Durant Watch

The past 10 years the NBA has sported 10 Rookie-of-the-Year winners, nine full seasons, and six different champions. And why am I telling you this? Because Kevin Durant is on pace to hoist the ROY award this season. Remember him? A couple years ago you were trying to figure out who’d replace T.J. Ford and this long-armed, freakishly talented national player of the year fell in your lap. If only for one all-too-brief season.

So what the hell are the facts? With one-third of the season complete, Durant not only leads the Sonics in offensive production, but leads all rookies as well (Memphis’ Juan Carlos Nevarro stands a distant second with 10.9 points per game), but his team is performing poorly while stuck in rebuilding mode. Know what that means? Durant gets awards, Seattle gets losses.

When a rookie leads his teams in scoring, that team – how do you say it in simple English? – blows. And don’t expect this trend to change. Of the past 10 seasons, the Rookie of the Year has led his team in offensive production on five occasions. All five times, their team has not bested the .500 mark. Twice, they couldn’t even manage 20 wins, and a 21-win season for Durant’s squad would be a Christmas miracle. November’s NBA Rookie of the Month was (drum roll, please), Durant. And with Portland’s Greg Oden on crutches, no one else in the league is challenging the former Longhorn for Rookie-of-the-Year honors. The only problem is that he plays in Seattle, a worthless team in a struggling league. Check out the stats in comparison to former winners …

Year – Player – P.P.G. – Team – Overall Record

2008 Kevin Durant 19.7* Sonics 7-18 (.280)*

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2007 Brandon Roy 16.8 Timberwolves 32-50 (.390)

2006 Chris Paul 16.1 Hornets 38-44 (.463)

2005 Emeka Okafor 15.1 Bobcats 18-64 (.220)

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2004 LeBron James 20.9 Cavaliers 35-47 (.427)

2003 Amare Stoudemire 13.5 Suns 44-38 (.537)

2002 Pau Gasol 17.6 Grizzlies 23-59 (.280)

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2001 Mike Miller 11.9 Magic 43-39 (.524)

1999 Elton Brand 20.1 Bulls 17-65 (.207)

1998 Vince Carter 18.3 Raptors 23-27 (.460)**

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1997 Tim Duncan 21.1 Spurs 56-26 (.683)

* As of December 19, 2007
** Season shortened due to lockout

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