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It’s official, Kyrie Irving is your NBA Rookie of the Year

May 15, 2012, 10:53 AM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v New Jersey Nets Getty Images

This race had about as much suspense as the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the Thunder/Lakers series, but now it is official:

Kyrie Irving is your NBA Rookie of the Year.

The announcement and presentation came Tuesday morning in Cleveland, where Irving had praised heaped upon him by his coach Byron Scott (via Jason Lloyd of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Sulia):

“From a coaching standpoint, one of the easiest guys I ever had to coach and deal with,” (Scott said).

Irving, in turn, thanked his father.

“I love you man. We’re going to bring this back home, put it on the mantle and put flashing lights on it so it shines throughout the house.”

Irving was the runaway winner of the award, getting 117 of the 120 first place votes (and I’d love to hear the explanation from whoever voted for Kawhi Leonard and Iman Shumpert). The former Duke player and No. 1 overall pick last June averaged 18.5 points and 5.5 assists a game, shot 39.9 percent from three, became a dangerous late game threat, and gave the fans in Cleveland hope for the future.

Here are the top 5 vote getters (with total points):

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland (592)
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota (170)
Kenneth Faried, Denver (129)
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio (47)
Iman Shumpert, New York (33)

  1. allmyteamsareterrible - May 15, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    It was a pleasure watching him play this year. It would have been interesting to see the outcome if Rubio had not been injured, but he was very deserving of the award. He exceeded everyone’s expectations this year, and we (cavs fans) look forward to the great things this young man will do on the court.

  2. zidanevalor - May 15, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Am I the only one that finds it odd that this award was officially announced after the MVP award? Shouldn’t the MVP award be last?

    Anyway, congrats to Kyrie on this runaway honor.

    • pglive21 - May 15, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      They can’t always do it in the same order. The NBA usually presents the award to the player at one of their team’s home playoff games (if they are playing in the playoffs). Sometimes they have to guess on whether a team will still be playing in later rounds. That’s likely why they gave out the Most Improved Player to Ryan Anderson in the first round, because they suspected he wouldn’t be around in the second round and he deserves to receive it in front of his home fans. They were fairly confident that Lebron James and James Harden would be playing in the second round so that’s probably why they didn’t give out those awards until then. Other times (in Irving’s case) they probably just fit it in around the other awards since the playoffs don’t affect him.

    • pglive21 - May 15, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      But yea, congrats are in honor and the award is definitely deserved. Really should have been unanimous.

      • zidanevalor - May 15, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        I thought that’s what the NBA did, but the NBA announced the MVP award on Saturday, and the Heat didn’t play until Sunday. Plus, by then the Heat-Pacers series was already scheduled. So why not announce ROY Saturday and MVP today?

        It doesn’t matter at all in the big picture. I just found it odd.

  3. canehouse - May 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Kid has an amazing future. I watched him in person this year… great watch!!!

  4. zblott - May 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Sounds like an obvious pick, but it isn’t, not when you consider what Kenneth Faried did. Irving’s coach grilled him in the media for his defense, his turnovers were really high and never improved as the year went on, it took him 7.7 more shots/gm to average 7.6 more pts/gm than Faried as a starter, and Faried put up Rebounding Rates so dominant (including 1st in NBA in OffensiveReb%) that just about no rookie ever has ever been so dominant in any area.

    • BrownsTown (the 1st one, not the new guy using my name) - May 15, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      FG % is largely a function of shot selection, so you can’t really compare the FG % of a PG and a PF. That said, Irving shot 47% from the field and 39% from 3PT. Those are really good numbers for a PG, so I can’t buy any sort of efficiency argument when comparing anybody to Irving’s scoring.

      Faried had a good year, but all things equal, I’d always defer to the guy handling the ball the most, especially with the game on the line. When you consider the “clutch moments,” that also weighs in Irving’s favor. Nobody is going to isolate Faried with the game on the line.

      • zblott - May 15, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        Be careful isolating 1 or 2 individual stats and assigning value to them, because there is a reason that EVERY single “advanced” stat that measures overall contribution to a team favors Faried for the year, even all of the cumulative ones that should greatly favor Irving who played far more minutes.

        Win Shares: Faried 4.6 (0.212 per48), Irving 4.1 (0.125 per48)
        Wins Produced: Faried 7.54 (0.295 per48), Irving 4.29 (0.132 per48)
        Advanced +/-: Faried +0.41, Irving -0.95
        Points Over Par/48: Faried 6.1, Irving 1.0
        PER: Faried 21.9, Irving 21.4

    • borderline1988 - May 15, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Faried is an energy guy. Very little actual basketball skill.
      Not to take away from the fact that I love the guy – he made the Nuggets a lot better and was a menace on the boards.

      Irving’s shooting percentages were tremendous though – probably better than most guards in the league, and he was on a terrible team, meaning defensive coverages were often focused on him. Faried’s shots were mostly dunks and layups, so you can’t really compare efficiency.

      Irving is just a baller. I remember a quote from one of his Duke teammates at the beginning of his college year, something like “that guy is just really good at basketball”. Not crazy athletic, but just a complete offensive player who can score from anywhere and make any type of play.

  5. dunkindan - May 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Faried is a beast. I’d love playing with that guy. I’m happy with our rookie this year. Klay Thompson had a great season with a lot of development and confidence towards the end. Can’t wait til Bogut and Curry are healthy.

    • cosanostra71 - May 15, 2012 at 3:53 PM

      I like Klay Thompson a lot too. I don’t know if he’ll be a star, but he is going to be a very good player. Great touch and has good instincts.

  6. jonirocit - May 16, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    No doubt Irving is rookie of the year but look at the balloting ….clay Thompson and isaiah Thomas 6-7 wtf seriously who votes? Thomas won rookie of the month 2 out of the 4 months during the season … These dudes are clueless . How the hell did a scrub get a first place vote … Terrible!

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