Heading into the 2013-14′ regular season, Utah Jazz rookie point guard Trey Burke, was a favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors. After an up and down season, and the votes counted, Burke finished third behind runner up Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic, and the winner of the Rookie of the Year voting, the Philadelphia 76er’s point guard Michael Carter-Williams.
Carter-Williams took home the award with 569 votes. Oladipo followed with 364, while Burke finished just above the Brooklyn Nets rookie Miles Plumlee. Burke got 96 votes.
If you look solely at the stat line of MCW, you can see why he was easily the winner of this award. MCW averaged 16.7 points per game to go along with 6.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists per games. He joins LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Jazz swing man Gordon Hayward, as the only players in the league to average more than 15, 5, & 5 during the season.
Burke had a pretty good season though. After he had a terrible summer league down in Orlando, there were question marks regarding Burke coming into the season. Then, during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Burke caught his hand on Chris Paul while attempting a pass and broke his index finger. Burke missed the rest of the preseason and also the first 12 games of the regular season. Burke played in 70 games this season for the Jazz, averaging 12.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. The 5.7 assists per game was the most in a season by any Jazz rookie. That includes guys like Jazz hall of famer John Stockton, and former Jazz man now Brooklyn Net, Deron Williams.
To me, this award was based too much off of MCW’s stat line. Yes, the stat line is extremely impressive and MCW is a fantastic player and will probably be one of the better young point guards in a few seasons. However, the point guard is the guy who is your floor general, who runs the team, and puts them in positions to win. I have a hard time giving a guy the Rookie of the Year award when he led his team to a 26 game losing streak, which tied the worst in NBA history.
Burke to me, still should have won this award. Being a Jazz fan, that makes me look like a homer big time. However, Burke was a huge difference maker for this Jazz team all season. When Burke missed the first 12 games of the season, the Jazz had no offense. The Jazz had no point guard to run the team and looked lost out on the court. In those 12 games, the Jazz went 1-11. When Trey came back and was handed to keys to run the team, everything looked better and the Jazz started winning some games.
To me, it shouldn’t be based solely on how your stat line looks. I think that should have a part in it, but I think the impact you have on your team should play just as much of an impact. I think MCW had an impact on his team, but the 26 game losing streak to me is something that got overlooked. Regardless, MCW had a great season and wins the 2013-14 NBA Rookie of the Year, and are currently sitting in the second position heading into the NBA Draft Lottery, and could potentially draft the 2014-15′ NBA Rookie of the Year if the cards play out right for them.