The NBA announced on Monday, May 5 that Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams has won its NBA Rookie of the Year award -- with Orlando guard Victor Oladipo finishing in second place. Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke finished in third place.
While many might argue that Burke deserved to win it -- or at least finish second behind Carter-Williams -- you have to wonder whether or not Burke’s Instagram outburst played any role in the league’s decision.
Burke’s post to Shaquille O’Neal’s Instagram page last week -- mocking Jahmel Binion, a young man from Michigan with a rare genetic disorder -- caused outrage and forced Burke to issue an apology for his actions.
That major foible aside, Carter-Williams -- who is also part of the league’s new movement of point-forwards -- was the first NBA rookie since 1951 to lead all rookies in scoring, assists and rebounding. The last player to do so was Hall of Famer Oscar “Big O” Robertson. So Carter Williams was deserving of the honor, no question.
Oladipo averaged 14 points, four assists and four rebounds per game -- while Burke averaged 13 points, six assists and three boards per contest as he dealt with a broken finger that even he admitted has not fully healed.
So Burke -- who was the first player during that Instagram fiasco to phone Jahmel Binion and apologize for making fun -- has learned some valuable lessons in his rookie season though he comes from a good family. For starters, Burke grew up in Ohio having been reared in a solid middle-class background and a dual-parent household.
While Burke's numbers on the floor this season didn’t result in a Rookie of the Year award, you’d have to be a fool to think he didn’t learn anything from his most trying season as a collegian or pro. Like most rookies, your first year is a lesson on how to manage all this money and fame you’ve inherited. Next year will be the true test for Burke -- and for the rest of the rookies in this class.