For the third time in NBA history, a Chicago Bulls player has been named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.
Point guard Derrick Rose learned that he had won the award on Wednesday, following in the footsteps Michael Jordan and Elton Brand (who was a co-ROY with Houston’s Steve Francis), who won the award in 1985 and 2000 respectively.
And while he might act cool and collected on the court, and not seem to succumb to pressure or media attention, Rose made it clear that winning this award was something he planned to do from the start of his young career.
“When I first came into the season, my biggest thing was to get this award,” Rose said according to the Associated Press. “I was telling you all that I didn’t care, but I did. You really do want this award. There was a lot of talent out there that I had to go against.”
Rose garnered a majority of the first place votes (111) to beat out the likes of Memphis’s OJ Mayo (5), the Net’s Brook Lopez (1) and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (1). The Clipper’s Eric Gordon rounded out the top five.
Mayo made a run of it, ranking first among rookies in points per game (18.5), but the pact that he could not lead his team to a playoff berth might have cost him.
Lopez far exceeded expectations, averaging 13 points and roughly eight rebounds per contest, while Westbrook played for a sub-par (but rapidly improving) Thunder team, and averaged 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
It comes as no hock that Rose was a finalist for the award, but at the beginning of the season, I was under the assumption that the ROY voting would come down to the two top players selected in the NBA draft in 2008, Rose, who went first overall, and now-Heat forward Michael Beasley.
Though he had a very good season, averaging 13.9 points per game, and pulling down 5.4 boards, Beasley was overshadowed by Rose, who notched 16.8 ppg and 6.3 assists.
Both men are currently in the midst of playoff pushes with their respective teams, and both will likely prove to be fine NBA talents. However, the trophy case don’t lie, and now Rose has some more impressive hardware to occupy some more space in it to go along with his 2009 NBA Skills Competition trophy.