2018-19 NBA Rookie Survey: Major Takeaways
Each summer before the NBA season begins, the rookies who have just been drafted get surveyed on the other rookies. These young players vote on things such as “who will be the rookie of the year”, “who will have the best career”, “best shooter”, etc. I’m going to dive into some of these answers and put some of my input on it as well.
Who will be the 2018-19 Kia Rookie of the Year?
This one has been hard to judge since the past 2 winners vary quite a bit. Two years ago, a second-round pick (Malcolm Brogdon) won the award, and this past season a number 1 pick (Ben Simmons) won the award. For this survey, DeAndre Ayton and Collin Sexton both tied for the most votes. Regarding Ayton, that choice makes a ton of sense to be voted on. He was the number 1 pick and looks like he’s going to be a stud in Phoenix. However, Sexton also getting the most votes is a little eyebrow raising. He looks like he’ll be a nice little fit in Cleveland don’t get me wrong, but I can’t picture him winning the award. The most surprising part of it all was Marvin Bagley III not being in the top 8 for votes. I watched him in the Summer League and he looked impressive as hell. The Kings being a horrid franchise might have something to do with it, but the Suns and Cavs won’t be much better.
If I had a say in who would be the rookie of the year, I would have chosen Luka Doncic. He did get the most votes after Ayton and Sexton. My reasoning for choosing him is not because I believe he is the best player that was drafted, but because I think the Mavericks will be pretty good this season. On top of that, Luka could average a near triple double each night with his skill set. I predict his season stat line will be 16ppg, 8rpg, and 8apg. If he can get that stat line and have the Mavs either make the playoffs as an 8th seed or just miss the playoffs, he’s my rookie of the year.
Which Rookie will have the Best Career?
This one seems to be the hardest to judge because there is so much that goes into it. Fit is a big factor here as well as opportunity. If you are drafted to a team that is perfect for your playstyle, things will go great. If you get drafted to a team and are immediately the number one option, things will go great. The rookies surveyed chose Wendell Carter Jr. as who will have the best career long-term. Back when I did my NBA draft guide, I had Carter Jr. as the safest pick in the draft. I assume the rest of the rookies felt he was the safest choice to pick as having the best career as well. However, I disagree with him having the best career as I just can’t see him standing out enough to make that claim.
DeAndre Ayton. Plain and simple, I believe that when it’s said and done Ayton will have had the best looking career. The main reason I’m saying this is because I truly feel that Phoenix has something great brewing there. Devin Booker is no doubt ready to finally win. Booker’s gone 3 seasons as being on the leagues laughable franchise. Ayton is going to come in and show strides of how to turn this franchise around. The pick and roll opportunities he’ll have with Booker will be unlimited. I do think at his ceiling Ayton could be like Shaq with a three-point shot.
Biggest Steal of the Draft
The winner of this one has to be someone who fell way further than most people thought they should have. Last year, Donovan Mitchell got the most votes here and deservingly so. Mitchell was drafted 13 but ended up being a top 2 talent of his draft class. For this season, the rookies selected Keita Bates-Diop who went 48th to Minnesota. His selection makes a ton of sense as he was picked in the back end of the draft. The talent is there, it was just a bad leg fracture that occurred in college which scared teams from drafting him. Bates-Diop is a good scorer and rebounder who I believe will have a pretty solid NBA career.
If I had a vote on this I would have to go with Michael Porter Jr. He slid to 14 when most people had him as a clear top 8 pick. His reason for falling was the same as Bates-Diop, injury concerns. Prior to his injuries, Porter Jr. seemed to be a lock for top 3. If he can stay healthy and perform at the level that his hype was at, he’ll be just fine. In Denver, Porter Jr. will prove to be the steal of the draft.
Overview of the Rest of the Survey
The rest of the survey were all things that didn’t really matter or standout. Trae Young won best shooter by a landslide. I agree with that take and we’ll just have to see how effectively he’ll score at the NBA level. Next, Zhaire Smith got the most athletic, which from everything I’ve seen and heard is true. Lonnie Walker IV looks really athletic as well. Then, Jevon Carter got the best defender. He was a second-round pick, so that was a bit of a shock. I would have chosen Mo Bamba personally. Trae Young also got best playmaker which I very much disagree with. Doncic should have gotten that since he has proven it at a higher level than anyone else listed. The great range of all these choices proves that this rookie class is loaded with talent.
-Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)