Andrew Wiggins
Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports
Home » Blog » Andrew Wiggins wins Rookie of the Year over Nikola Mirotic, who faces Bucks in Game 6

Andrew Wiggins wins Rookie of the Year over Nikola Mirotic, who faces Bucks in Game 6

As expected, Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Andrew Wiggins was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year on Thursday, beating out Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic and Philadelphia 76ers big man Nerlens Noel for the award.

Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

Wiggins played in all 82 games this season, and he played big minutes on a bad Wolves team. While Minnesota was awful, the rookie put up solid numbers and had several huge performances throughout the course of the season. His 16.9 points per game scoring average led all rookies by a wide margin.

Wiggins received 110 out of 130 first-place votes and earned 604 points overall. Mirotic came in second with 14 first-place votes and 335 points. Noel and Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton both received three first-place votes, but Noel finished ahead of Payton in the voting. Marcus Smart, Jusuf Nurkic and Jordan Clarkson were the only others to receive votes.

While Wiggins had gaudy numbers and ultimately won the award, Mirotic had the edge when looking at some of the advanced stats. Mirotic’s PER was an impressive 17.93, and his Bulls played some of their best basketball this season when he was on the court.

Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports

Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports

However, Mirotic has struggled in the postseason while dealing with a few injuries. Chicago is hoping to get more production out of the rookie in Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night in Milwaukee.

The Bulls appeared to be in cruise control against the Bucks after winning the first three games of the series, but Milwaukee has gotten back into the series on the back of its elite defense. The Bucks won Games 4 and 5 by limiting Derrick Rose and forcing a bunch of turnovers, and they’ll try to do the same in Game 6 back.

No team has ever blown a 3-0 series lead in NBA history, and the Bulls certainly don’t want this to get to a winner-take-all Game 7 situation. All the pressure would be on them, and anything can happen when you’re looking at a scenario like that. Chicago needs to regain its focus and take care of business, because they’re the better team in this series.

Vegas seems to believe in Chicago. The Bulls opened as a three-point favorite, but that number has moved to four points at most sportsbooks and 4½ points at Bovada.

Mirotic coming through with a big game would certainly help, although Chicago really just needs better performances out of Rose and Jimmy Butler. That dynamic duo combined to shoot just 10-of-41 in Game 5. With two days of rest in between Games 5 and 6, those two should be well rested and ready to finish off the Bucks once and for all. At least that’s the hope for Bulls fans.

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