NBA Rookie of the Year Race Heating up

When Jabari Parker went down with a torn ACL in mid-December, you could have just handed the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award to Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins and that would be that. While Wiggins is still the clear front runner for the award, some other rookies are starting to get their name into the pool for the award, as there are some candidates in there making sure it’s not a cakewalk for Wiggins.

Nikola Mirotic 

Getty Images
Getty Images

We’ve all seen Nikola Mirtoic’s numbers this month. With both Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler missing some games during the month of March, Nikola Mirtoic stepped up big for the Bulls, and is currently averaging 20.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks during in March, and is getting more consideration for being a top rookie in the NBA. His season averages aren’t anything like his March numbers however, which will keep him finishing 2nd or 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting, as Mirtoic only averages 9.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and .7 blocks in an average 19.8 minutes per game.

Nerlens Noel 

AP
AP

You may be thinking to yourself, wait, how is Nerlens Noel a rookie when he was drafted in 2013? Noel didn’t play a game in what would have been his rookie season last year due to rehabbing from a torn ACL in college, so he didn’t count as a rookie that year. Similar to Mirtoic, Noel is also having a good month of March, as Noel is averaging 13.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks during the month, and his most recent game versus the Los Angeles Clippers proves how dominate he’s been this month, as he had 34 points and 12 rebounds in the game. Noel’s averages just like Mirtoic however, are not on the same level as Wiggins’ as Noel averages 9.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks overall on the season. It’s still been exciting to see Wiggins actually having to work for the award, and he did it again tonight.

Andrew Wiggins

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

We saved the best for last. Wiggins is just a notch above these guys, and you know what they say, numbers never lie. Let’s take a look at the number of 20-point and 30-point games this season.

20-point plus games:

  • Andrew Wiggins: 24
  • Nikola Mirtoic: 8
  • Nerlens Noel: 2

30-point plus games:

  • Andrew Wiggins: 4
  • Nikola Mirtoic: 0
  • Nerlens Noel: 1

This is one of the many statistics that separate Wiggins from the rest of the class. We however would like to thank Nikola Mirtoic and Nerlens Noel from bringing some interest to this race, as it has been fun to watch with the season winding down.

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