Who will win 2012/13 NBA Rookie of the Year award?

Sean Highkin Roar Rookie

By Sean Highkin, Sean Highkin is a Roar Rookie

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    Damian Lillard for the Portland Trail Blazers. . (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

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    One of the most exciting parts of any new NBA season is our chance to get a first look at some of the names that will shape the basketball conversation for years to come.

    The 2012 rookie-class is as highly-touted as any in recent memory with several players who have the potential to be stars as soon as this season.

    Here’s a look at five newcomers with the chance to take home this season’s Rookie of the Year honors:

    Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets

    The top pick in this year’s draft, Davis is the most hyped big-man prospect to come into the NBA since Greg Oden.

    His résumé is already mightily impressive for a 19-year-old, having led Kentucky to the NCAA title and won a gold medal with Team USA at the London Olympics.

    Davis should be a defensive and shot-blocking force right away, and has the tools to become one of the most dominant defenders in the league within a few years.

    He has yet to develop much of an offensive game outside of putback dunks around the basket. But having re-signed Eric Gordon and acquired sharpshooting forward Ryan Anderson from Orlando, the Hornets can more than afford to bring Davis along slowly on the offensive end.

    If he proves capable of guarding centers at the NBA level as well as he did in college, there’s no stopping Davis from becoming a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats

    Davis’ Kentucky teammate is already drawing comparisons to Gerald Wallace. An explosive athlete with a deadly transition game, Kidd-Gilchrist also has the potential to become an elite perimeter defender.

    Unlike Davis’ Hornets, MKG has virtually no talent around him in Charlotte, meaning he’ll be put in the position where he’ll have to make plays on offense right away. For a wing player, he’s an excellent passer and rebounder, but his jump shot is still very much a work in progress.

    New coach Mike Dunlap, who has a college background, plans to implement a pressure-oriented defensive system, an environment in which MKG could be effective right away. If Dunlap also pushes the pace on offense and allows Kidd-Gilchrist to get to the rim often, he could be a major factor on that end as well.

    Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

    At Weber State, Lillard flew under the radar despite being the second-leading scorer in the college basketball last season. But what the speedy Lillard lacked in pre-draft hype, he’s more than made up for in accolades since then, putting on a show at Las Vegas Summer League and taking home MVP honors.

    For a rookie point guard, his passing instincts and shot selection are remarkably well honed, and he makes very few mistakes with the ball. He’ll be given full control of the offense right off the bat for the rebuilding Blazers, which could mean huge scoring numbers. He should also make an excellent pick-and-roll partner for LaMarcus Aldridge.

    Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons

    No top-10 pick in this year’s draft comes with the amount of caveats and question marks Drummond does.

    He’s a classic example of a raw, high-upside big man who could become dominant if he harnesses his physical gifts and turns them into actual NBA skills.

    Leading up to the draft, questions abounded concerning Drummond’s work ethic and motivation, and his 29 percent free-throw shooting clip from his one year in college was a major red flag as well.

    There’s a chance he could be the next Hasheem Thabeet, a fellow University of Connecticut product who was drafted high for being very tall and turned out to be a pretty bad basketball player.

    But Drummond has turned heads in the Pistons’ exhibition games, playing at a level his critics didn’t expect from him this early. He still fouls a lot, but there’s plenty of promise for him and Greg Monroe to anchor the Pistons’ frontcourt unit for many years.

    Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors

    Since Arvydas Sabonis, NBA teams have been constantly on the lookout for the next great European center. In fellow Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors believe they may have found just that guy.

    Valanciunas was taken fifth in the 2011 draft but played international ball last season and joins the Raptors following a performance in the London Olympics that didn’t live up to expectations. Scouts still rave about his skillset, however.

    It’s been years since the Raptors have had a defensive presence like him in the middle, and he can score in a variety of ways.

    If he performs up to expectations and Toronto makes a run at a playoff spot, expect Rookie of the Year voters to take notice.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • October 24th 2012 @ 10:29am
      melo-drama said | October 24th 2012 @ 10:29am | ! Report

      The 2012 NBA draft was the first draft in history that saw team mates go #1 and #2 in the draft which is a massive credit to John Calipari and his basketball programme. Your looking at Rookie of the year contenders going down to Tyler Zeller at number 17. So its all going to come down to the minutes they get for the team. MGK (Kidd-Gilchrist) will prob have the biggest impact initially because he’ll get 30+ minutes straight away purely because the Bobcats have no one else. Anthony Davis is going to have a difficult time competing with on of the more offensively gifted Power Forwards in the league in Ryan Andersson so that will more then likely cut into his minutes. Damian Lillard had a massive Summer league but his performances have been very up and down in the preseason. From what we’ve seen from Valanciunas from the Olympics he is a definite contender but I dont think he’s been playing much in the / if at all in the pre season so it will be interesting to watch him in the man on man defence in the NBA.
      Finaly and the dark horse for Rookie of the year Sacramento’s Thomas Robinson – although his performances in the summer league and preseason have been a little less then consistant he’s definitely going to get time and the King’s have the best looking future front court the NBA has seen in a very long time!.

    • Columnist

      October 24th 2012 @ 11:17am
      Ryan O'Connell said | October 24th 2012 @ 11:17am | ! Report

      My dark horse, providing he gets the minutes, is the Wizards Bradley Beal. The kid can really play.

      • October 24th 2012 @ 11:27am
        melo-drama said | October 24th 2012 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        Beal will have to compete for minutes against another offensive talent in Jordan Crawford though that would be my only beef with Beale but he definitely looked the goods in the pre-season. Finaly the Wizz have got a pretty well rounded team however missing a decent piece at small forward.

        • Columnist

          October 24th 2012 @ 11:38am
          Ryan O'Connell said | October 24th 2012 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          Yeah, him and Crawford have split starting duties in the pre-season, but I expect Beal to come off the bench once the regular season starts. Seeming as he’s a rookie, it’s probably a good thing. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he can average around 13ppg, and considering it’s not the strongest rookie class, that could be enough to earn him some votes.

          • October 24th 2012 @ 12:06pm
            melo-drama said | October 24th 2012 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

            Ah but Ryan they are touting this draft class as the best draft class since 2004 due to the depth and you saw alot of team last season (Portland and Houston) to break up their teams to get lottery picks in this draft. Some teams even went down to the wire on the day the Cav’s were in talks with the Wizz and GSW in talks with the Bobcats to acquire trade agreements on Bradley Beale and MGK however none of the trades went through. You can also make arguments going down to Royce White at Houston as a potential Rookie of the year candidate. I’ll also bring back the Kings example, Jimmer Fredette was the leading season scorer of all time in College ball however didnt adjust well in the NBA he was drafted 7th, Isaiah Thomas was drafted 60th and was in the top 5 for votes in Rookie of the year.

            • Columnist

              October 24th 2012 @ 12:34pm
              Ryan O'Connell said | October 24th 2012 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

              It’s deep, but other than Davis, I don’t think there is a clear cut ready-made star, that’s all I meant when I talked about ‘not the strongest rookie class’. There are plenty of players that will help their teams straight away, and plenty of players that could be stars in the future. But other than potentially Davis, there isn’t a Webber, Duncan, Shaq, LeBron, etc, type player

    • October 24th 2012 @ 12:28pm
      astro said | October 24th 2012 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

      It’s Davis first, then daylight second for ROY.

      He’s a rebounding and shot blocking machine. His stats in those categories alone, will win him ROY. MKG will play hard each and every night for the Cats, but his numbers won’t be as impressive.

      Agree that Beal will be a dark horse. I’d expect him to get plenty of minutes during the season…Crawford is getting minutes now with Wall out, but a Wall/Beal backcourt is the future for the Wiz.

      Another dark horse is Sullinger. Has been great in pre-season, and will get minutes for the Celts, as KG won’t play huge minutes through the regular season. His basketball instincts are fantastic, and assuming he’s healthy, he’ll prove to be a steal, and with Rondo poised to have a huge year, Sullinger will pick up plenty of buckets around the basket off the back of Rondo drives.

      • October 24th 2012 @ 1:58pm
        melo-drama said | October 24th 2012 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

        Sullinger has played well but he isn’t only competing with KG he’s competing with an massively improved Jeff Green as well (even though I know he can play 3 & 4) so Sullinger will have to work super hard for his minutes on the court but it will be hard to break into KG’s and Green’s minutes in all honesty.

        • Roar Pro

          October 24th 2012 @ 3:11pm
          Phil Coorey said | October 24th 2012 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

          I agree that Sully is no chance for ROY but he think he will have a good year at Boston, especially if his back holds up.

    • Columnist

      October 24th 2012 @ 1:36pm
      Alfred Chan said | October 24th 2012 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

      Welcome to The Roar Sean.
      I’ve got Austin Rivers as my ROTY candidate. He’s started for the Hornets throughout the preseason getting good game time and he’s going to be the starter simply because they have no other true PG on their roster. Although his stats during the preseason have been average, he was was the best college PG in my books. If he wasn’t injured for March Madness, I think he would have been drafted a lot higher. With Ryan Anderson there, Rivers will have a great pick n roll partner and he’s one of the better perimeter shooters. Just watch his buzzer beater against UNC and try not to get excited. I think he’ll have a great rookie year.

      • October 24th 2012 @ 1:56pm
        melo-drama said | October 24th 2012 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

        Problem with Rivers is he is an undersized 2 guard that can play PG however with daddy’s help he’ll probably make a good go at it dont see him winning ROTY esp when he isn’t as good at the position as Damian Lillard and he’s on the same team as ‘Fear the brow’ Davis. In saying that though who knows what injuries the season will bring. On the whole Davis has got ROTY in the bag, all the scouts reckon he’s too small and doesn’t have an NBA body at the moment.

      • Columnist

        October 24th 2012 @ 2:25pm
        Ryan O'Connell said | October 24th 2012 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

        I think Damian Lillard might take exception to you calling Rivers the best point guard!

        I’m a Dookie, so I like Rivers. But I’m not sure he’s an NBA starting point guard. I think his best position will be a combo guard off the bench.

        One thing about Rivers which you can’t teach or coach – he’s confident. Confidence can carry you a long way, especially when you have talent, which he also does. I wouldn’t want to bet against him being successful. But it might take him a year or two to find his niche in the NBA.

        • October 24th 2012 @ 4:55pm
          mushi said | October 24th 2012 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

          Rivers averaged 2.1 assits per game against 2.3 turnovers. The opposition literally got the ball from him more often than a blue devil scorer.

          He’s a natural born gunner who will pull the trigger without fear or conscience. So he may struggle with the athletic disparity in the NBA for a little bit.

    • Roar Rookie

      October 24th 2012 @ 2:11pm
      Skinnada said | October 24th 2012 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

      Anthony Davis. Not much else about that should trouble him for award. Going with the US team would have helped Davis too!

    • October 24th 2012 @ 4:53pm
      Chaos said | October 24th 2012 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

      My darkhorse is Terrance Jones from the Rockets. Most impressive in summer league and preseason so far. Only real challenge for minutes in Houston is three year veteran Patrick Patterson, second year player Morris (who struggled last season) and other rookies Royce White and Monjuntes (spelling). Royce White will have enough problems getting to the games in a bus let alone getting into the rotation. Would be a challenger if he didn’t have his ‘issues’.

      Jeremy Lamb is a smokey too however Martin has blitzed the preseason games and Delfino will poach minutes off him. Also needs to work on defence and better shot selection. However can score with his eyes closed.

      My other tip outside those mentioned is Thomas Robinson. Solid player. Should get plenty of playing time for the Kings.

      Otherwise the contenders in your article will be the ROFY.

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