Top five 2014/15 Rookie of the Year candidates featuring Nikola Mirotic

Top five 2014/15 Rookie of the Year candidates featuring Nikola Mirotic

So much for the Heralded 2014 NBA rookie class. This was supposed to be the draft everyone was trying to trade into because it was so deep and awesome. It's still awfully early, but so far this draft class has sucked something awful. In fact, the rookie of the year winner might come from the 2011 draft.

Take a look at these stats or below is the summarized view (stats up to games on 11/29)

Player MP PTS TRB AST PER TS% WS
Aaron Gordon 165 64 33 7 15.4 0.645 0.4
Nikola Mirotic 262 100 70 16 15.3 0.573 0.8
Jabari Parker 533 214 109 30 15.1 0.502 1
Jordan Clarkson 122 50 14 7 14.6 0.529 0.2
K.J. McDaniels 384 163 51 16 13.5 0.57 0.4
James Ennis 207 54 37 12 12.9 0.529 0.5
Tarik Black 255 65 78 4 10.8 0.53 0.6
Elfrid Payton 427 118 56 89 10.7 0.415 -0.1
Shabazz Napier 347 110 41 35 10.6 0.608 0.2
Nerlens Noel 427 111 91 23 10.4 0.474 0.1
Jusuf Nurkic 77 32 30 5 10.4 0.448 0
P.J. Hairston 177 69 21 8 10 0.504 0.1
Zach LaVine 234 88 24 30 10 0.515 -0.1
Spencer Dinwiddie 64 17 4 12 9.8 0.45 0.1
Gary Harris 58 21 7 3 9.8 0.49 -0.1
Andrew Wiggins 413 167 55 15 9.6 0.483 -0.4
Cleanthony Early 54 19 7 4 9.3 0.465 0
Bojan Bogdanovic 425 135 36 13 9 0.537 0.4
Marcus Smart 102 34 13 6 9 0.44 0
Kostas Papanikolaou 434 104 73 53 8.8 0.451 0.5
Dante Exum 312 82 27 40 8.3 0.48 0
Travis Wear 143 43 21 12 7.7 0.44 -0.1
Damjan Rudez 279 79 10 13 7.6 0.571 0.4
T.J. Warren 67 24 7 0 7.5 0.522 0
Joe Ingles 309 48 28 30 7.1 0.482 0
Rodney Hood 105 26 22 7 6.2 0.332 -0.1
Nik Stauskas 224 50 13 13 6.1 0.453 0.2
Will Cherry 69 15 5 8 5.9 0.347 0
Drew Gordon 61 17 16 2 5.5 0.45 -0.1
Doug McDermott 191 55 28 2 4.5 0.496 -0.2
Joe Harris 176 40 18 11 3.4 0.503 0
JaKarr Sampson 102 18 17 7 2.2 0.284 -0.2

#5 Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon's the PER leader of the rookie class at this point with a 15.4.  His scoring efficiency has been great as well.   He may have been the leader except that he had foot surgery and is presently out indefinitely.   There's no timeline for Gordon's return as it depends on how he responds to the surgery.

If Gordon can make it back in time to play the final half of the season and plays as well as he started off, then he will stand some chance at getting back in the race due to the fairly pedestrian competition.

However, since he's presently out indefinitely and there's a good chance he may not come back in time to make an impact or may not play as well when he comes back initially, he's somewhat of a long shot.

#4 Andrew Wiggins

Wiggins isn't off to a dazzling start so far, but he's got a couple things going for him that will keep him in the race.   First, being the #1 pick in the draft, people will always look and consider him.   If he improves over the course of the season then it will be noticed by the voters because of that expectation.

Second, he'll get a crapload of playing time in Minnesota.  Wiggins is one of maybe six rookies getting really serious burn every night.   This will allow him to work through his issues quicker than other players with a shorter leash, allow him more opportunities to impress voters, and allow him to accumulate more total stats.

#3 K.J. McDaniels

Will anyone notice McDaniels toiling away in Philly?   His scoring rate is presently tops of the rookie class, but unlike many of the guys close to his rate, he's doing it with really good efficiency with a TS% of 57%.

The problem for McDaniels is outside of that, he's adding very little to the game and not impacting it much in terms of rebounds, assists, or anything else.

He's also doing it for a team half the league wants to ban from the draft for tanking (which is ridiculous, but that's a different post).   McDaniels will continue to get plenty of opportunities and has performed well so far.  He'll likely go up against a lot of teams with the foot off the gas as well given how awful Philly is which might help him.

Of course, he'll get very little national spotlight attention, and league pass followers aren't going to be lining up to watch Philly (at least I sure as heck am not).

#2 Nikola Mirotic

Nikola Mirotic is 2nd in PER, 2nd in Win score, 3rd in TS%. He's 9th in total points and 8th in points per minute (but only 1.6 points per 36 minutes away from #1). Nikola Mirotic probably isn't your favorite for rookie of the year, but he's definitely up there right now.

Working for Mirotic is that the Bulls will be on national TV a ton this season, so he'll be seen by the voters.  He'll also play in plenty of meaningful games and have a chance to make the impact.

Working against Mirotic is that he simply won't get the minutes to accumulate gaudy stats.  Voters typically aren't looking at per minute/efficiency metrics, so the fact that he's extremely efficiently compared to many others with similar per minute scoring rates won't stack up well against the per game totals higher minute players can score.

His opportunity to truly impress also seems dependent on the Bulls having injuries.  A scenario where Mirotic has a shot to win ROY probably means problems for the Bulls because it means one of their big three big men is out for an extended period of time.   So far, Gasol, Noah, and Gibson have all missed time, and Gibson is still out.  It's not hard to envision a scenario where Mirotic can get significant minutes all season long even if it isn't a happy thought.

#1 Jabari Parker

Parker's third in PER behind Gordon and Mirotic, but only by a shade.  He's also playing a ton more minutes and a more integral role to his team than either.  His offensive efficiency is pretty poor sitting at .502, but his scoring rate is still decent and he's taking on a large burden on his team.

Beyond that, the Milwaukee Bucks have been surprisingly good this season posting a 10-8 record so far which makes them 5th in the East (yeah, it's okay to laugh at the East).  Parker was also a preseason favorite for ROY and was viewed as an NBA ready prospect, because of the preseason hype, it will be tough for someone to overcome him without having a considerably better season.

Given he has by far the largest role of any contenders, appears to have impacted wins, and voters probably aren't pouring over advanced stats, Parker's the strong favorite right now.

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  • Also working against Mirotic is the psychological feeling that he is not quite a rookie in the way the others are.

  • In reply to granvil:

    I was going in that direction. At least we know Jabari Parker is an actual rookie. After all the years of them saying Mirotic is eventually going to be here, playing in the Spanish league doesn't seem to have done much to develop his game.

  • In reply to jack:

    Didn't develop his game? What are you talking about? You wanted him to come in and start from Day One?

  • In reply to jack:

    lol yea Jack, are you serious? Mirotic arrived as a gift wrapped professional basketball player in every way besides his below average strength, which the Bulls will easily remedy in a short period of time. I've seen it every game, his skills are what you'd expect from an NBA veteran, he has everything that McDerm is missing. And these skills Mirotic came pre-configured with? McDerm will need two full seasons of work to amass these skills, which is fine, and relatively normal. When I say skills I'm referring to a rookie's level of comfort on the floor, his feeling for where the ball is moving, his overall confidence level; Mirotic might have a deer in the headlights stare, but he doesn't play like a deer in the headlights if that makes any sense. His game comes across as confident, fluid, and involuntary compared to your run of the mill rookie. You can just tell there are ten times the thoughts going through McDerm's head on the court compared to Mirotic's, McDerm might have 100% great thoughts, but it doesn't really mean shit when you're having them all at once. That overthinking manifests on the court in McDerm's uncomfortable(for lack of a better term) appearance and 'jerky' game. Point being maybe you mistook McDerm for Mirotic?

  • I haven't really seen the other guys play, except against the Bulls, but if Mirotic could get regular minutes, he might be the #1 candidate. He is clearly getting better the more that he plays, and the improvement seems to be happening quickly as a result of his professional experience. However, as you indicated that(regular minutes) clearly isn't happening without the Bulls having serious injury problems.

    McDaniels has stood out as an athlete and effort guy, but that doesn't win unless no one else steps up with numbers. Parker looks like the steady but sure candidate, are his numbers good enough right now to justify winning it? Wiggins will likely get stronger as the season progresses. I doubt that he will keep it up but Zack Lavine had 28 points on 11-14 shooting the other night against Kobe.

    I'd like to see Mirotic win it, if for no other reason, than it means that at least one of our rookies isn't a total bust. Not going to happen with Thibs, but maybe Noah, Gasol and Taj can alternate "strategic" rest days, once every 3-4 games so Mirotic can keep getting regular minutes. Or do the Bulls have enough faith in Mirotic to trade Taj for a starting wing? Don't see that happening this season, especially with our fragile bigs.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Bulls really should try to trade Taj, we all kinda knew it going into the season and it has been confirmed by the play of Mirotic and Gasol. Bulls FO should be overturning every rock to see if there's a way trade Taj in order to upgrade the wing position, though I suspect they're too in love with their guy Taj to do it.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    In principle I am for trading Taj, but the Bulls need to hit on the shooter they get for him. If there is not a big upgrade, then keep Taj and maybe settle for a lesser someone at SG.

    Nicola had a nice double-double today. Still think the coaches should try starting him and have Noah come off the bench. Just experiment some.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    wait so you're saying settle for a lesser someone at SG and move Jimmy Butler to SF then? It's easier to find a decent SF than a decent SG in this league.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Kobe is an awful player now but I dont think any of Lavine's points were defended by Kobe. You are always taking a risk when you pass on athleticism but to call Doug a bust at this point in the season is over dramatic. Only 16 games and only 4 of them he has played at least 15min.

    Someone pointed this out before but Korver only started making shots around the 20th game when he started getting consistent minutes.

  • If he won an MVP award on only 24mpg he can certainly win ROY. If he was put in the same position as the top rookies he would likely be the clear favourite at this point.

  • Rose needs to cut out those contested 3's. They're so annoying.

  • fb_avatar

    Who was it who said trade Miritoc Butler and Gibson for Love? I remember going at it with a few dudes on The Game, They said no don't trade Noah for Love trade the 3 guys instead, Thats why the game is going off the air

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