This past week the All-Rookie teams were announced with some surprising selections, particularly for Josh Giddey of the OKC Thunder.
A trio of talents would automatically ke the first team with Rookie of the Year, Raptors Scottie Barnes, Cavaliers Evan Mobley, and Pistons Cade Cunningham in that mix. That triad were the top candidates for RoY voting.
The next two spots on the first team had one expected inclusion and one less so. Orlando Magic small forward Franz Wagner got the nod which was the player most anticipated. He played better than the Magic fifth pick Jalen Suggs and was often in the top five weekly rankings.
While shock might not be the right description for Jalen Green taking the final spot on the first-team it was a confusing pick – – at least in this part of the world.
Social media blew up over the pick with many fans angered by the choice while Giddey was the one who seemed to have a sense of humor about the selection.
OKC Thunder guard Josh Giddey exudes humor in face of slight
Or perhaps he simply communicated in a way that made everyone laugh even if his true intention was to throw some shade.
Sure, Green came on to perform late in the season but to ignore OKC Thunder point guard Josh Giddey for that final spot was head-scratching.
Consider the fact that Giddey won the Western Conference Rookie of the Month award for every month he was eligible. Factor in he became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.
Even more puzzling was the fact that Giddey didn’t even place sixth in the voting. That honor was given to Herbert Jones of the Pelicans. Granted Jones is an exceptional defender but should a player who performs well for two months of the season rank higher than one who did it for every minute he was on the court?
Jones averaged 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.7 steals shooting 33.7 percent from deep on 2.2 attempts per game. He improved as the season progressed but notably dipped in production in the final quarter of the season.
Granted, playing 78 games helped his case as did the fact the Pelicans were vying for a play-in seed (which they got) meaning they were featured more predominantly on national TV and thus Jones got more exposure.
Jalen Green appeared in 67 games averaging 17.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists shooting 34.3 percent from deep on 6.8 attempts per game. Like Jones, it feels like Green got the nod ahead of Giddey based on him getting more exposure and finishing the season strong with his best quarter the final one of the season.
The comparison between Jones and Giddey is stark with Giddey outproducing Jones in all three key categories (as per the above chart).
The other rookies to make the All-Rookie second team were Ayo Dosunmu, Chris Duarte, and Bones Hyland.
Clearly, the voters valued scoring over a full complement of skills as Giddey danced circles around Green in two of the three key categories (rebounds, assists).
Ultimately, OKC Thunder fans should celebrate Giddey making an All-NBA team and revel in the fact his future will offer plenty to celebrate.