field goal and three point percentages have dropped. Rose gets Rookie of the Year, Mayo gets the Rookie Wall.  

From: Duane From NJ
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 12:59 PM
To: Professor Ulane
Subject: RE: What's 1161 + 1253 (see below)...

I thought it’s called having a better supporting cast.

The Bulls are two seasons-removed from sweeping the defending champion Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. What’s the most glaring addition/subtraction to the team since then? Derrick Rose. The rest of that team is basically intact. Or improved. That means Rose is playing with experienced veterans, in a revamped system designed to cater to his strengths (attack the basket, attract attention, make a decision). He can play within himself because his supporting cast allows it. He deserves an award for that? Really?

Look at Memphis. Pound-for-pound, from management to personnel, they may be the worst franchise in the league. None of the pieces seem to fit, and they’ve yet to find a coach who can prove otherwise. Oh, and the player most responsible for their last playoff appearance? He plays with Kobe Bryant now.

This is the team O.J. Mayo inherited. And I say inherited in reference to your silly argument about shot attempts. Why does he lead the team in shot attempts? Because a team full of veterans, including last year’s leading scorer (Rudy Gay), looked at Mayo the first day he showed up and said “lead us.” Those shot attempts represent an attempt by Mayo to lead a laughingstock franchise to respectability by doing what he does best. You’d be tired too if you were carrying an entire franchise around on your back every other day.

And since you’re so interested in Mayo’s shot attempts… Rose has chucked it up 1161 times. Only Ben Gordon (1253) has attempted more on the Bulls. But I guess it’s okay for a point guard to be second on the team in shot attempts, right? 

From: Professor Ulane
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 1:12 PM
To: Duane From NJ
Subject: RE: You are a dumb-dumb stinky head.

Rose shoots a lot and makes it a lot. That makes sense. Mayo shoots more than anyone on the Memphis starting five… and has the worst shooting percentage out of that group. That doesn’t make nearly as much sense. And Rudy Gay averaged 20 points per game last year. Bring in a top flight talent and, in your words, a “point guard,” and Gay’s points… go down? Wait a minute, that doesn’t make any sense, either. Shouldn’t Mayo be helping Gay score more?

And yeah, Rose really inherited a playoff team. Let’s look at the starting lineup for the ’06 Bulls team that made the playoffs: Luol Deng, P.J. Brown, Ben Wallace, Ben Gordon, and Kirk Hinrich. Let’s look at the starting lineup from last night’s Bulls game: John Salmons, Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, and Ben Gordon. Hmmm. That doesn’t look very similar now, does it? Last year’s Bulls team won 33 games. This year’s team still has a chance to finish above .500 with the addition of my Rookie of the Year, Derrick Rose. Last year’s Memphis team won 22 games. This year’s team is at that same spot with four games left on the schedule. Mayo’s impact doesn’t really resonate to me.

Since I’m a nice guy, I’ll give you the last word. 

From: Duane From NJ
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 2:17 PM
To: Professor Ulane
Subject: RE: Rubber. Glue. Stop Talking About Yourself...

The lineups are different in Chicago. But let’s play a game of “Where Are They Now?” and see where those ’06 starters went. Luol Deng? Still on the team (the only reason he’s not starting is because he’s hurt at the moment). P.J. Brown? Retired… aka old. Ben Wallace? Traded… aka old and stubborn. Ben Gordon? Still starting. Kirk Hinrich? Bumped to the bench. Because of Rose. Hmm… something(s) looks awfully similar.

Back to Rose. Yes, he’s a huge upgrade over Hinrich. But the core of this team, the team that bounced Shaq and D-Wade on their heads in the playoffs two years ago, was already intact. The rest of the roster has been upgraded as well. They're “harder, better, faster, stronger” (to quote a certain mohawk'd MC). And a lot more mature, as evidenced by their increasingly-consistent effort in ‘09. 

Rose is having a great year. But I also think he walked into a perfect situation, and his numbers reflect it. To give him primary credit for the Bulls turnaround is borderline batty.

As for Mayo… I didn’t call him a point guard. You did. I have no problem with him leading the team in shots. HE’S NOT A POINT GUARD! And Rudy Gay’s decline only confirms two of my points: one, Memphis’ point guard situation is so lousy Mayo has had to sacrifice his game in an attempt to plug the leak. And two, the Grizzlies are so devoid of leadership that they’ve deferred to a rookie.

If Memphis were better equipped to deal with either issue, they’d probably have a lot more wins. As it is, they’re lucky to have a rookie who doesn’t mind taking the tough shots and dealing with the consequences if he misses (unlike Gay). Mayo is the guy in Memphis. He deserves credit for proving capable of shouldering such a heavy burden during his freshman year.

Didn't Rose get benched a couple of games this year?!?

Enough of my blabbering. Let’s turn it over to the readers: Who do you think should be Rookie of the Year? Click E-mail the Editor and hit us up with your pick!

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