This rookie class has been a very good, deep rookie class. You've got the likes of Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Luis Scola, Al Thornton, Jeff Green, Nick Young, Juan Carlos Navarro, and Mike Conley. All of these kids are gonna be stars. Some of them may take longer to bloom than others. But, for some reason, many people consider Kevin Durant to be THE Rookie of the Year, bar none.
He's not. There are two players that are more deserving than the aforementioned Durant. Al Horford and Al Thornton.
Before I explain why Horford and Thornton are more deserving, I'll discuss the good and bad surrounding Kevin Durant.
The good: He leads all rookies in points with 19.5 points, and shoots 87.3 percent from the charity stripe. It seems as though he's finally learning what it takes to become more efficient.
The bad: He shoots 40.7 percent from the field and 28.3 percent from three-point land. His team stinks, they're 16-50. He's still a rail-thin kid.
The case for Horford: He leads all rookies in rebounding with 9.7 boards. He leads all rookies in double doubles with 17 and is almost averaging a double double with 9.6 points to go along with those 9.7 rebounds. And, his team is on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time 1999.
The case for Thornton: He's second in points at 12 per game in just 25 minutes. He's got solid shooting numbers: 43.4 FG percentage, 34.1 three-point percentage, 72.4 FT percentage. He's gone off on a tear lately, averaging 16.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.6 rpg, and 1.2 bpg in the month of March. He's fifth in double-doubles with three.
While Durant is no doubt a great rookie, and will be a star in the league, he's not the rookie of the year. Al Horford or Al Thornton is, you decide. Both guys are more efficient. Both do more for their teams. Both are more deserving of Rookie of the Year.