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Basketball Wed Mar 25 2009

Who is Winning Rookie of the Year?

An easy question to answer really, Derrick Rose of your Chicago Bulls will more than likely be hoisting the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy come the off-season awards extravaganza. Rose has the Bulls competing for a playoff spot a year after Chicago won the draft lotto and, thus, selected Rose with the #1 pick and has provided a great boost to Chicago's heretofore sluggish and uninspiring offense.

However, should Rose's inspired play and emergence as a point guard of the future be the only factors? The media hands out the ROY award and, honestly, I don't have the faith in them to not simply skim the candidates list, spy "Rose, Derrick," and auto vote him or have their intern/lackey vote for him. Rose --to most media types-- is probably the most household of rookies this season; yet, Russell Westbrook has been steadily and silently dominating teams all season long in the forgotten NBA outpost of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Head-to-head, the squads have split the season series and aptly enough, Rose and Westbrook have both emerged from their first season of matching up, with similarly balanced games with neither player truly getting the better of the other. Statistically, Rose is the slightly better scorer and distributor averaging about one more point and one more dime per game, yet, Westbrook has had more double-double and the only triple-double twixt the two rook points. Furthermore, (and adjust the nerd-glasses cuz we're diving into some numbers) Westbrook has a better scoring efficiency and a +2.7 Roland Rating against Rose's startlingly low -2.6.

Numbers are just numbers and Rose will be the one (maybe) who leads his team into the playoffs in his rookie season and that should say something, even if it's the 8th seed in a weak Eastern Conference; to wit Westbrook's OKC Thunder are pretty bad --but not that bad-- but, yeah, they wouldn't even be sniffing the 8th seed in the East let alone the mighty Western Conference.

No matter what the true winners are the fans who seemingly every year ('03: LeBron, Wade, 'Melo and Bosh; '05: CP3 and Deron Williams; '07: Durant and Oden; '08: Rose and Westbrook.) get more and more reason to watch and bear witness to what is developing into a second Golden Age of basketball --the first being the Magic-Bird-Jordan Pax Romana of the 80s-90s.

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