NBA writers and media members around the country have been mulling over their picks for the NBA's postseason awards for about a week now. The ballots are due today, on Tuesday, July 28, which means it is judgement time for Wizards forward Rui Hachimura, who should have a very good chance of making All-Rookie.
Here are some things to keep in mind as the votes are cast...
It's all based on before March 11
The reasons why votes are being sent in now and not after the season is because postseason NBA awards this year are all based on what happened before the league shut down in March due to the coronavirus. Hachimura and his fellow rookies can't do anything to help or hurt their cause in Orlando.
The good news is Hachimura has already made a good case for himself. He put up averages of 13.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game all while shooting 47.8 percent from the field. His consistency has perhaps stood out the most. Hachimura has 22 games of 10-plus points and five-plus rebounds. Only five rookies this have done that more this season.
Zion could affect Rui's chances
Hachimura would be much more of a lock if it weren't for the late push by Pelicans rookie and No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. Though he only played 19 games due to injury, Williamson was a sensation, averaging a ridiculous 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 29.7 minutes. He also plays Hachimura's position, so there is a chance he takes a spot that otherwise could have gone to Hachimura.
The four guards for All-Rookie seem likely to be Ja Morant of the Grizzlies, Coby White of the Bulls, plus Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn of the Heat. Maybe Matisse Thybulle of the Sixers has something to say about that. For the frontcourt, the favorites are probably Brandon Clarke of the Grizzlies, P.J. Washington of the Hornets and Jaxson Hayes of the Pelicans. That leaves three spots between Hachimura, Williamson, Eric Paschall of the Warriors, R.J. Barrett of the Knicks and De'Andre Hunter of the Hawks.
All-Rookie is a rarity for Wizards
Based on where Hachimura was picked, it wouldn't exactly shatter expectations if he was chosen for All-Rookie. With two teams of five, it represents the 10-best players in the class. Hachimura was picked ninth.
But it is not all that often you see a Wizards player find this level of success this early in their careers. Hachimura would be the first All-Rookie player representing Washington since Bradley Beal in 2013. Beal and Wall (2011) are the only two All-Rookie Wizards players since 2004.
Hachimura's best comparisons
Whether Hachimura gets All-Rookie or not, his numbers this season compare favorably to others who have received the honors in the past. His points and rebounds averages, combined with his field goal percentage, stack up well will some guys who have been first-team All-Rookie in recent years. Here are a few comparisons:
Rui Hachimura, 2019-20 - 13.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 47.8 FG%
Jaren Jackson Jr., 2018-19 - 13.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 50.6 FG%
Jayson Tatum, 2017-18 - 13.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 47.5 FG%
Dario Saric, 2016-17 - 12.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 41.1 FG%
Devin Booker, 2015-16 - 13.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 42.3 FG%
Some of these guys are different types of players, but the fact those numbers got them first-team honors should help Hachimura's chances of making the cut.
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