Last year, Stephen Curry shot 44 percent from three-point range on his way to averaging 18 points and six assists in his rookie campaign. Brandon Jennings lit up the Warriors for 55 points and led the Bucks to an encouraging playoff berth.
Neither of them won Rookie of the Year.
In one of the stiffest competitions ever for the prestigious award, Tyreke Evans won by becoming only the fourth rookie in history to average at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game.
However, some years the competition is a bit less fierce. In 2001, the NBA gave the Rookie of the Year award to Mike Miller mostly just because they had to give it to someone following one of the most disappointing draft classes ever. Simply put, there is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to young players. Injuries, shooting slumps, or just cracking under pressure can undercut any seemingly promising career.
The best example to prove this is by looking back at the top picks in each draft and comparing them to the Rookies of the Year. Despite the fact that many of these players were "can't-miss" prospects, only three of the last 12 first overall picks have won the Rookie of the Year (and only two have done so on their own, as Elton Brand shared the crown with Steve Francis in 1999).
|Draft Year||No. 1 Pick||Rookie of the Year|
|1998||Michael Olowakandi||Vince Carter|
|1999||Elton Brand||Steve Francis/Elton Brand (shared)|
|2000||Kenyon Martin||Mike Miller|
|2001||Kwame Brown||Pau Gasol|
|2002||Yao Ming||Amar'e Stoudemire|
|2003||LeBron James||LeBron James|
|2004||Dwight Howard||Emeka Okafor|
|2005||Andrew Bogut||Chris Paul|
|2006||Andrea Bargnani||Brandon Roy|
|2007||Greg Oden||Kevin Durant|
|2008||Derrick Rose||Derrick Rose|
|2009||Blake Griffin||Tyreke Evans|
So who will do it this year? Will it be the first pick, John Wall, the former first pick, Blake Griffin, or someone else? If history is any indication, any prediction can only be described as an educated guess.