Roundtable: 2018-2019 Rookie of the Year Predictions
Jac Manuell - @TheJmanJBT
The fact that the current rookie class picked Colin freaking Sexton to be Rookie of the Year over Luka Doncic is an absolute travesty. Luka Doncic is one of the most talented rookies of the past half decade with the accolades to match. He played an integral role in helping Slovenia win its first EuroBasket in 2017 and was the MVP of the best league outside the NBA at the tender age of 19.
The fact he has proved it on the international stage for such an extended period bodes well for him in comparison to college players who do so over a much shorter frame of time. Doncic has the game that not many rookies, let alone established NBA players possess, per The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks:
Doncic has elite ball-handling and passing skills and the ability to shoot 3s off the dribble. Though 6-foot-8 and 228 pounds, he’s not a point forward; he’s a legitimate point guard with the size of a small-ball power forward, one of the rarest combinations of skills in the game. Even a worst-case version of Doncic is a 10-year NBA player who improves his team’s floor spacing and playmaking from the forward positions and competes on the glass.
Ayton will be a legitimate threat, and to a lesser extent Trae Young (yes Kory), but there’s only one right pick for ROTY if fit and firing, and that’s Luka Doncic.
Jorge Cantu - @CantuNBA
Via. Getty Images
There are a lot of very intriguing prospects in this year's class. But as a very early prediction for the Rookie of the Year award, I will take Luka Doncic. I think it's hard to look anywhere else considering how successful the kid has been overseas, though the question is still whether that success will reflect accordingly on his NBA career or not. The fact the he plays on a roster with a lot of other young players who are also learning their way and with Dirk Nowitzki, arguably the best international player in NBA history, makes me feel confident Luka will make his transition to NBA basketball appear seamless.
Evan Montella - @DaneJoeRuss
Via. Arizona Desert Swarm
An injury to Devin Booker’s shooting hand that has him sidelined until the beginning of the season has opened up a golden opportunity for first overall pick DeAndre Ayton to assert himself offensively. He is the only lottery pick that walks into a clear cut starting role with little competition to take minutes away from him. With Ryan Anderson spacing the floor at power forward Ayton will have ample space to work down low. He is a complete physical force as he blends athleticism, touch, and size that will be impossible to contain on the interior for many of the league's bigs.
The one thing that might keep me up at night over this pick is the lack of point guards on the Suns roster to pass him the ball in good scoring position. Ayton does possess an outside shot to help bail him out of broken plays and late in the shot clock possessions. Either way, he’ll have his chances with an organizational emphasis to get him touches. I bet oft criticized GM Ryan McDonough probably wouldn’t mind seeing his choice at number one winning the award to help validate the selection.
Ryan Wheeler - @mrwheeler18
Via. Arizona Desert Swarm
The Rookie of the Year award is a stats race alone. Therefore, I am pained to write that Deandre Ayton will probably win Rookie of the Year based only on numbers and nothing to do with pesky emotions like joy and fun. See, the Suns are a team without a soul and sap the spirit of anyone unlucky enough to watch their drudgery. Ayton is my least favorite #1 overall pick since Dwight Howard and nobody likes D-Ho anymore. For comparison, I was even more excited about Anthony Bennett than Ayton. As the #1 overall pick, he will have plenty of opportunity on a bad team to play through mistakes. Look for stats near 16 points and 9 rebounds per game on a decent shooting percentage. It’s not to say that Ayton won’t be good, he probably will; I am simply positing that watching Deandre Ayton is not going to be any fun whatsoever.
Mike Ryan - @mikey_ryan11
Going to go with an underdog and sleeper pick here. Yes, the favorites are Doncic, Bagley, and Ayton, but is Knox really much of an underdog? Bovada currently has Knox as the fourth best odds to take home the award. The 6’9 small forward from Kentucky should see plenty of minutes on a bad Knicks team. With Kristaps Porzingis out indefinitely, Knox will get his shots as the primary scorer. With a strong summer league performance under his belt, Knox will have the confidence and ability to step in and have a major impact on this Knicks season.