As early as it is into the 2007-2008 NBA season I’m going to ‘go out on a limb’ and make my pick for this season’s Rookie of the Year. I know the title of this post sort of gives things away; and while I’d love to be controversial and say that Jeff Green would edge out his rookie teammate for the honors, I have little doubt that Kevin Durant is going to end the season as this year’s RoY. Last year’s winner Brandon Roy didn’t have particularly awe inspiring numbers with 16.8 points, 4 assists and about 4.5 rebounds per game but they were solid for a rookie and were apparently enough for him to claim the trophy. Durant shouldn’t have any problem matching and surpassing those numbers and letting the league know that things are looking up for his Sonics (now if they could only get a big man).
Three games into his rookie campaign Durant is at 22.5 points and 5 rebounds per game. Never mind the fact that there aren’t truly any other rookies who could vie for the Rookie of the Year honors, with Greg Oden out for the season; but as Durant gets used to the rigors of the NBA lifestyle and the speed and physical nature of the pro game I’m predicting that the 22.5 ppg we see now will end up around 24 or 25. If (once?) that happens, be sure to keep an eye out for Durant as I’m sure he’ll begin to earn that estimated $50 million paycheck from Nike and make some commercial appearances; if those aren’t already in the works. It’s also likely that his star power and marketability will surpass Oden’s just by virtue of the fact that he’s played and proven his worth on the court and on the professional stage.
As early as it is though; there’s very little that can be said for certain and we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out. Still, it’s pretty good to see exciting new players entering the league on a yearly basis to add to the list of big name player. Now if only we could keep the boring Spurs out of the NBA Finals and get some rivalries to develop and perhaps we’d see the NBA begin to return to the league it was.