As the All-star break nears and mid-season grades start going out, it’s time to look at the top rookies of the season so far. Portland’s Damian Lillard is the odds-on-favorite to walk away with the Rookie of the Year trophy but let’s look at the top candidates let us know if you agree.
Since being selected MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League, Damian Lillard has stepped in on a team use to making the playoffs as the starting point guard and has shown the leadership and pose of a veteran. As a rookie he’s playing 40 minutes, averaging 18 points with 6 assist and 3 rebounds a game. He came into the league with the reputation of being a great 3-shooter with good ball handling skills. He’s only shooting 38% from the 3-point line but more impressively 42% from the field and 84% from the line. If he continues playing at this rate, he’ll be the runaway rookie of the year winner.
From winning a national championship at Kentucky as a freshman to playing with Team USA this summer, Anthony Davis has shown why he was selected at the top of the NBA draft. Showing the defensive skills we saw at Kentucky, Davis is leading the Hornets with 1.8 blocks and 7.6 rebounds a game. He’s also shown the ability to score averaging 12.9 points a game. Davis has struggled a bit giving up almost 2 turn overs a game but as the season progresses you can see there is no limit to his potential stardom.
After suffering the worst single-season winning percentage in NBA history, the Bobcats have a surprising future star in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Labelled the most athletic player in the draft, Kidd-Gilchrist is doing exactly what’s been expected of him by attacking from the wing playing aggressive defense. His 10 points a game is no surprise but no one expected him to be shooting 47% from the floor. He’s also grabbing six rebounds and handing out two assists per game. At 6’7″ and 230 pounds, he has the physical skills and ability to be one of the best players from this draft class.
If you watched Big East basketball last year or caught any of Syracuse’s games you know one thing, Dion Waiters can flat out score. In college he was an aggressive, strong guard, showing no fear driving to the basket and he’s brought that same style to the NBA. Scoring 14.5 points a game, second of all rookies, and racking up the ESPN Top 10 highlight reels, he’s been recently added to the Cavaliers’ starting lineup. What Waiters needs to improve is shooting percentage, currently only at 36%. Without question he’s been Cleveland’s second best scorer and has made an excellent back courtmate to Kyrie Irving.
Known as the best shooter in the draft, Bradley Beal has had a slow start to his NBA career but is quickly showing why he got that title. Since the beginning of January, Beal has seen his overall shooting percentage rise as well as his 3-point shooting percentage. He’s currently averaging 13 points, three rebounds and almost three assists a game. Since January 7th when he went a perfect 3 for3 from the 3-point line helping the Wizards upset the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Wizards have played their best ball of the season winning 7 of the last 11 games. With John Wall at point, Bradley Beal is shaping up to being the perfect backcourt partner in Washington.
What do you think? Who is the Rookie of the Year so far? Vote in the poll below and comment.
Who is the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year?
- Damian Lillard (69%, 41 Votes)
- Anthony Davis (20%, 12 Votes)
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (5%, 3 Votes)
- Dion Waiters (3%, 2 Votes)
- Bradley Beal (2%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 59