Another round of TGH staff picks is upon us. This time we’re picking our NBA Rookie of the Year. The 2019-2020 rookie class is a deep and well-rounded group but two players stood out at the top above their peers. Here are The Game Haus picks for the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Spencer: Zion Williamson
This was an easy choice for me personally. That isn’t meant as disrespect to Ja Morant. In a normal NBA season, he would have run away with the award, being the starting point guard on a playoff team is no easy feat. But Zion Williamson is no normal NBA player and is possibly the most dynamic player to enter the NBA since LeBron James.
In the short 19 game span, we got to witness Zion he thoroughly dominated the league from the start. To come into the NBA and immediately solidify yourself as a top 5 player at your position is practically unheard of but Zion did just that. What was most impressive was his scoring. Almost 24 points per game at 58 percent shooting is insane efficiency for a rookie, especially for a guy who stands “just” 6 foot 6.
If the 2020 season continued as normal I believe that Zion would have done more than enough to win the 2019-2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
Ben: Ja Morant
Rookie of the Year is extremely difficult to pick.
One of the front runners has played nearly every game of the season, and NBA fans would know exactly what to expect from him if the season continued. The other has not even played 20 games, and it is nearly impossible to assume what he would go on to do.
The comparing of stats falls flat in the face of this discrepancy. Simply put, though, it is easier to assume Ja Morant’s production would continue, while Zion Williamson’s would plateau as he plays more games.
Morant’s 17.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game on a middling Grizzlies team are impressive. His 30 minutes per game also speaks to how he has become an important part of the team. No-fault to Williamson, due to his injuries, but the Pelicans have survived without him. Memphis would not be the eighth seed without Morant.
Adam: Ja Morant
Ja Morant should run away with this season’s Rookie of the Year award. Morant has led the Memphis Grizzlies to the eighth seed in the loaded Western Conference without any All-Stars on his team. Morant leads all rookies in assists and his averages of nearly 18 points and seven assists per game have only been matched by 5 other rookies in NBA history; Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Damon Stoudemire, Allen Iverson and Trae Young.
Going into this season Zion Williamson was seen as a clear lock to win this year’s Rookie of the Year award, but a preseason injury kept Williamson out for much of the season. At this point, Morant has played over three times as many games as Williamson and has the Grizzlies three games ahead of Williamson’s Pelicans for the final playoff spot in the West, despite having what most consider as a better supporting cast with teammates like Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball, as well as All-Star Brandon Ingram.
Zach: Ja Morant
While Zion Williamson was playing fantastic basketball since returning from injury, the Rookie of the Year Award would have to go to the player selected right behind him: Memphis’ Ja Morant.
Right out of the gate, Morant’s electric had made the Grizzlies, who were expected to be at the bottom of the West, a playoff contender. Jarren Jackson Jr. has been great as well in his second year, but Morant, already one of the league’s most athletic guards, leads the way.
Morant, compared to Zion, also has less talent around him, in addition to playing the full season. Morant, averaging 17.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.9 assists this year, is the deserving Rookie of the Year.
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