Kawhi Leonard: Los Rookie of the Year Leader
Using the basketball metric known as Marginal Win Score, I have measured the contribution of every single NBA rookie who has played at least 100 minutes this season, and I have ranked each according to his “Value” Score (wins plus wins above 0.500%).
SF Kawhi Leonard the ROY leader
As the chart shows, in terms of Value Ranking, Kawhi Leonard has passed the Spanish Sensation Ricky Rubio right by. Leonard is having a spectacular season for the Spurs, and you barely ever hear about him. What a shame.
Rubio has come back to the pack, but he is still having a pretty good season. Fellow PG Kyrie Irving is proving to be a productive player, but he struggles on defense. I expected that to happen to Rubio, but not to the Duke-trained Irving.
Derrick Williams has come on very strong for the Timberwolves as well. What a massive upgrade he is over the awful, awful SF Michael Beasley. Whoever the Twolves dump Beasley on is going to be in for a dip in the standings.
Two other players who need to be mentioned are SF Chandler Parsons of the Houston Rockets, and someone named Ayon, who plays PF/C for the New Orleans Hornets. I never heard of Ayon, to be honest with you, but he is very productive.
The larger story is the general lack of production from rookies in general. The entire rookie class has a collective Value Ranking that barely exceeds the Value Ranking of Miami SF LeBron James! Rookies simply do not contribute very much to a team. That’s why it is foolish to pin too much of your hopes on the draft. Only one or at most a handful of rookies ever make a significant contribution to their NBA teams.
And you run the risk of having them destroy your season. PG Brandon Knight is absolutely killing the Detroit Pistons. Same goes for PG/SG Jimmer Fredette and the Sacramento Kings. I thought “JimmerMania” was supposed to hit the NBA? Jimmer cannot make baskets at the professional level. The Kings drafteed a better player inm the second round when they drafted Washington PG Isiah Lord Thomas II.
The Garbage King of the rookie class appears to be Chicago rookie from Marquette Jimmy Butler. Butler has barely played this season, but he has been unbelievably productive when he has played. In fact, in terms of Value, he has contributed more to the Bulls in his short minutes on the court than Kyrie Irving has contributed to the Cavaliers. Whether that will bear out over the long haul is pretty doubtful, but nevertheless an impressive debut for a pretty lightly regarded prospect.
EDIT: The original post contained a monster oversight. I missed PF Kenneth Faried from the Denver Nuggets. Luckily, he is coached by George Karl, a man who hates rookies who are not scorers. Had Karl played Faried anywhere near the minutes his production demands, Faried would be the ROY leader, and I would have had to edit the entire post. Thank you, George.