Ernie Grunfeld thinks that John Wall should have won the 2010-11 Rookie of the Year Award last season. That would be a pretty controversial statement if taken out of context, but the Wizards president made it clear that he didn’t think that Wall had a better year than Blake Griffin, who was the unanimous winner of the award. He simply thinks that Griffin, who was drafted in 2009, should not have been eligible for last year’s Rookie of the Year prize:
While discussing the Wizards’ prospects in the draft lottery, Grunfeld expressed his excitement with picking Wall as the franchise cornerstone last summer and said, “He should’ve been rookie of the year…except for the rule of a second-year player being eligible…
Grunfeld said the difference [between Griffin and Larry Bird and David Robinson, who also won Rookie of the Year awards despite not going directly to the NBA] was that Griffin actually spent a year in an NBA environment before making his debut in a regular season game. “Last year, I think Blake did play in a couple of preseason games and he traveled with his team, so he got a feel first. But that’s the rule, and he was deserving, obviously. He had a tremendous year. I thought John had a terrific year, also.”
Obviously, this is essentially pure semantics. Wall had the best year of any player drafted in 2010, and Griffin had the best year of any player who made his NBA debut in the 2010-11 season. Grunfeld seems to get that, both Wall and Griffin are breathtaking young talents, and this isn’t really a controversy. Grunfeld’s Wizards are projected to get the 4th overall pick after the draft lottery tonight, and have an 11.9% chance of getting the #1 overall pick for the second year in a row. Wall will be the Wizards’ draft representative at the lottery.