Stop. I know what you’re thinking. Wasn’t Wes Unseld Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season? Why yes, he was … in 1968-69.
Of course, some stat heads might tell you that Unseld didn’t deserve the MVP that season. Among players who appeared in 70 or more NBA games in ’68-69, Unseld’s PER of 18.1 ranks 19th. And of those with a PER greater than 18, Unseld’s Win-Shares Per 48 Minutes (WS/48) was 10.8 and ranked seventh. The Baltimore Bullets did lead the NBA with 57 regular season wins, but were bounced by the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.
Still, Big Wes got the accolades, and followed with a Hall of Fame career. Only he and Wilt Chamberlain have won both the ROY and MVP awards in the same season … and I’m betting it never happens again. But does that make Unseld the best rookie in franchise history? Not necessarily. Keep reading.
Over on SB Nation DC today, Jake Whitacre has a post that sparked my interest in this subject. Jake has a run-down of the best athletes over the age of 35 in D.C. sports history.