Rookie of the Year – Ranking the Last Ten Winners

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    Despite the Clippers slowing down recently after a short resurgence, there’s no slowing down Blake Griffin. He’s averaging 22.9 points and 12.7 rebounds per game this season, making the Los Angeles Clippers, yes, the Los Angeles Clippers, a cool team. How long will that last? Griffin has the Rookie of the year award in the bag, not taking away anything from John Wall. We were wondering just how good his rookie year is, statistically, so we ranked the last 10 ROY winners according to their debut NBA seasons, from Mike Miller to Tyreke Evans. How impressive is Griffin’s first year? Probably better than any of the following.

    Number 10 – Mike Miller (2000-2001)

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    Rookie Stats – 11.9 points, 4 rebounds in 29.1 minutes a night. Shot 40.7% from the three.

    Miller was the fifth pick in the 2000 draft, one of the weaker drafts in recent history. The Magic drafted him out of Florida after he led the Gators to the 2000 National Championship game. He spent three years with the Magic before he moved on to Memphis, where he won the sixth man of the year award in 2006.

    Number 9 – Amare Stoudemire (2002-2003)

    Rookie Stats – 13.5 Points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.1 blocks in 31.3 minutes a game.

    Now the savior of the Knicks, Amare was the 9th pick by the Phoenix Suns in 2002, a team never blessed with Big guys. He spent eight seasons with the Suns before signing with the Knicks prior to this season, making four All-NBA teams including one First in 2007. He was the first prep-to-pro player to win the ROY award.

    Number 8 – Emeka Okafor (2004-2005)

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    Rookie Stats – 15.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.7 blocks in 35.6 minutes a night.

    Was supposed to be the future of the franchise, picked second in the 2004 NBA draft by the Charlotte Bobcats before their inaugural season. His rookie season remained his best so far in his career. He is now playing with the New Orleans Hornets after a trade in 2009-2010, missing out on the Bobcats first playoff appearance.

    Number 7 – Brandon Roy (2006-2007)

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    Rookie Stats – 16.8 Points, 4.4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.2 steals in 35.4 minutes a night.

    Roy immediately made the Blazers a relevant team, improving the Winning record by 11 in his rookie season. Roy’s rookie year hinted on his immense talent and also his proneness to injury, plaguing him through his NBA career from day 1.

    Number 6 – Derrick Rose (2008-2009)

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    Rookie Stats – 16.8 points, 6.3 assists in 37 mintues a night.

    Immediately thrown into the driving seat at Chicago, Rose has matured into one of the best players in the league rather quickly. His dominance this year stands in great contrast to the amounts of criticism he received in the beginning of 2009-2010 when he didn’t quite live up to expectations because of a lingering injury. Maybe more importantly, the Bulls immediately returned to the playoffs after missing a year before Rose arrived.

    Number 5 – Kevin Durant (2007-2008)

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    Rookie Stats – 20.3 Points in 34.6 minutes a night.

    Played during the Sonics’ last season before becoming the Thunder and getting shipped to Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant is now one of the best players in the NBA, maybe the most gifted scorer in the league. He won the scoring title last year and led the USA to a 2010 FIBA World Championships triumph, winning the MVP along the way.

    Number 4 – Pau Gasol (2001-2002)

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    Rookie Stats – 17.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks in 36.7 minutes a night.

    Now a two time champions with the Lakers, Pau Gasol was the first player to lead the Memphis Grizzlies into the playoffs. He never won a game with them there, but during his time there the Grizzlies Franchise finished seasons over .500 for the first time.

    Number 3 – Tyreke Evans (2009-2010)

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    Rookie Stats – 20.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.5 steals in 37.2 minutes.

    Only the fourth rookie in NBA history to go 20-5-5 (LeBron, Oscar and MJ are the other three), but Evans doesn’t seem to have that Mega Star talent in him. He’s probably also on the wrong team that’s pretty much going nowhere anytime soon with a talented but troubled roster and a head coach who’s a bad fit. The injuries during this season haven’t helped as well.

    Number 2 – Chris Paul (2005-2006)

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    Rookie Stats – 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 2.2 steals in 36 minutes a night.

    A star from the first moment. Paul led all rookies in points and assists during 2005-2006 and has since made the Hornets a legit playoff contender, as long as he’s healthy. His time there, according to rumors, is short. Next destination, New York?

    Number 1 – LeBron James (2003-2004)

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    Rookie Stats – 20.9 Points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.6 steals in 39.5 minutes a night.

    Almost 40 minutes a night, as a rookie. The Cavs before LeBron’s rookie year? 17 wins. His rookie year? 35. It just got better and better, despite the title never coming. The Cavs during his first year without him? 11 Wins so far, on the way setting a new record for consecutive losses with 26. That’s what happens when an MVP leaves your team, the first reigning MVP to change his franchise since Moses Malone in 1982.