In a league where rookies have the hardest time adjusting and impacting the game, the NBA has had its fair amount of good rookies this year. Already in March, there is a close race for who is going to take home the Rookie of the Year Award.
There are talents this year like that of Ben Simmons, Kyle Kuzma, Donovan Mitchell, Dennis Smith Jr., Lonzo Ball, Lauri Markkanen, Jayson Tatum and quite a few more. But who really stands a chance to take home the hardware?
Let us take a look at the interesting case of Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma was taken 27th in last year’s draft after the pick was traded to the Lakers, who also received Brook Lopez, in exchange for D’Angelo Russell.
Kuzma wasn’t hyped up in Los Angeles like fellow rookie Lonzo Ball was. But when the Summer League began, he put in question who the best rookie would be on the team. Kuzma continued his great play into the regular season and is currently averaging 15.3 points a game at a 44% rate while grabbing down 5.9 boards a game.
With all the attention on Lonzo Ball, Kuzma sure knew how to take the spotlight away from the number two pick in the draft.
The next player we’ll examine is Ben Simmons. Simmons took the Blake Griffin approach and sat out his first year in the NBA with an injury. In his debut this season, the product that scouts call the next Lebron is living up to expectations.
Simmons is 6’10” yet plays the point guard, and does so effectively. He plays the whole game well and truly does look like a young version of King James. He leads rookies in rebounding and assists per game, while he ranks second in points per game.
His no look dimes and high flying dunks show us why he is the next superstar in the NBA and why he deserves to bring home the Rookie of the Year Award.
The last rookie to analyze is Donovan Mitchell. Like Kuzma, there wasn’t much hype about this prospect out of Louisville. He has definitely brought the hype to himself.
Mitchell is an undersized two guard but boy can he put the ball in the hole. Mitchell leads all rookies in points per game, averaging 19.8!
Mitchell led the rag-tag group of the Utah Jazz to 11 straight wins, who are currently 10th in the Western Conference but only 1.5 games behind the 8th seed. Mitchell showed the NBA that he filled in the role on the Jazz after the departure of Gordon Hayward.
My choice for Rookie of the Year isn’t easy. It is between Lebron Jr. aka Ben Simmons and the reigning Slam Dunk Champion, Donovan Mitchell. Although Mitchell is leading rookies in points and is leading the Jazz to a playoff birth, I’d have to give the award to Simmons if I was in charge.
Simmons’ team only has two more wins than the Jazz but are 6th in the Eastern Conference. His rebounding and passing are way above Mitchell and he only averages three points less than the Jazz rookie.
Kuzma, Mitchell and Simmons are all worthy candidates of this prestigious trophy, but at the end of the day, Simmons is the most qualified recipient.