Ja Morant points out one person who didn’t vote him Rookie of the Year
Ja Morant was not the unanimous Rookie of the Year — 99 out of 100 media members voted for him, one voted for Zion Williamson.
When the media votes became public Saturday, Morant got to see who the one voter who voted for someone else was: Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Cowley stood up for his vote, and everything was good between them (at least on social media).
@JaMorant Ja is a transcendent player- no arguing that. But the ROTY should go to the most impactful. The NBA built a TV schedule around Zion and expanded a bubble for Zion. His 24 games were must-see TV. I'll take that 24-and change PER and stand on that side of history.— Joe Cowley (@JCowleyHoops) September 19, 2020
While the votes come from media members, the NBA goes out of its way to put together voters who see things differently, something ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne talked about is an excellent thread on Twitter, although she was speaking about the case for LeBron James over Giannis Antetokounmpo for MVP.
A word about awards voting. The NBA goes to great lengths to get a broad cross section of voters who all have different criteria for voting. That is intentional. You want a broad cross section of broadcasters, beat writers, columnists, radio play by play guys, former players.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) September 19, 2020
Some voters prefer statistical based arguments. Some vote for who they think the best player is. Sometimes it’s best player on best team. Some are swayed by leadership. Each year, each vote is different. But if you have a broad cross section that should even out.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) September 19, 2020
To be clear, I was one of the Morant voters, and I will readily admit that Zion is the better player (at least right now). I consider the impact on winning heavily when voting, which led me to Morant because he played 59 games before the bubble and had his team in a playoff position, while Zion played only 19 and did not (only games before the NBA restart in Orlando were to be considered, per NBA rules). I also expect and respect the fact that not everyone will see it that way, or even define what matters most in winning the award the same way. Diversity of thought and views is a good thing, it leads to better outcomes. Cowley should vote what he sees and believes, and that should be respected.
Unanimous or not, Morant will go down as the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year. The voting will be a footnote at most.