Predictions for the Rookie of the Year Award
NBA Awards will be on Monday, June 24 at 8 P.M. on TNT.
June 24, 2019
These are the stories that start every National Basketball Association (NBA) season. Looking back, three rookies in particular have already shown that they can take this league by storm. Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and the number one overall pick, Deandre Ayton, are the leagues undeniable top picks to win the Rookie of the Year award at the 2019 NBA Awards.
HONORABLE MENTION- Collin Sexton and Marvin Bagley III
Collin Sexton was touted as an explosive guard during his time playing at the University of Alabama. His college career had plenty of highlights. To top the list is a 40 point game against the University of Minnesota. The game finished with only three Alabama players on the court, due to ejections. Sexton was drafted eighth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, to be a part of the “Post-LeBron Era” team. Sexton put up decent numbers for the Cavaliers (19-63), scoring 16.7 points, three assists, and 2.9 rebounds. As a point guard who always looks to score first, low assist numbers, and finding his feet on a team that is looking to rebuild, Sexton is sure to be hoping for a big 2019-2020 season.
Former Duke power forward, Marvin Bagley III, was the second overall pick to the Sacramento Kings, but my favorite rookie going into the season. The Sacramento Kings got off to a hot start, going 21-11 in the first two months of the season. During that time, Bagley had one of his best games, albeit in a loss, against the Denver Nuggets. He scored 20 points, nine rebounds, and a career-high five blocks. Once December came around, the injuries did as well. A sprained left knee injury resulted in only five games played the whole month. Undoubtedly, these injuries cost him a place in the Top 3.
THIRD PLACE – DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
DeAndre Ayton was the 30th center to go number one overall when he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns. Ayton didn’t have to move far, staying in the same state where he played college at the University of Arizona. The Phoenix Suns had high hopes for Ayton as he joined forces with Suns superstar, Devin Booker, to form a young Kobe/Shaq-esque duo.
The Suns were the Suns for most part…terrible, winning only 19 games for the season. Through the losses, Ayton stood out as a solid contributor. Specifically in the game against the Denver Nuggets where he scored a career-high 33 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and showing quick hands on defense, tallying four steals.
Ayton has good stats, 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. It was the scoring inconsistencies and what can only be described as “tanking” by the Sun’s management which will cost him the award.
SECOND PLACE – Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
The Oklahoma Sooner freshman star had a lot to live up to going into his rookie year. Praised as one of the best shooters since Steph Curry was drafted in 2009. Initially picked up by the Dallas Mavericks as their fifth overall pick, he was ultimately traded to the Atlanta Hawks.
Young immediately won the hearts of Hawks fans by scoring 35 points in his third game. However, that would be the peak of the season until February, where he reemerged ready to play. Trae tallied 23.3 points per game and had seven point-assist double-doubles in that month alone.
He finished his season with 29 double digit assist games, and eight games with at least five made three-pointers.
Though he is an elite passer and someone that can shoot the lights out, the only thing holding him back from winning this award is turnovers. This trend follows him from college, where he averaged 5.2 turnovers per game. His first year in the NBA only slightly improved with 3.8 turnovers per contest.
He is certainly a player to watch and has what it takes to be an elite point guard.
WINNER – Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
Luka Dončić may be a rookie to the NBA, but he was a young Slovenian Euroleague star, winning the Euroleague MVP at just 19 for Real Madrid. Originally drafted by the Atlanta Hawks as their third pick, he was traded to Dallas in a deal that included a swap for fellow rookie-of-the-year candidate Trae Young.
Luka started his career with an October to remember, averaging 19.6 points, and a 31 point explosion in an overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
He continued to put up the same numbers but took his game to the next level in January, where Dončić had seven 30 point games, two double-doubles, and two triple-doubles. He also had his best game of the year in yet another loss to the Toronto Raptors, with a career-high 35 points, a then career-high 12 rebounds, and ten assists.
Though the Mavericks didn’t have the best record in a tough western conference, Luka has shown us that he has the “it” factor, and that solidifies him as the top choice for the prestigious Rookie of the Year.