In a vote that had all the suspense of an episode of Gilligan's Island (will they get off the island this time?), Derrick Rose easily won the NBA Rookie of the Year today. It's the right outcome, based on Rose's productivity, his leadership on a young Bulls team and the success the Bulls have enjoyed this season. His 36 point performance in his playoff debut is the perfect exclamation point on the Rose wins ROY! sentence.
Although those of us in Clips Nation who watched Eric Gordon day in and day out held out some hope that he could make a run at the award through March, when Rose and the Bulls finished the season strong it was a fait accompli. You'll find no argument with the choice of Rose from the blogger.
And thank goodness Rose finished strong. Because Gordon came in fifth in the voting, behind several players that would make me a tad argumentative. The fact that, as far as I know, the Clippers didn't bother putting together any sort of 'Gordon for ROY' press kit while all of the other top 6 finishers did is undoubtedly part of the issue. But I'm just happy that Rose is a legitimate pick, because it doesn't much matter whether Gordon finished second or fifth. As Ricky Bobby says, "If you ain't first you're last."
For those of us who watched both of them closely, it's pretty amazing to consider that Al Thornton actually finished higher in the Rookie of the Year voting (third) than did Gordon (fifth). No offense to Al, but Gordon's just on another level. Of course, that says more about the other rookies in the competition than it does Al and EJ, but still.
While it doesn't matter much that Gordon finished fifth behind Mayo and Lopez and Westbrook in the ROY race, it may not bode well for his chances of making the All Rookie first team. It's a different group of voters - coaches vote for the All Rookie team while writers and broadcasters voted for Rookie of the Year - so I'm somewhat hopeful that they paid a little more attention to the reality as opposed to simply buying into the hype (not sure how else you can explain Mayo's thorough trouncing of Gordon in the ROY vote). But the other possibility is that the coaches will subconsciously try to vote for a 'team' made up of players at multiple positions (although the rules state that they should vote for the top players regardless of position). Given that Rose and Mayo and Westbrook are all guards, it's conceivable that more coaches may slide Kevin Love onto the first team (and Love's bona fides are solid, there's no question about that).
Ultimately, it doesn't matter of course. He is who he is, and I believe he's going to be a better pro than any rookie in this class with the possible exception of Rose. But hopefully Gordon will get the appropriate recognition of the stellar season he has had by being selected to the All Rookie first team. We'll see.