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The Rookie Ladder is a free-flowing, constantly updated chart that ranks the 2013-14 rookies. If a rookie plays well, he climbs the Ladder. Play poorly, and he'll slide down a rung ... or two or three. The rankings are updated by's Drew Packham. If you have an issue or have a question or comment, send Drew an e-mail. You can also follow him on Twitter.
Past Seasons: 2012-13 | 2011-12 | 2010-11

MCW's The Man

April 16 -- It's been a fun ride this season with surprises and busts, but the Kia Rookie of the Year race comes down to two names: Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo.

So far, two main arguments have been made on in regards to the debate.

John Schuhmann, our resident stats guy, recently crunched the numbers to show that the context backs up the argument for Carter-Williams taking home the hardware despite the Sixers' losing ways and some of his deficiencies.

Meanwhile, TNT analyst David Aldridge couldn't look past Philly's atrocious season -- and MCW's benefit as one of its only options -- and gave his vote to Oladipo, who, in his view, may have done less statistically but for a slightly better team.

Both are valid arguments, and it's hard to argue against the esteemed Aldridge ... but I'm afraid on this occasion he misses the mark.

History has rarely held a team's win-loss record against rookies, and rightfully so. This isn't the NBA's MVP Award, where so often the winner plays for one of the best teams in the league and is rewarded for his value. This is the Rookie of the Year Award, which rewards a player who has the best rookie campaign while historically playing for a losing squad. Of the last 10 winners, none has played for a team with a winning record. It's the nature of the beast.

All this isn't to take anything from Oladipo. He had a great rookie season in Orlando, juggling two positions and various roles, all while bouncing between the starting lineup and the bench. He'll finish the season second among rookies in scoring and steals, third in assists and sixth in rebounds. He's got a bright future ahead of has the chance to become a perennial All-Star.

But Carter-Williams deserves the honor and gets my vote for Rookie of the Year.

All Carter-Williams has done is put up a historically remarkable rookie campaign. He will become just the third player since 1951 to lead all rookies in points (16.7), rebounds (6.6) and assists (6.6), joining Oscar Robertson (1960-61) and Alvan Adams (1975-76).

He also leads all rookies in steals per game (1.9) and joins Robertson and Magic Johnson (1979-80) as the only players to average at least 16 points, six rebounds and six assists in their first season.

So why should Carter-Williams be punished because the team around him isn't exactly up to NBA standards?

He shouldn't.

-- Drew Packham

Dropped out: Ray McCallum, Ben McLemore, Matthew Dellavedova

Just missed the cut: McLemore, Nick Calathes, Nate Wolters, Dellavedova, Ryan Kelly

-- Drew Packham

As always, feel free to email me with any comments, questions or suggestions. I'm also on Twitter, if that's your thing.

Michael Carter-Williams : PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

From Day 1, Carter-Williams has been the frontrunner for Kia Rookie of the Year, but that wasn't always the case. In Orlando during Summer League, MCW struggled mightily, averaging 4.8 TOs and hitting just 27 percent of his shots, so he entered the season outside the ROY discussion. But in an Opening Night win over the defending champion Heat, MCW had 22 points, seven rebounds, 12 assists and nine steals to open some eyes. With another double-double two games later (and a 3-0 start), MCW had a stranglehold he'd never relinquish. -- April 16

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Victor Oladipo : ORLANDO MAGIC

I'll be shocked if Oladipo sways enough voters to take the ROY honors from MCW, but that's not to say he didn't have a great first season. Oladipo's numbers might be slightly lower than MCW's, but he also had a better cast around him. In their head-to-head breakdown, Oladipo will finish with better shooting numbers, slightly less turnovers (3.2 to 3.5 per game) and a few more wins. Still, it won't be enough to sway voters. -- April 16

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Mason Plumlee : BROOKLYN NETS

Plumlee has quietly been one of the most productive -- and important -- rookies this season. His numbers have been solid (7.3 ppg and 4.2 rpg on 65.7 percent shooting), but the fact that he's done it for a playoff team in the East gives him a bump. He not only leads all rookies in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) but he's been crucial to keeping the Nets relevant in the East. In April, with Kevin Garnett ailing, the Duke product averaged 11.6 ppg to climb into the top half of the Ladder to finish the season. -- April 16

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Trey Burke : UTAH JAZZ

Point guard is one of the toughest positions for a rookie, but Burke looks like a keeper. After missing the first month, Burke started 67 of the 69 games he played, averaging 12.5 ppg (third) and 5.6 apg (second) while racking up eight double-doubles (second). He struggled to find his shot at times (37.8 percent overall), but he kept his turnovers down and ran the Jazz effectively and didn't hesitate during late-game moments. This kid is legit, and the Jazz may have found the PG of their future. -- April 16

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Tim Hardaway, Jr. : NEW YORK KNICKS

In the Knicks' disappointing season, one of the biggest bright spots has been the emergence of Hardaway. Hardaway climbed as high as No. 2 on the Ladder this season with some monster games, and will finish first in 3-pointers made and fourth in scoring (10.0 ppg). He only played 22.8 minutes per game, but looked polished and NBA ready in those minutes. The future is bright for Hardaway and his ability to knock down the outside shot will keep him in the league a long, long time. -- April 16

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Antic had an interesting rookie season. At 31 years old, the Macedonian entered as a seasoned rookie, but his role quickly changed with Al Horford's early-season injury. Antic stepped in and was crucial to keeping Atlanta afloat and landing in the playoffs. He dealt with injuries, playing just 49 games, but after a slow start came on in the new year, averaging 11.4 ppg and 5.9 rpg in January and was one of the best rookies over the second half of the season. His upside is low because of his age, but he definitely deserves a spot on the final rankings. -- April 16

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I had a hard time with Dieng, because it seems odd to reward a guy who didn't see real playing time until the middle of March. But Dieng has been so good it would be impossible not to reward him. Since March 15, the big man averaged 12.5 ppg, 11.6 rpg and 1.5 bpg with a double-double in nine of those 17 games. The late surge makes you wonder where he would've finished if he'd seen regular minutes. Those numbers over a full season surely would have put him in serious ROY talks. -- April 16

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Before the season, I thought Oladipo or Olynyk would finish as the top rookie. Olynyk was impressive in Orlando and I thought he'd see enough playing time in a featured role in Boston. Olynyk didn't see as many minutes (19.9 mpg) I expected, but when he was on the floor, he looked like a player that will stick around the league. His ability to hit from outside (35.7 percent) helped him average 8.4 ppg (sixth among rookies), and his 5.2 rpg are second only to MCW. -- April 16

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Giannis Antetokounmpo : MILWAUKEE BUCKS

"The Greek Freak" has won me over. His numbers aren't earth-shattering and he had a lot of games in which his impact didn't come in the box score. With his long wingspan, Antetokounmpo is a solid defender and could usually be counted on for a steal and a block each night. He'll finish fourth in rebounding (4.4 rpg) and 11th in scoring (6.8 ppg), but most importantly, he won over Bucks (and NBA) fans with his unique abilities and potential. -- April 16

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This last rung was a tough one, but I'll give it to Zeller, who has played a key role off the bench for the playoff-bound Bobcats. Zeller knew his role and came to work every night to give his team 18 minutes. In those minutes, he was able to finish seventh in rebounding while averaging 6.0 ppg. He'll need to get that shooting up (42 percent), but if he'd seen more minutes on a different team, he'd be getting more attention and bigger numbers. -- April 16

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