According to ESPNLA.com, Blake Griffin has just won the first unanimous Rookie of the Year since David Robinson.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin was named the Rookie of the Year on Wednesday after a landslide vote, becoming the NBA’s first unanimous choice for the award in 21 years.
Griffin received every first-place vote from a panel of 118 media members, easily outdistancing Washington’s John Wall. The 6-foot-10 forward is the first to win it unanimously since San Antonio’s David Robinson in 1990, and just the third unanimous choice in NBA history after Ralph Sampson in 1984.
Griffin led all rookies in scoring and rebounding while playing in all 82 games for the Clippers, finishing 12th in the entire NBA in scoring (22.5 points) and fourth in rebounds (12.1). The electrifying dunker was the NBA’s first rookie All-Star since Yao Ming in 2003, and he won the dunk contest at All-Star weekend with an iconic leap over a car.
“My teammates, every single one, did such an amazing job helping me in a year that was filled with ups and downs, when I was learning a lot about the game,” Griffin said while accepting the award at the Clippers’ training complex. “Everybody has been unbelievably incredible and really helped me get back from injury to this point. We’re excited about where the Clippers are headed. We just laid the foundation, and we can’t wait until next year.”
The No. 1 draft pick out of Oklahoma in 2009 missed all the 2009-10 season with a broken kneecap, but returned with one of the most impressive debut campaigns in a generation.
Griffin was named the Western Conference’s Rookie of the Month six times, becoming the first player to sweep that award since Chris Paul did it with New Orleans in 2005-06. He’s the first rookie to average 20 points and 10 rebounds since Elton Brand in 1999-00, and the only rookie among the league’s top 45 scorers and top 20 rebounders.
Griffin is the first Clippers player to win the award since Terry Cummings won it with the San Diego Clippers in 1983.
This is an absolute surprise to no one who watched Blake play over the course of the year. He was so good that he turned Mozgov into a verb, so good that he made Baron Davis truly care, so good that he made the Clippers one of the most exciting teams in the league to watch, so good that he made John Wall a distant second in the voting, but most of all, he made the Clippers seem like they could be a regular playoff team as soon as next year.
While that didn’t translate into a winning record this year, the Clippers did win the most games since their 40-42 season in 2007, and Griffin did that with a squad laden with new faces, rookies, a young coach that doesn’t have his bearings quite there yet and a team that has the worst history in the league. He was so much more than anyone expected he would be in his first year, and everyone expected him to be great.
As a unanimous Rookie of the Year, Blake joins David Robinson, Larry Bird and Jerry Lucas. That’s it. Between them, they have 29 All Star appearances (7 Lucas, 12 Bird, 10 Robinson), 4 MVPs (1 Robinson, 3 Bird) and 6 championships, with all three having won at least one (Lucas 1, Bird 3, Robinson 2). And only Jerry Lucas won a championship with a team other than the one by which he was drafted. Time will tell what Blake Griffin has in store for the Clippers.