2004 Nba Rookie Of The Year – Gilly April 2, 2020 April 2, 2020 0 Comments basketball, carmelo anthony, lebron james, nba, rookie of the year

When you dig deeper into it, awards in many sports have some absurd history. Some are great precursors to a great career (2006, MLB Rookies of the Year, Justin Verlander and Hanley Ramirez). Others seemed fine at the time, but may have deteriorated as they aged later (Steve Nash’s two back-to-back MVPs probably should have gone to Shaq and Kobe).

2004 Nba Rookie Of The Year

2004 Nba Rookie Of The Year

They say hindsight is 20/20, but I would say the way we look back is a little blurry. Some sporting moments and seasons are permanently etched in our memories. Something of an emotional equivalent of a tattoo, or a hair-raising moment from your childhood that is never really forgotten.

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On that theory, awards voters and fans make mistakes, and can still defend those mistakes to this day. One of my earliest “bold” games that I proudly admit to this day (and randomly tweet about when it pervades my stream of consciousness) is the one you totally love. Can ridicule. This is not an excitement. Not even an April Fool’s Day joke! Those holidays should be canceled this year, perhaps even indefinitely. It’s an excuse for corporate Twitter accounts to generate publicity/mild controversy or for common people to deliberately get heartbreak for their friends and family. Whatever the case – the opinions on this blog are very real to me. I hope you’ll open your minds (and your hearts) to the harsh reality I’m about to give you:

There, I said it. First let me give some basic questions/answers that I would expect in an old school style debate:

Yes, I watched both LeBron and Carmelo play during this season. What NBA fan hasn’t?! Even a 10-year-old kid understood that LeBron was special, and that the NBA was about to change forever. Also, funnily enough, the Celtics and I were in a very strange place at the time, but I was thrilled with this Lakers team this season. Mitch Kupchak of the 03-04 super team created such an electric concept for 10 year old me. Bringing in both Karl Malone and Gary Payton was unimaginable.

I’ve also gone back and watched highlights from both Melo and LeBron as well as some dynamic rookie performances. For Melo, I recommend taking a look at some of the performances. You can look at his 36-point, 11 rebound effort in his final season against a Suns team from before the Steve Nash era. You can also see him drop 35 points, and watch Kobe and Shaq go head-to-head with the Lakers in a 1-point loss. Yes, that was the loaded 03-04 Lakers team that won 56 games but ultimately lost everything to Detroit in the Finals. Not impressed yet? How about 29 and 8 against a 61 win Indiana Pacers team. I think a lot of people have forgotten how good the Pacers were at that time, just a few months before they had shocked the sporting world with the infamous ‘Malice at the Palace’ debacle.

Lebron James Biography

Overall, Melo put in some great performances. Especially for a rookie, on a team that has won 43 games. These weren’t empty statistics, these were team-leading scoring efforts.

Yes, the Nuggets made the playoffs, and that’s seen as a knock on Melo’s case as Roy. But, what was overlooked is that although their roster was far more complete than LeBron’s Cavs squad, it was Melo’s play as a rookie that led to his wild turnaround. In fact, Denver’s 17 wins changed from 2002-03 to 2003-04, a 26-game improvement!!! This is the largest jump in NBA history by a team that won fewer than 20 games the previous season. This occurred when the Nuggets lost their best player from the previous year, Juwan Howard, as well as their second leading scorer and future 2008 NBA champion, defensive specialist, James Posey.

Overall, rookie Melo was a huge contributor to the Nuggets’ overall team success, and he should be commended for that, not punished.

2004 Nba Rookie Of The Year

No, the difference in minutes played over the course of a season is negligible. In fact, their usage rates are also quite similar.

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Simple explanation for usage rate for anyone wondering: That’s the % that the player

4. Well, team success aside – wasn’t LeBron the more efficient rookie with a better stat line by now?

No, not really at all I guess! But, in an effort to be fair, I’ll let you decide:

LeBron’s biggest advantage in their comparable stat lines is in assists. It would make sense for a player who was basically the primary ball handler from day one in Cleveland (except for Jeff McInnis’ 31 games after the mid-season acquisition). The assist to turnover ratio also tips heavily in LeBron’s favor – but, other than that, it’s basically Melo across the board!

I Should Have Won That; Everybody Knows

Advanced statistics are a mixed bag, and like most statistics, can basically be manipulated to influence an argument with a very specific statistic. For the integrity of the debate, I will not bring out anything objectionable. But one minor stat I found interesting was the huge difference in corner 3s between Melo and Braun. 28.6% of LeBron’s 3 pointer attempts in 03-04 were from the corner, only 7.9% of Melo’s 3 pointers were in exact agreement from the corner! As we now know, the corner 3 is one of the most efficient and profitable shots for teams… which means the Nuggets have less than easy spots for Melo to shoot 3s! And yet, as a rookie he still shot better than 3? Yes, I’ve probably contradicted myself by self-proclaimed high-integrity, but advanced analysis, baby – LFG!!!!

In short, that’s how I instinctively felt at the time, and to this day, I’m actually rooting for Carmelo Anthony over LeBron James as 2003-2004 Rookie of the Year! LeBron was fully deserving of Rookie of the Year in almost any season, but in 2003–2004, Melo was more deserving. Does this take away from LeBron’s legacy? No,not at all. Still an all-time NBA great on and off the court. I don’t think losing Roy should change the way the NBA has changed over the last 17 years… but… what if… ?

Stay tuned for more potential blogs on the historical game revisions I suggest, presented with a heavy amount of hindsight in 2020.

2004 Nba Rookie Of The Year

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