ESPN’s Zach Lowe makes his pick for NBA Rookie of the Year

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With the 2020-21 regular season nearing its conclusion, the conversation surrounding several awards races has started to heat up as teams and players make their cases to take home the hardware.

Of course, one race that is seemingly not locked up is Rookie of the Year.

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball was once viewed as the overwhelming favorite to win the award but has since lost some ground after missing 21 games with a wrist injury. Overall, Ball is averaging 15.8 points, 6.2 assists, six rebounds and 1.6 steals in 49 games.

His injury opened the door for Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards.

Once Ball hit the injury report, Edwards reached another level on the court and turned in his best stretch of the season. He is averaging 22.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals in 28 games since Ball left with his wrist injury.

Needless to say, the two players have left the awards voters with something to think about when casting their ballot.

On Friday, Zach Lowe of ESPN revealed that Ball earned his pick for Rookie of the Year, but said the race is closer than it was earlier in the season. While he picked Ball, Lowe said it would not be absurd if Edwards were to take home the award.

But Ball has made positive contributions to a team with real stakes since day one. He has been the better shooter, playmaker, and rebounder. His statistical edge in everything but raw points and minutes is overwhelming. Given some baseline threshold of availability, I don’t prioritize minutes quite as much in the “of year” awards as in MVP.

After Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant nearly won unanimously last year, the race this season is relatively close, much to the delight of the league. Ball and Edwards are each worthy of winning this year, and it will be interesting to see how the voters view their resumes.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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