NBA Rookie of the Year 2018
We take at look at this season's star-studded class and predict who will be crowned the Rookie of the Year.
A lot has been said in regards to the rookie class of 2017, and some say it is the best we have seen in recent memory when it comes to pure natural talent earthing the NBA, moulding an exciting future for the league. This season is shaping up to be a great race towards the Rookie of the Year award, with the likes of Dennis Smith Jr, Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and homegrown hero Ben Simmons. With that being said, we take a closer look at who will take out the coveted award, potentially skyrocketing them into NBA stardom.
Dennis Smith Jr.
Selected at pick nine by the Dallas Mavericks, Smith is known for his high flying acrobatics, ability to score and high end shooting percentage in a Dallas franchise that smells the end of the Nowitzki era. Smith Jr. has certainly been the highlight of the Mavericks this season, who were predicted to finish dead last within the West. He is averaging 15 points per game, 4.9 assists per game and an efficiency rating of 12.4. Smith’s statistics are definitely up for consideration for the Rookie of the Year.
Born and bred in the elite system that is Duke University, Jayson Tatum is no stranger to the big occasion, proving his worth in the league along with packing quite an all round talent that has set the NBA alight. Tatum is no geek off the street and has the animosity to attack the basket at all costs, and can be seen spotted raining down from the 3 point line boasting a 43.5% success rate. He started with a double double on his debut and is known for his clutch performances late down the stretch. Tatum would be our favourite to take out the Rookie of the Year due to his ability to impact the game and put the W’s on the board for the Celtics.
Mitchell was passed by many teams until the Utah Jazz selected him at pick 13 (trade rights from Denver) and he is proving that he should of been taken at a much higher pick. In the absence of Gordon Hayward, Utah are rebuild-bound and Mitchell has been the spark to their season’s performance. Much like Dennis Smith Jr, he has taken the league by storm with his ability to attack the ring, pull off athletic dunks and possesses a passing ability that would make Steve Nash jealous. Mitchell is averaging 19.8 PPG and 3.5 APG - enough to earn him a spot in Utah’s starting five from game to game make him a high contender for Rookie of the Year.
With all the attention surrounding Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma is undoubtedly the dark horse pick for the Lakers in this year's draft. Kuzma is the second bright spark that has a young Lakers roster stacked with talent, and backs up his performances every night, which was highlighted by an impressive 38 points against the Rockets. He is a player not to be taken lightly along with considerations that he should of been the number 2 pick - instead of Lonzo. Kuzma is averaging 15.3 PPG, 5.9 RPG and shooting 44.5% from the field. Is he a front runner? Possibly.
Ahh Lonzo Ball, what more needs to be said? The hype surrounding Ball going into the draft was similar to LeBron James back in 2003, and the UCLA freshman was the poster boy of many basketball magazines even before being selected. Combine this with the loud Lavar Ball and you’re going to have a tough time justifying a high draft pick. However this was not the case for Lonzo as he was taken at pick 2, with Magic Johnson predicting he would become the Lakers next leader. Lonzo, like many rookies, has had some ups and downs in his debut season, including being the youngest ever NBA player to have a triple double, but at the same time shooting a dismal 36.9% from the field. He showcases his speed to run the court, unbelievable passing ability/vision and agility that adds another dimension to his game. We feel as if Lonzo will not win, or come close to the Rookie of the Year award this season, but definitely has some very strong focal points that will foresee him to have a great career for the Lakers.
Ask any avid NBA fan on who is their favourite to win Rookie of the Year and they’ll no doubt mention Australian Ben Simmons. He was taken number 1 in the draft by the 76ers back in 2016, but had to wait a full season to make his debut due to a broken foot sustained in training, which was another heartbreak addition to a 76ers franchise that has not seen success in quite a while. Fast forward to 2017/18 and Simmons has been putting his year in the system to good work, and is being dubbed the next LeBron James due to his unique body size, athleticism and ability to throw a ferocious jam much like LeBron. Unlike the other rookies of this season, Simmons has had some time to get familiar with the NBA which somewhat plays as an unfair advantage for the Rookie of the Year award. He leads all rookies across the board with a staggering 16.5 PPG, 8 RPG and 7.7 APG, along with an efficiency rating of 19%. So should we expect Simmons to win Rookie of the Year? Yes. Is it unfair that he is still eligible to win Rookie of the Year? Yes.
Who will win?
Based off performances, ability to change the game, and potential career growth it would be a three way race between Simmons, Tatum and Mitchell. All three are unique talents in their own right, but only one can win the Rookie of the Year, so therefore we have decided to go with Jayson Tatum.
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