Damian Lillard: Rookie Of The Year?

As we’ve progressed through over 1/4 of the season, questions start to ring out. One of those questions: Who should win rookie of the year?

I never really passed this thought through my head, but on page 129 of the Hardwood Paroxysm season preview they thought of just that. You can see, the consensus is basically either Damian Lillard or Anthony Davis. Over a quarter of the way through the season, it’s looking like it’s Damian Lillard.

Obviously, the contest for this season isn’t over, but if the season ended right now, would Lillard be a good candidate? Let’s take a look at the last 5 winners of ROY that were point guards, and recap how they were in order. At the end, we’ll see whether Lillard is deserving or not.

Blue- Worst out of the sixRed-Best out of the six

Blue- Worst out of the six
Red-Best out of the six

Player Comparison-Guards Who Won ROY (ADVANCED)

Blue- Worst out of the six
Red-Best out of the six

Allen Iverson: Allen Iverson, the oldest ROY out of the people I picked, was probably the most prolific, but was also pretty bad in some stats you don’t see a lot. The biggest reason he won rookie of the year was most likely because of his scoring average (23.5 PPG) which was 5.4 PPG higher than the next-highest scorer. Other than that, Iverson didn’t really play amazing compared to the other rookies. He had the worst true shooting percentage, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and the most turnovers. All of those stats are things you don’t see a lot, but are essential to a team’s success. Essentially, Iverson was the worst non-three point shooter out of these rookies and also probably made the most mistakes.

Steve Francis: Steve Francis was a hidden player out of the past six point guard ROY winners. Unsurprisingly, he also didn’t have the best stats. He isn’t the leader in any category, but at the same time is also the worst in only one category (turnover percentage). In pretty much every stat you look at, Francis is even with most of the bunch, with the exception of his excessive turnovers.

Chris Paul: When looking at normal stats, Chris Paul didn’t have a fantastic season. He had the lowest PPG and wasn’t very prolific in any category- except for the ones that you don’t see as much of. Chris Paul’s stats are kind of like the opposite of Allen Iverson’s. Iverson’s were cool initially, but once you look at all of the less-popular stats, he didn’t excel. For Chris Paul, compared to all the others in their rookie season, he averaged the most assists and steals and the least turnovers per game, all stats that you like to see out of a point guard. If you keep going to advanced stats, Chris Paul kills. The most impressive stat out of all of this is that he had the best offensive AND defensive rating (114 and 104, respectively) and had more win shares (10.4) than any other player on this list by at least four. Chris Paul’s rookie season was a great one.

Derrick Rose: Derrick Rose had a great rookie season, as did everyone else on this list, but not as good as some of the others that we see. The only stat category he led in that’s worth noting is field goal percentage, and that didn’t even translate to the highest true shooting percentage or effective field goal percentage. He also was the worst in assist percentage and steal percentage, categories you don’t want to be the worst in as a point guard.

Kyrie Irving: Kyrie Irving. Last year’s hidden gem. No one really knew who he was until towards the end of the year, when everyone realized how good he was. Irving’s strong suit was definitely his shooting. He had the highest true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage, free throw percentage, three point percentage (he blew out the competition with a39.9% shooting beyond the arc) and was second in field goal percentage. His downfall, though, was the other aspects of his game. He was second-worst in steals per game and the worst in assists per game, showing his lack of excellency in other areas. Nevertheless, he had a fantastic rookie season.

Damian Lillard: Through 1/4 of the season, Lillard is the best candidate for ROY. His stats are just about as good as all of the other ROYs that were point guards, too. He’s not the best in any category by any means, and is the worst in the win share category by a landslide, but is pretty on par with the other guys. He’s one of the better shooters, passers and point scorers in general.


The Final Verdict: Damian Lillard wouldn’t be the best guard who won ROY in the past 15 years, but he also wouldn’t be the worst. If he stays on course for the rest of the year, his stats will fit right in with all of the other guys. Keep an eye on Damian Lillard. He’s following a good path.


About Jameson Draper

2 Responses to Damian Lillard: Rookie Of The Year?

  1. John Doe says:

    You realize win shares are a cumulative total…so you have to multiply by 4 to project lillard’s season total for win share, putting him at ~7.6.

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