Herb Jones of the New Orleans Pelicans was named to the NBA All-Rookie team, an amazing accomplishment for second-round pick who entered the league with little fanfare.
Jones was arguably the best pick in one of the best drafts in years, as he was taken with the 35th pick and ended up a starter on a playoff team.
Jones was named to the second team, which is still a major achievement considering how good this draft class is. This is a group that is loaded with future stars and All-NBA talent:
Rookie of the Year was a tight 3-player race between Scottie Barnes, Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham and any of the three would have been a defendable choice.
But given who won, and how voters seemed to lean towards team success, should Herb Jones have been on the first team?
Pelicans: Herb Jones’ case for 1st team All-Rookie
Scottie Barnes won Rookie of the Year even though he arguably had the worst numbers of the three players. Voters seem to have rewarded the team success that Barnes had in Toronto as the deciding factor, as all three guys were close but Barnes was on the best team.
Herb Jones’ numbers aren’t going to jump out at you, but he was arguably the best defender in this group, a guy who could end up on the All-Defense team as a rookie.
There’s also the fact that he was one of only three players on the All-Rookie team who played more than 20 minutes per game for a playoff team (Dosunmu, Barnes), so if role and team success matter, then Jones has an argument over Jalen Green and Franz Wagner.
Both Green and Wagner had better numbers than Herb, but both played on terrible teams, and were watching from home while Jones was defending Chris Paul and Devin Booker in the playoffs.
Green only played 67 games and was terrible for the first half of the season, while Jones was consistently good all year and was one of the big reasons the Pelicans made a big leap defensively.
In the end, Jones being on the All-Rookie team is a great thing, and it doesn’t really matter that he didn’t make the top-5, but given the voters’ preference for having a meaningful role on a good team, Jones might have a case.