The NBA Rookie of the year, for first time players, to show that they can shine in the NBA. The 2017 Draft so saw some talented youngsters enter the NBA. It’s time to see the front runners for the award that they can win only in their first year. Here are the top 5 contenders for the Rookie of the year award.
Ball is the most hyped NBA rookie this year. After a successful year with UCLA, the number 2 pick of the 2017 Draft shined in the summer league. However, so far the point guard has had a fairly mixed start to professional basketball. While his pass first mentality is benefitting the attack, and the team have added more pressure on the defensive end, his biggest drawback is his shooting. He is currently shooting 31% from the field, 25% from 3-point and 50% from free throw line. Not reliable numbers.
He still is the youngest player to record multiple triple doubles. If he can improve his scoring more, the fortunes of his career and the team are bound to go up.
Kuzma has proven to be a valuable acquisition by Magic Johnson. Projected to go undrafted, the man was acquired in a trade between the Lakers and Nets. Now the NBA rookie has become an important scorer. He was the Summer league’s leading scorer and finals MVP. However, he has continued that momentum into the regular season. As it stands, he is the leading scorer on the young Lakers team, and a reliable presence on the boards. He is shooting reliably from all ends of the floor, and will continue to improve.
Right now, he is the best rookie of the Lakers and is more likely to win the award than his more talked about team mate as it stands today. He was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for Oct & Nov.
If there’s a bright spot for the Mavericks this season, it’s Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. This rookie will be the face of the franchise after the Dirk era. Strong summer league performances have reflected in a strong performance on the court. As the leading play maker and a reliable scorer, the Mavericks fans and team, have their new corner stones in place.
He is a decent (not as great) shooter yet with 40% field goal accuracy. Dennis should learn from the older Maverick vetrans. The team will need to work to surround him with the right team. Done right, the team have a franchise player for the future.His performances, consistent so far should see him in the rookie of the year contention for the rest of the season.
When Utah lost Gordon Hayward, they lost their leading scorer. However, Mitchell, the 13th pick of the Draft has done considerably well to compensate. He is averaging an impressive 16 points a game as a rookie. He recently had a 41 point night, a first by a Rookie since Blake Griffin in 2011, and not to mention he toppled franchise records that night.
As a shooter, he has been efficient throughout out his college days and is shooting fairly well at a professional level. Now, he really has his time to shine, with Rudy Gobert out injured. If he can establish himself in the next few weeks, he will become an indispensable part of the team.
Wasn’t he just worth the wait? The 76ers dealt with draft picks being injured. Simmons has proven he is going to be an elite level guard. Simmons leads NBA rookies in points, rebounds, assists and steals. He can shoot the ball well with his 50% scoring. He is forming a lethal partnership with Joel Embiid.
What’s scary about Simmons is his size mismatch. He is quick, and runs the plays as point guard, but stands at 6’10 , and uses his size to overpower other guards on him. He also is able to shoot from anywhere. What’s more is his numbers. 2 Triple doubles and 5 near triple doubles in a quarter of the season. He totalled 170 points, 100 rebounds, 80 assists within his first 10 games.
The only downside for Simmons is his free throw shooting. He shoots at around 55%, and the Washington Wizards have already employed a hack tactic against him. He attempted 29 free throws that match.
If he stays healthy, and maintains his performances, he will be walking away with the Rookie of the year award. If he can improve his free throw shooting, he will be a start in the NBA.