At the conclusion of the 2020-21 NBA Season, it was announced that Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball would take home the honor of NBA Rookie of the Year. LaMelo Ball had a great season! He averaged 15.7 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game so I don’t want to take anything away from LaMelo. I just think there was one guy more deserving of the award for this season, and that’s Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Anthony Edwards.
Why Anthony Edwards?
The 19-year-old Anthony Edwards was drafted #1 overall out of Georgia in the 2020 draft. As with any number 1 overall pick, the scrutiny is going to be on you heavily and maybe the pressure got to him at the beginning of the season. In January, his first full month in the pros, he only averaged 13.3 PPG with a 35.8 FG%. Clearly, he was just getting his footing. But as the season went on, he began to improve and his numbers started to increase exponentially. In March he eclipsed the 20 PPG mark and averaged 24.2 PPG with a 42.3% FG. That’s an 81% change in PPG just in a matter of two months! Finally, by May, he was up to 27 PPG. I would be curious to see what would have happened if he got the chance to play a full 82 games this season.
But why did LaMelo get it?
He shouldn’t have and this is where the problem comes in. LaMelo Ball only played 51 games because of a wrist injury that kept him sidelined for 21 games. Throughout the season guys will inevitably go through ebbs and flows due to fatigue or other nagging injuries that aren’t substantial enough to remove a guy from a lineup. But that’s the point, Edwards played a full season and averaged more PPG (19.3) but lagged slightly with rebounds (4.7) and assists (2.9). Points shouldn’t be the only consideration for ROY honors, but still, LaMelo didn’t even play a full season. His numbers were good but they weren’t amazing. Maybe he got some brownie points because of who he is, but regardless I still think Edwards was more deserving.
Also, why wasn’t this given extra consideration for the award?
Neither guy was outstanding per se, and I think they’re both still learning the ropes. I’m looking forward to their sophomore seasons and hopeful that we’ll get to see a full sample of LaMelo. After that, maybe we can rightfully say he was more deserving of the award than Edwards. Time will tell!
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