2017-18 NBA Season Predictions: Rookie of the Year

Rookie of the Year is going to be one of the most exciting races all season, as this year’s talent from the draft was special. Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, and De’Aaron Fox (the first five picks) all had very reasonable arguments to be the #1 overall pick. There are always a lot of factors that goes into Rookie of the Year, as unlike MVP, this award usually doesn’t mean the team has to be good.

Candidates:

Markelle Fultz

Although winning isn’t required to win Rookie of the Year, Fultz will be a big part of a Philadelphia team that could make the playoffs, which would be a huge plus if he played a significant role as a rookie. But, Fultz has a lot of other talent around him, including fellow rookie Ben Simmons, so it could be hard at times for Fultz to be the volume scorer he is.

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball is considered a favorite for this award, which would make another one of Lavar Ball’s predictions right. Ball’s style of play perfectly fits the Lakers, as the Lakers will run in transition, and Lonzo won’t have to be a dynamic scorer to be extremely effective due to his passing ability. The Lakers’ young team should allow him to get a lot of minutes and show his case for ROY.

Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons is often forgotten in this race because of his injury last season that didn’t allow him to play. Many at this time last year said that Simmons could be a “generational” player, and being 100% coming into this season, there’s no reason (especially being in the league an extra year) that Simmons can come out to a faster start than most rookies.

Honorable Mention:

Dennis Smith Jr.

Dennis Smith Jr. is a dark horse candidate for many, as his athleticism will translate perfectly to the NBA game. Although, I think he needs to develop more and will take slower to develop than others.

Prediction: Lonzo Ball (LAL)

I think Lonzo will win Rookie of the Year because of the system fit between him and the Lakers. Having Brandon Ingram, Brook Lopez, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will not  hinder him, but it will only make him thrive as making teammates better is his game. Lonzo doesn’t have to take 25 shots a night to be effective, for he is efficient enough to not need many shots.

Although the NBA Summer League is no indication on what a player will be, Lonzo Ball averaged 16.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 9.3 AST. Ball also won the Summer League MVP. The significance in Summer League is that we were able to see Lonzo in the Lakers system and against other rookies, which he excelled. He shouldn’t have to worry about playing time, and Lavar Ball shouldn’t be worried about picking his son to win this award.

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