April 13, 2017
The NBA regular season is officially over, and although the Sixers aren't in the playoffs, they do have a pair of players in the running for one of the league's biggest year-end awards.
The prevailing wisdom suggests that either Joel Embiid or Dario Saric will win NBA Rookie of the Year, although Malcolm Brogdon's strong play down the stretch has helped the Bucks rookie gain some steam with Embiid sidelined and Saric playing out the stretch with a bunch of guys you've mostly never heard of before now.
Here's a look at their per-game and per-36 minute stats from this season:
But it's more than just stats and what-have-you-done-for-me-lately.
The voting format for Rookie of the Year could be the biggest obstacle for Saric or Embiid to overcome.
Here's how it works: A panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters will submit a ballot with three players – first place (worth 5 points), second place (3 points) and third place (1 point) – who they think should be ROY. The winner is based on total number of points, so there's a chance that the player with the most first-place votes doesn't actually wind up winning. (Last year's winner, Karl-Anthony Towns, received all 130 first-place votes.)
In fact, both Embiid and Saric could receive more first-place (and third-place) votes than Brogdon and still lose.
Here's just one example of how that could happen:
|1st (PTS)||2nd (PTS)||3rd (PTS)||TOT PTS|
|Embiid||50 (250)||20 (60)||60 (60)||370|
|Saric||45 (225)||35 (105)||50 (50)||380|
|Brogdon||35 (175)||75 (225)||20 (20)||420|
And that's assuming no other players receive votes, which almost certainly won't be the case.
There will also be some writers who leave Embiid completely off the ballot because he only played in 31 games this season – and even more who will refuse to list him first on their ballots for that very same reason. That fact alone, based on the total points system, is going to make it very difficult for the rookie center to win the award at all.
Furthermore, Embiid and Saric could split the vote among Sixers sympathizers and those who don't think a team's record is entirely indicative of a rookie's contribution. In other words, those who do actually vote for Embiid could be taking valuable points away from his teammate.
Suddenly, it's beginning to look like it could be Brogdon, rather than one of the Sixers, who takes home extra hardware this offseason, not because he had far and away the best season, but because of the way the voting is set up.
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