There was never any doubt Irving was going to win it, and the best debate was over who was most worthy of 2nd place.
I cast my 2nd place vote for Kenneth “Manimal” Faried of Denver, but the second-place winner was Ricky Rubio — who also provided a helluva a lot of mid-winter entertainment before injuring his knee and dooming the Timberwolves’ chances of remaining a contender through 66 games.
Rubio, who missed the final 25 games of the season, got 2nd on the strength of 49 second-place votes.
Irving received 117 of 120 first-place votes, with one each going to Faried, Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs and Iman Shumpert of the Knicks. (Was that you, Berman?)
Faried got 30 second-place votes and 34 third-place votes, meaning he was left off 55 ballots.
Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
Among rookies, Irving ranked first in scoring (18.5 ppg), field goal percentage (.469) and free throw percentage (.872), while placing second in assists (5.4 apg) and 3-point field goal percentage (.399). Among all players, Irving ranked tied for fourth in fourth-quarter scoring (6.4 ppg) while shooting .518 from the field, .410 from beyond the arc and .868 from the line.
The top selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, Irving joins Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Allen Iverson and, LeBron James as the only No. 1 overall draft picks to average at least 18.0 points and 5.0 assists. In addition, he is one of only six rookies in league history to average at least 18.0 points, 5.0 assists, and 1.0 steal while shooting at least .450 from the field, joining Johnson, Jordan, Alvan Adams, Grant Hill, and Tyreke Evans.
Here are the complete vote totals:
Player 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland 117 2 1 592
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota - 49 23 170
Kenneth Faried, Denver 1 30 34 129
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio 1 9 15 47
Iman Shumpert, New York 1 7 7 33
Klay Thompson, Golden State – 5 15 30
Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento - 6 10 28
Brandon Knight, Detroit - 6 3 21
Chandler Parsons, Houston – 3 5 14
MarShon Brooks, New Jersey - 1 1 4
Kemba Walker, Charlotte - – 3 3
Josh Selby, Memphis - – 1 1