Scoring no longer focal point of ROY chase
The first-year phenom who makes the playoffs will likely win the Rookie of the Year award.
Editor's note: As part of "The Stein Line" every Monday, ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein gives his take on things in "Slams and Dunks."
The race for the No. 8 spot in the West remains another variable to complicate the choice. Even though two of his teammates are All-Stars -- Stephon Marbury and Shawn Marion, compared to only Steve Francis for Yao -- Stoudemire figures to benefit on some ballots if the Suns hold off the Rockets for the last playoff berth.
What we do know for sure is that we're looking at another ROY in the new millennium with modest scoring numbers. Yao is averaging 13.9 points and 8.3 rebounds. Stoudemire averages 13.4 points and 9.2 boards. Scoring-wise, that puts both only slightly ahead of Mike Miller, who won the ROY trophy in Orlando in 2001 despite averaging just 11.7 points.
Memphis' Pau Gasol nudged the bar back upward last season by averaging 17.6 points and 8.9 rebounds, but all of these numbers serve as further evidence that the modern rookie arrives in the NBA farther away from impact-player status than they used to.
History reveals that the composite scoring average for the 51 players who either won or shared the award before Miller is 20.5 points per game.
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