A Prestigious Award
The NBA rookie of the year award is one of the most prestigious awards in the league. It typically indicates a young player’s success. Players like LeBron James, ChrisPaul, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving all won NBA Rookie of the Year. James won the award in the 2003-2004 season and Kevin Durant won in the 2007-2008 season. Now, James, Durant, and so on are highly respected and continue to dominate the league. Former players like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and more also won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award during their careers. They won the award and went on to become legends of the game. Every year has talented rookies and this year is no exception. The 2018 draft class features players such as DeAndre Ayton. This piece will analyze the top 2018 picks and their chances at NBA Rookie of the Year.
Jaren Jackson Jr.was the fourth pick of the 2018 Draft. The Memphis Grizzlies drafted a young, talented player in Jackson. He is a 6-foot-11 power forward from Michigan State University. Jackson averages 13.1points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks. On November 30th, he had his most impressive game with 36 points and 8 rebounds. Consequently, the Grizzlies Head Coach JB Bickerstaff gave Jackson a huge compliment. He compared Jackson to a young Kevin Garnett. Jaren Jackson has a respectable mid-range jumper and is a skilled shot-blocker. These are some of the same qualities that Kevin Garnett possessed. Bickerstaff’s comparison could be accurate, but only time will tell. Jackson is an underrated Rookie of the Year candidate. His stats are impressive but overshadowed by some of his peers. If Jackson continues to play well, he could eventually receive recognition. Then, he could be
5.) Marvin Bagley III, the Second Pick
Marvin Bagley III was the second pick of this year’s draft. The Sacramento Kings drafted the 6-foot-11 forward out of Duke University. Bagley averages 13.0 points and 6.3 rebounds. At Duke, Bagley averaged 21.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, and shot 61.4 percent from the field. Bagley, like Ayton, is exceptionally athletic. His athleticism and quickness help him run the court as well as slash to the basket. Bagley could follow in the footsteps of another second-round pick. If he plays well he could win the NBA Rookie of the Year award like Kevin Durant did. However, there are other picks from the 2018 draft that are playing as well, if not better thanBagley. So far,one of them is even the current favorite for NBA Rookie of theYear.
4.) DeAndre Ayton, the First Pick of the 2018 Draft
DeAndre Ayton was the first pick of the 2018 NBA Draft. He was drafted by the Phoenix Suns. Ayton is a 7-foot-1, 250-pound Center from the University of Arizona. He averages a double-double with 15.5 points and 10.0 rebounds. Ayton is a mobile big man with an array of skills. His athleticism, strength, and post-game are a few of many skills that he possesses. DeAndre Ayton was the first pick, but that does not guarantee Rookie of the Year. Since LeBron James, seven first picks received NBA Rookie of the Year. The other eight winners were later picks. Kevin Durant was the second pick of his draft class. Damian Lillard was the sixth pick of his draft. In 2017, Malcolm Brogdon won the Rookie of the Year. He was the 36th pick of his draft class. Ayton’s stats help his chances, but the award is not guaranteed. Another prospect could win.
3.) Collin Sexton, A Sleeper Rookie of the Year Candidate?
The top 5 picks of the 2018 draft are all NBA Rookie of the Year candidates. But, there are more picks that are candidates. For example, Collin Sexton is becoming a candidate. Collin Sexton was the eighth pick of this year’s draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Sexton with the draft pick they received from the Boston Celtics. The Cavs received a Brooklyn Nets pick through the Kyrie Irving/ Isaiah Thomas trade. The Celtics owned the pick from a previous trade. Sexton averages 15.8 points,3.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. He struggled at the start of the season but he came off the bench. Now, Sexton is the Cavaliers’ starting point guard. Sexton is improving and has the drive/motivation to do so. He deserves to be an NBA Rookie of the Year candidate.
2.) Trae Young, A formidable Rookie of the Year Contender
Trae Young was the fifth pick of the 2018 Draft. He is a 6-foot-2 guard out of the University of Oklahoma. The Hawks acquired him after a trade with the Dallas Mavericks. The trade sent Luka Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks. Both Doncic and Young are playing well in their rookie seasons. Young averages 15.7 points, 7.3 assists, and 2.7 rebounds. Young is a playmaker and a threat from 3-point range. He even drew comparisons to Steph Curry before the draft. However, Young is only 24.8percent from 3-point range. But as time progresses, Young will probably find his shot. For now, he struggles. Nevertheless, Trae Young is an NBA Rookie of the Year candidate that could compete with the other favorites. He is a player with a bright future.
1.) Luka Doncic, the Favorite for Rookie of the Year
Luka Doncic is a guard/forward from Ljubljana, Slovenia. He played for Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid before entering the NBA with a bang. He signed with Real Madrid at the age of 13, but he started with their under-16 team. Then, he became a regular member of Real Madrid’s senior team in the 2015-2016 season. In his final season, Doncic averaged 16.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in EuroLeague and 12.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in Liga ACB. He also won EuroLeague MVP. Doncic was the third pick of the 2018 draft. The Hawks drafted him, but they traded him to the Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young. Doncic averages 17.8 points, 6.8rebounds, and 4.5 assists. He stands 6-foot-8 and is an impressive playmaker for his size. Luka Doncic is currently the frontrunner for NBA Rookie of the Year.
So, Who Will Win Rookie of the Year?
Overall, the NBA Rookie of the Year award is a prestigious award. These young players mentioned above could potentially have outstanding careers. They have the potential to become the next big stars in the NBA. So far, Luka Doncic is the favorite, but the season just started and the award is up for grabs. Could Trae Young win it? Or, will Collin Sexton prove doubters wrong? DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, and Jaren Jackson Jr.are also candidates. If everyone plays well, the NBA Rookie of the Year race remains exciting. Which candidate will prevail?