FanDuel - WFBC

April 13, 2004

With the Nuggets clinching their first playoff bid since '95, the debate can truly begin now: who is Rookie of the Year? Carmelo (stats) or LeBron (stats)? Bonus material: Just how good is this year's rookie class?

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 10:26 AM - 29 comments

I believe they should split the award. Happened in 1995, with Grant Hill and Jason Kidd both going away with the hardware. The decision is that close, that I don't think you can realistically pick one over the other. Yeah, it's a cop-out, but so what...

posted by bcb2k2 at 10:40 AM on April 13

LeBron, hands down.

posted by corpse at 10:55 AM on April 13

Denver's postseason spot means it's gotta be a split. The NBA wouldn't dare skip over LeBron, not after he's lived up to his own level of hype.

posted by forksclovetofu at 11:30 AM on April 13

Split it. LeBron deserves it for individual achievement, Melo for leading his team to the playoffs. I'll be really disappointed if they give it to LeBron only.

posted by dusted at 11:34 AM on April 13

A split would be fine, but if you've got to go one or the other, I say it's gotta go to Carmelo for the simple reason that his team improved more in a much tougher conference and he's stepped up when he needed to. This rookie class has been a gift for the NBA. In Carmelo and LeBron you've got potential for another Bird/Magic or Jordan/the rest of the free world rivalry. The moments where those rivalries were at their peaks is when the NBA has been it's most popular. Add in Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Kirk Hinrich, the Mavs dynamic duo, and the potential for Luke Ridnaur to be the next Steve Nash (did anyone else watch the Sonics/Mavs game on Sat? The kid has got skills) and this is a pretty damned good season to be a rookie. Well, unless your name is Darko. Just remembered: Nick Collison should be playing in Seattle next year too. If he's as good as he was at Kansas, there's another one to add to the list.

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:08 PM on April 13

No one would complain if they went with Lebron, but Carmelo should get it on making the playoffs. Granted, he had a little more to work with, but picking him over James might also send a message to high schoolers that even one year of college is preferable to skipping it altogether.

posted by chicobangs at 12:22 PM on April 13

They've both stepped it up in my mind. Melo is averaging sick stats since he guaranteed the Nuggets would make it (something like 27, 8, 5) and Lebron has been as consistent as anyone could hope. If it comes down to talent and potential then go with Lebron, but I think Melo is a better clutch player and a little more developed right now. The numbers suggest Lebron, but if you watch the games its hard to argue him over Melo. It seems his entire team has improved as he has.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:42 PM on April 13

Who was the *better* player this year? Clearly Carmelo, who had great stats AND made his teammates better.

posted by djacobs at 01:08 PM on April 13

His teammates were already better, at least better than Bron's. Put Bron on the nuggets and they are at least the 6th seed in the west.

posted by corpse at 01:10 PM on April 13

This is an individual award. This is not the MVP (or MVR) award. Whether or not the team made the playoffs is irrelevant. Aside from the respective rookie studs, Denver added Andre Miller (2nd in team scoring), Voshon Lenard (3rd in team scoring) and Earl Boykins (5th in team scoring) along with an extra 45 games from the extremely underrated Marcus Camby. As for Cleveland, they added Jeff McInnis, Eric Williams, Tony Battie and Kedrick Brown partway through the season. These are all fine players but not on the level with Denver's improvements. As for raw numbers, LeBron and Melo stats are strikingly similar across the board except for assists, where Bron has a 3 APG advantage. James is also a better defender with more steals and blocks. Carmelo was great but LeBron was greatest.

posted by Scott Carefoot at 01:34 PM on April 13

LeBron, LeBron and LeBron--21 pts 5 rebounds and 6 assists per? right out of high school, it's pretty obvious that he's not just a great rookie but a paradigm shift. And, Ill bet you he'd trade ROY for a playoff spot.

posted by pastepotpete at 01:37 PM on April 13

LeBron James - The Human Paradigm Shift. Love it, pastepotpete. Right up there with "The Human Highlight Reel".

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:46 PM on April 13

If I had to pick one, it would be 'Melo. A split would be ok. Both did pretty well this year. on preview: ufez, James is the next 'Nique?

posted by jasonspaceman at 01:50 PM on April 13

No, jason, I think James has a much more multi-dimensional game than 'Nique ever did, IIRC. 'Nique's peak was a long time ago and I was fairly young, but I don't really remember him doing much but driving and slamming. I just thought the nickname (Human Paradigm Shift) would be classic and as appropriate as Wilkins'.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:59 PM on April 13

What corpse said!!! There is no question in my mind it's LeBbron. Not just for his impressive stats, but also for his uncanny poise, ability to take over a game and his capacity to raise the play of his fellow teammates (even if the Cavs missed the payoffs). This not to say that Mello, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Kirk Hinrich and Luke Ridnaur did not also have impressive rookie campaigns (because they did).

posted by Bag Man at 02:35 PM on April 13

I totally underestimated LeBron, so I'm giving him his due props now.

posted by Bag Man at 02:37 PM on April 13

I think Darko should win it. But if he doesn't, I'd say LeBron.

posted by 86 at 02:49 PM on April 13

This not to say that Mello, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Kirk Hinrich and Luke Ridnaur did not also have impressive rookie campaigns (because they did). No love for Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels, bag man? I know I've got some home-team bias, but they've both had much better years than anyone anticipated. Especially Daniels, who came on as an undrafted free agent. I think he'll be getting a bit of a raise this summer.

posted by Ufez Jones at 03:05 PM on April 13

No love for Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels, bag man? Here's the love: I officially give props to your boyz Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels.

posted by Bag Man at 03:15 PM on April 13

Thanks Bag Man. Anything I can do for you in return? Bathe your dog? Clip your toenails? Shave romantic messages into a llama and then parade said llama by your sweetie's window?

posted by Ufez Jones at 05:00 PM on April 13

Man, Ufez, I heard that the Bag Man really needs a nail clipping, so that is one sweet deal. Lebron. In fact, he was so good he ought to go all camelcase: LeBron!

posted by billsaysthis at 11:15 PM on April 13

I'm just saying: Tonight...Daniels, who again, was an undrafted free agent (walk on) played all 48 minutes, scored 30 pts., 8 rebs, 7 asts, 4 stls. What a fucking gift.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:19 PM on April 13

Lebron.

posted by blarp at 09:15 AM on April 14

I think 'Melo is a premier scorer. His one on one is just awesome. 'Bron, well, he is everything man, but his scoring could use some work. I like scorers. Melo. His overall game will come around.

posted by garfield at 10:53 AM on April 14

Ufez: Do you think the Mavs dump Delk to give Daniels more minutes (not to mention a bigger contract)?

posted by lilnemo at 01:31 PM on April 14

Ufez Jones, Give props to my boy Kirk Hinrich and it's all good. billsaysthis, My nails are just fine...thanks

posted by Bag Man at 01:47 PM on April 14

Oh, I wathced Hinrich during all 12 of his years at KU*. I know the kid's got game. And, I believe he's the only rook to nab a triple-double this year. Ufez: Do you think the Mavs dump Delk to give Daniels more minutes (not to mention a bigger contract)? Delk's def. gone after this year. Travis Best is maybe worth holding on to for another year though. Delk really hasn't gotten much playing time. He started out the year strong and was getting some good playing time when Nash was out for a few games with back problems, but that was before the rookies emerged. Then, he had that ankle sprain and really hasn't seen much time lately. They'll bring Best in when there's a PG/SG that Nash can't handle defensively (AI is one game in particular that I remember Best getting a ton of time on the court for defensive purposes, although that was probably a combo ability/familiarity with AI's game). The way I see it, both Delk and Best will go unprotected during the expansion draft. If neither are taken, they'll probably re-sign Best and let Delk bail. But the way Nelson's been playing Daniels and Howard, I don't see either Delk or Best (if either are around next year) doing much more than being role players or janitors sweeping up a blowout game. *yeah, it's a bit hyperbolic, but damn, it seems like Kirk was in Lawrence forever.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:59 PM on April 14

Melo is averaging sick stats since he guaranteed the Nuggets would make it (something like 27, 8, 5) So I read this and I was like "WOW, I didn't realize Melo was playing that good. I gotta check out those games" So I went and checked it out and he isn't playing that good. His pts/game hit 27 for one month but they went back to 24 pts/game and for the life of me I can't figure out what the 8 and 5 are.

posted by Mike McD at 07:14 PM on April 14

Oh, I wathced Hinrich during all 12 of his years at KU*. I know the kid's got game. And, I believe he's the only rook to nab a triple-double this year. Thanks for giving da props!

posted by Bag Man at 04:22 PM on April 16

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