Rookie of the Year? So what?

 It’s Tuesday, April 27 and I don’t know if Kings rookie guard Tyreke Evans has been voted the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year.

And I don’t care.

The announcement likely will come within the next few days. And then what? The state is no longer bankrupt? Thieves no longer will steal? The Kings no longer finished with 25 victories in 82 games?

I don’t think so.

It’s an individual award in a team game. It’s so so-what.

Yes, Tyreke Evans deserves the Rookie of the Year in my opinion. He’s a bad boy who will turn 21 Sept. 19. That means he’ll likely improve immeasurably over the next few years. So check him out four years from now when he matures into a 25-year old man. Imagine this young fella when he consistently can make a 15-footer.

Personally, the belief here is Evans will reach his peak when he is encouraged to do what he does – assault defenses, defenders and the basket freely and naturally and forget about becoming a point guard.

People, point guards aren’t made. They are born. Those who get as much joy from handing out a basket as scoring one are your true point guards. They come in all sizes, shapes and colors.

Evans isn’t a point guard. He’s a controlled freight train with the ability to hit the open man when he opts to do so. He can make plays for others, but it’s usually a second thought.

However, if voters decided Golden State rookie Stephen Curry deserved to win the award, nary a word of dissent would be heard from this corner.

Curry is a natural point guard, who also can score. He’s a much better shooter than Evans, as well as more natural and willing passer.

It was close, but I think Evans had a better season than Curry.

But really, neither prevented his team from sucking eggs. The Warriors (26-56) had a ridiculous number of injuries and the Kings had untimely injuries that helped wreak havoc on their respective seasons. There actually have been rookies who have dominated teams and leagues in their first NBA seasons.

Both the Kings and Warriors are desperate franchises that decided to promote their candidates for the award.

There was another option.

That is, allow the performances and production of their talented rookies to serve as their own promotion. That’s what the teams did during the early weeks of the season, until marketing brainiacs decided to pimp their youngsters and see if there was money to be made and tickets to be sold.

The Kings had the ROY (get it: Rookie Of the Year) campaign highlighted by ROY night for the upcoming ROY, I suppose. Their broadcasters and TV game promotions were geared toward pumping up Evans to winning the award.

Even worse, though, was trumpeting Evans’ statistical achievement of averaging 20 points, five rebounds and five assists – BEFORE HE’D DONE IT.

Granted, only Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James had done so before, but the Kings put pressure on their own youngster.

It would have been unnecessarily embarrassing for Evans and the organization had he failed to reach those numbers.

And remember, Evans was ejected in the Kings final regular season game. That’s the type of incident/game that negatively can affect averages.
And would he have been that much less a player had he averaged 19.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists?

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April 27, 2010 | 3:27 PM

Well said, Marty. Individual awards and stats are no replacement for a good team. Not even Oscar Robertson’s individual statistical brilliance could get his team anywhere. It was only when he got on a good team with Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and others, that he was able to bag a championship.

April 27, 2010 | 5:05 PM

I smell a Co-Rookie of the Year, a la Elton Brand and Stevie Franchise (wow, those guys careers certainly fell down a well). You can’t argue with Reke’s steady performance all season long, but the way Curry improved every month and Reke finished hurt, I feel a tie coming on. It’s not like kissing your sister when it’s for an award.

April 28, 2010 | 12:08 PM

Martin McNeal, writer for the Sacramento Press SO SO WHAT!!

You act like they just started announcing these type of awards. Yes it is a TEAM sport but people have been recognized all week for different sportsmanship awards. MVP is player focused, defensive player of the year and the 6th man of the year award all individual awards for a team sport.

Maybe people in Sacramento should stop being so negative towards a young growing team and start supporting the team wether they win or loose. Look at Oklahoma City Thunder they came from nothing a team built on Rookies and they are in the playoffs doing great things!!

Sincerely,
Tired of the Fair Weather Kings fans

April 28, 2010 | 10:20 PM

You might want to google: “Martin McNeal” before calling him a fair weather fan.

April 29, 2010 | 10:09 AM

Marty’s a legend in Sacramento, just ask the NBA players, who dedicate half an hour of their postgame time to one-on-one interviews with him. I’ve seen it myself. He’s well-respected in all areas of the game.

On that note, I disagree with Marty’s opinion here. The Rookie of the Year Award is a huge honor. Tyreke Evans is only one man and can only control what he does on the court. He single-handedly carried the team this year to 25 wins as a rookie, and he is being honored for doing so. While fans would like to see a playoff run, they have to appreciate having a current and future star gracing their home court each night.

April 29, 2010 | 9:54 PM

Anonymous: I’m not hating on the Kings. It was the unnecessary over-the-top marketing promotion of Tyreke I had a problem with. I love the kid’s game and I’m excited about his potential. This kid isn’t 21 years old yet. He’s a hard worker and just wait to see how good he is next year and 2-3 years from now. I think he was the best rookie this season and I think he deserved the award.
It’s my belief his work was more than enough promotion. Those who had problems with his rookie season and cannot see how good this kid can become need to remove their sunglasses. Peace.

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