NEW YORK — For the first time in his life, a 16-year-old boy was given a chance to become a professional basketball player, and it came with a surprise: He was named the team’s Most Outstanding Player.
And the New York Knicks’ All-Star guard was not a part of the Knicks’ regular-season opening night lineup.
The NBA announced Wednesday that rookie guard James Harden will be named the Rookie of the Year after he averaged 17.4 points, 6.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds in the regular-seasons opener for the Knicks.
The news came just before tipoff of the team and training camp in Las Vegas.
Harden averaged 20.3 points, 9.7 assists and 5.8 assists during his season debut, and the rookie is second on the team with a career-high 6.4 steals per game.
Hessenger is the first Knicks rookie to earn the award since former All-Stars Dikembe Mutombo (1990-93) and Shawn Kemp (1999-2003) did so in 2000-02.
Henderson’s selection will also make him the first player in Knicks history to receive both the Rookie-of-the-Year and the Most Outstandingly Player award.
The award is given to the player who best exemplifies the best qualities of the NBA.
It was previously awarded to a player who led the league in scoring and rebounding, in addition to the Most Improved Player.
Hassan’s nomination marks his third time in three seasons that he has won the award.
Last year, he was named Rookie of Year after averaging 19.4 and 10.4 rebounds in his first three NBA seasons.
Harnes first season as an NBA player came with the Knicks, where he averaged 19.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5 assists in 25.1 minutes per game during the 2015-16 regular season.
Harrison is the second rookie to be named to the Rookie Of The Year ballot this season after fellow rookie Josh Jackson (2014) was selected.
The NBA announced Thursday that Jackson has earned the honor for the second consecutive year.