“Victor Oladipo Rookie of the Year.” Has a nice ring to it right? Unfortunately, even though Oladipo has been the undisguisedly best rookie in 2014, his chances of winning the award remain slim.
Awards are more often about the narrative than the truth. Voters are limited by their unconscious biases, and no one is hurt by that reality more this year than Oladipo. His modest start to the season was overshadowed by the scorching play of Michael Carter-Williams. Even though Oladipo has outplayed MCW by both traditional and advanced metrics since then, Carter-Williams captured the early narrative, one that writers have been reluctant to re-evaluate.
Carter-Williams’ counting stats across the year have been better. He leads Victor Oladipo in PPG (17.3/14.0), RPG (4.9/4.3), APG (6.1/4.1), and SPG (2.0/1.6). But that entire difference can be explained away by opportunity. The Philadelphia 76ers average 100 possessions per game, compared to the 93.8 possessions that the Magic average. Carter-Williams also averages 2.5 MPG more than Oladipo.
If opportunity isn’t your favorite argument, then how about results. Oladipo’s True Shooting Percentage (50.9%) eclipses Carter Williams’ 47.9%. Of course MCW scores more when he takes 2.6 more shots per game than Victor Oladipo.
Carter Williams does have a better PER (15.6 to Oladipo’s 13.9) but PER is a fatally flawed stat. It actually goes up with every missed shot if a shooter’s FG% remains above 30%. 30%. But even the PER gap is closing. Victor Oladipo is on a tear and may be the NBA’s most improved player from November to February.
So even though Oladipo has been the better player on the better team, voters will rely on the fatally flawed reputation bias, counting stats, and PER to make their decision and go with Michael Carter-Williams.
What do you think? What are the Victor Oladipo Rookie of the Year chances? Let us know in the comments section below! Want more Magic? Sign up for our newsletter!