NBA Rookie of the Year winners of this decade: Where are they now?
Quite exiting to watch huh? We always love to see if they were worth their draft pick, if they can transfer their talent from college or overseas to the pro's.
This year draft class appears to be very deep, and very interesting. More so than before a lot of rookies are making bigger impacts on teams. Because of this the race has thickened considerably, with Bulls guard Derrick Rose and Grizzlies star O.J Mayo leading the way.
But instead of merely picking out my favourite or ranking this seasons prospectives, I've decided to look a bit more at the award itself.
The rookie of the year trophy- the Eddie Gottlieb trophy named after the 1946-47 NBA Championship winning Philadelphia Warriors team.
How are the previous winners of the award faring? Let us look back at this decade's Rookie of the Year winners, and see how they are doing in the NBA now.
In the first part, we'll be looking at the first four trophies handed out since 2000. Make sure to come back for the second half of the article in a few days.
Back then : The last co-award that was given out by the NBA was back at the turn of the century, and was shared by the Bulls Elton Brand and the Rockets Steve Francis
Elton was the last 1st overall pick of the 90's, and adjusted incredibly quickly to the NBA after a great career at Duke. He was immediately heralded as the saviour of the new-look Bulls after Michael Jordan's departure. He played in 81 games that year while averaging literally 20 and 10, something some all-stars still can't do (I'm looking your way Amare).
Steve Francis was an all-American at the university of Maryland, and was subsequently picked 2nd overall by the Vancouver Grizzlies. Francis famously declared he did not want to play for the Grizzlies, and after much controversy was traded to the Houston Rockets that same summer in the largest deal in NBA history. Francis went on to average 18 points along with 5 rebound and 6 assists per game.
Elton was one of the bigger stories of the past summer, signing a free-agent deal with the Philadelphia 76ers after being one of the all-time great Clippers for most of the decade. Brand is still all-star caliber, but is struggling with his new team.
Though being one of the more durable players of the generation, Brand missed last season with an Achilles Tendon injury, and has just dislocated his shoulder, making him unavailable for another month.
Since winning the R.O.Y Brand has been named an all-star twice (02,06) and made the all-NBA second team (06)
Francis, after unsuccessful stints in Orlando and New York (though they were filled with Youtube highlights), re-signed with the Houston Rockets at the beginning of last season. He only managed to play in ten games however before having season ending surgery due to a quadriceps injury and hasn't played yet this season.
Steve earned the name 'Franchise' during his first stint with Houston and was a fan favourite. While in Orlando and New York he lost his winning attitude and lost focus, he appears to have regained that focus, getting in shape this past summer and preparing well for training camp, but is still a shell of the player he once was.
Since winning the R.O.Y Francis was named a 3-time all-star, including a starting berth.
2000-2001 : Mike Miller
Back then : Mike Miller was a star of the university of Florida, going to the championship game as a sophomore and hitting some clutch shots in that tournament, this lead to him being picked 5th by the Orlando Magic. He was the only rookie to play in all 82 games that year, while averaging 12 points a game and hitting 40% of his three-pointers
Back then : Pau had been incredibly successful in his home country of Spain, and had recently won the Spanish National Cup, being named M.V.P of the game. He was selected third overall by the Atlanta Hawks, who immediately traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Gasol played in all 82 games of his first season, while averaging 17.6 ppg, 2 blocks a game, 9 rebound and shooting over 50%.
Where are they now :
Pau is now playing for the Lakers after being the Grizzlies franchise player for most of his career. His is a huge part of the Lakers team and was a huge piece in their run to the finals last year, being the piece that finally put them into the elite conversation.Since winning the R.O.Y, Pau has enjoyed numerous successes, mainly in the international competitions. In the European Championships he won a silver medal in 2003 and 2007 (missing out on gold because of an incredible shot by Russia's J.R Holden).
Back then : At the time of the draft, much hype was given to Yao Ming and Jay Williams. But Amare was also one of the keys to the draft due to his unusual background. Amare was coming straight out of high school and had only been playing organised basketball since the age of 14. Still he had been tremendous during high school and was selected 9th overall by the Phoenix Suns. Amare played in all 82 games, and averaged 13.5 points per game along with 8 rebounds a game.
Where are they now :
The last five winners will be following soon...
By Joe Buckley
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