NBA Rookie of The Year Candidates

Writer: Marcus Carr

Source: Bleacher Report

The 2017 NBA draft class was filled with the most blue chip players since the 2003 NBA draft that produced one of the best NBA players we have ever seen, Lebron James. Though we have seen players such as Michael Carter Williams and Tyreke Evans catch a curse after winning the Rookie of the Year award, the Rookie of the Year this season could be the next face of the NBA with Lebron riding off into the sunset soon.

Dennis Smith Jr.

 

Source: Ethan Miller

The ninth pick out of NC State, was one of the least talked about guards in the draft but is arguably the most athletic from it. Smith won ACC Freshman of the Year while at NC State, he averaged 18.9 ppg, 6.2 ast, and 4.6 rpg. During his pre-draft workout with the Los Angeles Lakers, he tied the record for the highest vertical in NBA history with a 48 inch vertical. There aren’t very many 6’2” guards who can do this. It seems as if Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle will hand Smith the keys to the franchise without much resistance from Yogi Ferrell or Devin Harris. With Nerlens Noel recently signing his franchise option, Smith and Noel could be one of the most athletic pick and roll duos this season.

 

De’Aaron Fox

 

Source: ARoyalPain

The fifth pick out of The University of Kentucky, De’Aaron Fox, not only is his hair impressive but so are his basketball abilities. The 6’4” guard has a wooing 7’0” wingspan and lightning speed. With the King having such a mediocre team it could open up minutes for him immediately. Fox’s draft stock creeped up as the draft approach due to him outplaying Lonzo Ball in both meetings between UCLA and Kentucky. The only thing standing in Fox’s way is George Hill who has a lengthy history of injuries, which could open the flood gates for De’Aaron to secure consistent minutes this season.

 

Lonzo Ball

 

Source: ESPN

The 2nd pick out of UCLA, who was the most talked about prospect throughout college all the way leading up until summer league. Lonzo is a 6’6” guard who can distribute the ball as well as any guard in the NBA. He is currently favored to win the Rookie of the Year, he will be granted a young team with a lot of star power out of the gates. Lonzo produced two triple doubles in summer league posting 11-11-11 against the Celtics, and 16-10-12 against the Cavaliers. With former 2nd pick, Brandon Ingram, we should see a lot of give and go's like this.

 

Markelle Fultz

 

Source: Bleacher Report

The first pick in the 2017 NBA draft out of the University of Washington, Markelle Fultz, is a special talent. His skill level was overshadowed most of the year and even the NBA draft by the Ball antics that have been going on. Since Markelle didn’t get much of the limelight here's some more about him. Fultz could be the next James Harden, with swift and smooth moves to get to the rim. At Washington he averaged 23.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, and 5.9 apg. In Philadelphia he joins a young team that could be playoff bound. Thank you Sam Hinkie for giving us Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and Dario Saric, the 6ers could be running the East very soon and Markelle Fultz could be leading the charge.

 

Ben Simmons

 

Source: Fade Away World

The first pick in the 2016 NBA draft, from the Louisiana State University, Ben Simmons. He missed all of the 2016-2017 season after undergoing surgery on his Jones fracture. Simmons could be a generational talent, he is a guard in a forwards body. He has a 7’0” frame but can facilitate the floor as well as anyone, he will even tell you he is a point guard. Before undergoing surgery Simmons posted 19.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg, and 4.8 apg at LSU. He could be the best player we have seen since Lebron James. Even though he said he doesn’t care about winning Rookie of the Year, he wants to be the best player in the NBA. Thank you again Sam Hinkie, for giving us not one, but two Rookie of the Year candidates, hell Joel Embiid might win MVP on that note. Everybody say it with me “Trust The Process”.

The NBA is bringing in a load of great talent this year and read more about next year's talent as well. The Rookie of the Year could well be an under the radar player like Malcolm Brogdon was this year for the Bucks, but with the likelihood being so low of the players listed above and players such as Jayson Tatum, Malik Monk and Josh Jackson all having a bad year, look for one of these guys to secure the award.