|NBA Awards Races|
What makes a Rookie of the Year? Truth be told, it's often little more than a stats-grab, an award given to the newbie who tallies the most points or hands out the most assists. To gather the types of numbers that win, however, a rookie has to earn starter's minutes, which usually come with a team digging itself out of one lottery while headed to the next.
Hence, Tyreke Evans gets the freedom to direct the Kings' offense, and Stephen Curry gets to play without having to make defense a priority in Golden State.
Early in the season, Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings seemed destined for those sorts of numbers and freedom, until a playoff race and a coach who breathes defense intervened. So while Jennings' numbers have declined from the early-season marks that made him the favorite for rookie honors, he's received a lesson in leadership. It hasn't been pretty, though, as his 36.8 percent shooting attests, but it could help him become a more complete player.
As for the short term, who gets the nod in the Rookie of the Year race this week -- Evans for his steady, across-the-board production, Curry for his recent dominance or Jennings for his guiding a playoff contender? Read on ...
(All stats and records are through March 2.)