As we age we become more risk averse. Instead of challenging rules, we lean into them. Instead of questioning them, we comply with social norms. We may not like our career path or our job, but we like the money and/or stability that it brings. So, we begin to settle. We become complacent. We trade in adventure, risk and what we want for what we need: a four-door sedan, a three-bedroom house and three square meals a day.
And it makes sense, because adventure is tiresome and scary. You have to be more conscious of where you place that energy as it becomes more scarce as your responsibilities carry more weight. We choose the path of least resistance, the easy route. This is why being an adult is almost synonymous with being boring. This is also why Zion Williamson doesn’t have a chance to be NBA Co-Rookie of the Year — but he should.
I know this may come across as, at minimum, hasty and possibly a little crazy due to the very small sample size. But I think that’s part of the Zion effect. He’s on a 20-point streak of 11 games, and he’s out-bullying bullies like Rudy Gobert and Anthony Davis. You can’t help but think crazy things when you’re seeing someone built like Zion do Zion things.
It’s exciting and bewildering, and when you get into the numbers it gets pretty freakin’ spooky. He’s averaging 24.1 points and 6.8 rebounds, and shooting 59.3 percent from the field. The last Rookie of the Year to average at least 23 points was Allen Iverson, and the last Rookie of the Year to be that efficient from the field was Shaq. Then you get into the advanced analytics, and you see he’s scoring the most points per minute of any rookie ever. He’s just different. He’s just special.
Ja Morant is special, too. I will in no way attempt to take anything from what he’s done. He’s a hooper. The type of hooper who became really good at the game from playing the game as much as he possibly can. No matter the moment or opponent, he’s coming for your head. And if you are on the court with him, you have to stay ready because he will unapologetically embarrass you in front of all your loved ones.
When he called himself a point god, he meant it, and he has proven that, putting up 17.7 points and seven assists a game while putting the Grizzlies in playoff contention, which many would have found inconceivable at the beginning of the season. He is very deserving of being the NBA’s top rookie. But we’re all fans of basketball here, right? And we’ve watched a whole lot of great basketball players do incredible things on the court, and we’ve never seen a Zion Williamson.
I also want to throw in that the Grizzlies, currently the eighth seed in the West, have lost five of six, and it’s very possible that the Pelicans, with Zion, can make up the current three-game deficit to take the final playoff spot. So there’s that as well.
Based on what we have in front of us, Ja is a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year. If what we’ve seen so far this year remains consistent, it would be very easy for most people to discredit Zion’s campaign because he’s played 39 fewer games than Morant. It would be unheard of to give Zion, who could play a maximum of 37 regular-season games this year, a piece of the trophy, regardless of how incredible he has performed while active. Because we’re all adults. We tend to take the easy route, the path of least resistance. And honestly, it would be the most fair choice, but I question if it would be the right one.
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