The 2020 Rookie of the Year race wasn’t really all that close. Considering durability, performance, and team success, Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, who won received 99 first-place votes, was obviously the top of his class last season.
It hasn’t always been an easy choice, however. In a discussion/debate that has since sparked a lot of conversation online, NBA fans thought back to 2004, when Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James were competing for the award themselves.
James was the winner that year, with 78 first-place votes in his name. But if you look at the stats, Carmelo Anthony was over LeBron in some major categories that included points, rebounds, field goal percentage, and 3-point percentage. The Nuggets also made the playoffs that year, whereas the Cavs finished 9th.
Who deserved the 2004 ROTY more? pic.twitter.com/ubLwooICNf
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) November 27, 2020
Considering the numbers, many feel as though Melo should have won it that year, even if he didn’t end up as the better player.
Melo all day, These stats don’t even tell the whole story Dude won Rookie of the month every month of the season.
— Adrian (@Vrrsh33) November 27, 2020
Listen I love LeBron. I think he’s the best player in the league rn. Me not saying LeBron, doesn’t mean I’m a hater. But looking at the pic I think Melo deserved it. But it’s ROTY so it really doesn’t matter much. LeBron has a far more better career than Melo after that season
— Arthur Moon (@_arthur_moon) November 27, 2020
Should’ve been Melo for sure, I’ve been saying that for years. Yes Bron is the better player career wise but Melo definitely had the better year and took his team to the playoffs.
— Dick Tips*️⃣ (@premiumk) November 27, 2020
Melo was robbed. Narratives decided that award.
— I Wonder is a Top 5 Kanye song (@TeikoJackson) November 27, 2020
Melo was robbed. Took his team to the playoffs. They gave it to LeBron because of narratives.
— Z (@zubeirrrrrr) November 27, 2020
Lol Melos squad won 43 games in the West in a year that saw six 50 win teams, and a total of ten 41 or more win teams. The East that year had two 50 win teams and only six 41 win teams. It’s Melo who should’ve won it as the Cavs only had 35 wins.
— Joshua David Stone (@PoetofGallifrey) November 27, 2020
Others quickly came to the defense of LeBron, arguing he was the better overall player with a worse supporting cast.
You gotta be kidding me if u think melo deserved it. Bron has always been better than him regardless of the stats! This should be a no-brained ffs
— Seun #SWATMUSTEND #EndSWAT #EndSARS ✊🏿🇳🇬 (@dicey_armaney) November 27, 2020
Melo had better/veteran roster than Cavs.
LBJ assist count towards pts scored which surpass Melo.
LBJ shooting % is lower bec he wasn’t a pure shooter yet and had to take more shots to give his team a chance
— Gordo💫 (@MyATLiens) November 27, 2020
Case Closed 🤷🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/m0XwvaEwbV
— RMFunk (@rmfunk14) November 27, 2020
Still Lebron. Rookie of the year has nothing to do with value to ones team. I think Lebron gets it just based off of assists and defense. The things melo had on Lebron were by such slim margins.
— dick triscuit (@ImjustheresoIw5) November 27, 2020
Needless to say, a good case can be made for both. Amazingly, they both won Rookie of the Month every single month that season. In the end, both players would go on to make All-Star teams and add their names to the history books. They’d become best friends and respected sports icons.
But for some, even 17-years-later, there’s just no shaking the fact that Anthony got robbed of an accolade that should have been his. Hopefully, Melo will help his fans forget about that by winning a Championship this upcoming season.