The new NBA season is fast approaching (summer’s over already?!) and as has become tradition, the incoming crop of rookies get to have their say in the annual NBA Rookie Survey. 38 players were asked eight questions at the New York Knicks’ training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y., and the results were surprising.
Kris Dunn is the popular choice among the rookie group as the winner of the Rookie of the Year award with 29 percent of the votes for him, ahead of Brandon Ingram (25.8 percent) and heralded Australian, Ben Simmons (19.4). Simmons seems to be the early favorite with media members to win the award, but he will have to share court time with two others who may factor into the result at the end of the season – Joel Embiid and Dario Saric.
As noted by NBA.com’s John Schumann, this is the fourth year in a row in which the No. 1 overall pick was not selected by the rookies to win the award, but the No. 1 pick has won the past two Rookie of the Year trophies.
Simmons fared little better among his peers when they were asked which rookie would have the best NBA career — he finished tied for fourth with Jaylen Brown, Dragan Bender and Jamal Murray with 6.7 percent of the votes. The Lakers’ Ingram was the clear winner with 26.7 percent of the votes, ahead of Dunn on 16.7 percent.
The other Australian drafted in the lottery round of this year’s draft, Thon Maker, received 6.5 percent of the votes when players were asked which of their fellow rookies would be the biggest steal at the spot he was drafted in.
Maker made headlines leading up to the draft when some questioned his age, but he leaped from a projected late first-round/early second-round pick to the top ten when Milwaukee selected him with the tenth pick in the draft.
The rookies admiration for Dunn’s overall game was evident again when 23.5 percent of them picked him as the player with the best defensive game in the draft as well as the best playmaker (29.4 percent). Simmons finished second in that poll – his acute court vision at Summer League obviously gained him a few votes – with 26.5 percent of the rookies feeling that he was the best playmaker in the draft.
(Somewhat) surprisingly, Kevin Durant’s move to the Golden State Warriors this summer didn’t alter the rookies perception of him – he was voted the rookies’ favorite player in the league over the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony by a margin of over 20 percent (29.7 to 9.4).
Feature image via: NBA.com