Nobody knows how the 2019-20 season is going to end. What we do know, however, is who the Rookie of The Year will be.
Amid the league’s suspension, ESPN took a poll asking media members (who vote on the actual awards) to vote on MVP and Rookie of the Year to determine who would have won had the NBA season been completed.
Giannis won the MVP race by a mile and, it seems, Ja did the same for Rookie of The Year.
ESPN polled a mixture of local beat writers from across the league as well as national and international reporters. And to simulate the voting process, we used the same point system as the NBA at the conclusion of the regular season — every first-place vote is worth five points, with second-place votes worth three points and third-place votes worth one point. Behind Morant and his perfect 350 points came Williamson, with 51 of the 70 second-place votes along with 11 third-place selections for a total of 164 points.
Zion did not get a single first-place vote, mostly due to his absence in the first half of the season. Morant. meanwhile, has been leading the Grizzlies to the playoffs. And if Morant does go on to win the award unanimously, he would join Karl-Anthony Towns, Damian Lillard, and Blake Griffin as the only players to do so over the past 30 seasons.
ESPN’s rookie of the year straw poll results
Ja Morant – 350 PTS
Zion Williamson – 164 PTS
Kendrick Nunn – 77 PTS
Brandon Clarke – 18 PTS
Eric Paschall – 8 PTS
RJ Barrett – 5 PTS
Coby White – 5 PTS
Rui Hachimura – 1 PT
PJ Washington – 1 PT
Tyler Herro – 1 PT
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) March 24, 2020
Despite stellar performances from Nunn, Paschall, and even Zion (upon his return), Ja has been consistent all season long, averaging 17.6 points and 6.9 assists per game on 49% shooting.
It’s a well-earned victory for the former Murray State star.