CANOE Network SLAM!Sports

 
SLAM! Sports SLAM! Basketball
  Tue, April 13, 2004


NBA NEWS
RAPTORS
NCAA BASKETBALL
SCOREBOARD
COURTSIDE BLOG
COLUMNISTS
COMMENT






PLAYER BIOS
MOVEMENTS
INJURIES
STATS


FIND A PLAYER:
CONF. STANDINGS
EAST STANDINGS
WEST STANDINGS
WEEKLY SCHEDULE
DAILY LEADERS














And the winners are ...
LeBron, not Carmelo, should be named NBA Rookie of the Year

By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

As shocking as this may be, the media are wrong sometimes. Yup, it's true.

From a personal point of view, a mistake was made last season when the NBA media chose Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns as the rookie of the year over Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets. Both had good seasons, but yours truly voted for Yao, the No. 1 pick in the 2002 draft, because he had been under substantially more pressure to succeed immediately than Stoudemire, the No. 9 pick.

We're faced with a similar situation this season when it comes to rookie-of-the-year candidates LeBron James, who was selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 draft, and Carmelo Anthony, who was picked third by the Denver Nuggets. Again, both have had great seasons, but hopefully this time the vote will swing James' way overwhelmingly, for many of the same reasons Yao should have been the choice a year ago.

Several straw polls among potential voters have indicated James could be a runaway winner. But here's another shocking fact for you: Some members of the media love to be purposely contrary. Since it has been reported widely that James is going to win, at least a few voters who said they would pick James probably changed their minds and voted for Anthony, just to be different.

The fact that James' Cavaliers have gone into the tank lately and Anthony's Nuggets continue to fight for a playoff spot could help Anthony's cause, too. However, most of the votes have been cast already, despite the fact the season does not end till tomorrow.

Either way, James deserves to win. The wish here is that the idiosyncrasies of the voters won't thwart him, the way Yao was thwarted a year ago.

As for the other major awards categories:

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

The truth is, you could give this award to Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs every year. But since Duncan has won it the past two seasons, the clear winner this time around should be Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The T-Wolves are on track to finish first in the mighty Western Conference, which would be an incredible achievement for a team that never has won a playoff series.

COACH OF THE YEAR

A two-man race between Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz and Hubie Brown of the Memphis Grizzlies. Both are deserving of recognition but the nod goes to Sloan, mainly because he has been slugging it out with the Jazz for 16 consecutive seasons, whereas Brown didn't coach in the NBA from 1986 to 2002. Actually, the gut feeling here is Brown will win because the Grizzlies have secured a playoff berth for the first time in club history, but we're rooting for Sloan.

TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER

There really are only two candidates: Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers and Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons. This award is very subjective, so because Wallace has won it the past two seasons, we'll go with Artest. Yes, we agree with Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill's recent assertion that Wallace's defence affects a game more completely than Artest's defence, which really affects only one guy. But it isn't only behemoths who can play good defence, and there's nothing wrong with recognizing that.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

Another subjective award, since it's based on the assumption that a player must have been underachieving previously. Three of the top candidates are Zach Randolph of the Portland Trail Blazers, Carlos Boozer of the Cleveland Cavaliers and James Posey of the Memphis Grizzlies. But just to be different (remember the "purposely contrary" theory detailed earlier), we're opting for Erick Dampier of the Golden State Warriors.

He's averaging 12.3 points and 12.0 rebounds per game, up from 8.2 points and 6.6 rebounds last season.

TOP SIXTH MAN

The names mentioned most often for this honour are Al Harrington of the Indiana Pacers, Antawn Jamison of the Dallas Mavericks and Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs. The Pacers have the best record in the NBA so let's go with Harrington. He's the third-leading scorer on his team despite starting in only 14 games.

ALL-NBA TEAMS

First team: Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Peja Stojakovic.

Second team: Ben Wallace, Jermaine O'Neal, Artest, Jason Kidd, Sam Cassell.

Third team: Yao Ming, Andrei Kirilenko, Dirk Nowitzki, Baron Davis, Tracy McGrady.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


Results | Story