Well it’s here.. the start of the NBA season is upon us! So we’ve looked deep into our crystal balls and come up with a set of predictions. Today we look at who we think will be crowned the league’s best rookie for season 2017/18!
Jack Birtwhistle (The better half of the Posterized Podcast and as a fan is on the free agent market):
Dennis Smith Jr. The 2017 Rookie class couldn’t be more different from its predecessor. By my count we have 8 legitimate pre-season contenders in Simmons, Faultz, Fox, Smith, Ball, Monk, Mitchell, Jackson and Teodosic. It’s going to be a rough year for many of these rookies as many are raw products with much to learn, Smith included. Smith’s supreme athleticism will translate to the NBA immediately and will allow him to get cheap points in transition plus get to the rim. Smith will start and will play 30 minutes a game. Whilst efficiency will be low, the raw numbers will be there to sway the voters. Expect Smith to lead all rookies in minutes and points per game.
Brandon Stevens (On his journalistic debut and a mad Thunder fan that is still recovering from KD’s departure):
Ben Simmons. After spending his entire 1 st year on the sidelines with a foot injury, the 2016 number 1 draft pick Ben Simmons finally looks set to make his debut. Spending a season on the sidelines may prove to be an advantage when compared to the rookies of the 2017 draft class as he’s had an extra year of coaching and training under NBA standard trainers/coaches. Simmons has all the tools to become an elite player in the NBA. Standing at a massive 208cm Simmons has size, strength, speed but probably most impressive is his ball handling and court vision/passing for a player of his size, a skill set that looks set to translate very well into an NBA setting. The 76ers have already stated they want Simmons to be their primary ball handler meaning Simmons will have the ball in his hands allowing him to put up impressive numbers. Perhaps Simmons biggest weakness is his shooting, however, as seen in preseason Simmons ability to get to the rim, run the fast break and post up smaller players shows he can score in other ways. The scary thing is Simmons doesn’t even need to score to be effective! Philadelphia have plenty of other players to score such as Covington, whom Ben already seems to have some chemistry with finding him open several times in pre- season; JJ Reddick a deadly shooter who plays well off the ball; this year’s number 1 draft pick Markell Fultz who showed he can score in many ways in college, and of course Joel Embiid, who Simmons has yet share the floor with a whole bunch but I can see these two becoming a deadly duo. I see the 76ers making playoffs this season for the first time since the 2011/2012 season and Ben playing a crucial role in that ultimately leading to him being ROY.
Zac Piesse (Armchair sports expert who aspires to be like Steve Nash on the social basketball court):
Ben Simmons. As I write this with a slight Australian bias, I can say whole-heartedly, Ben Simmons is legit, and the casual NBA fan should tune into as many Philly games as they possibly can! If pre-season (touch wood) is anything to go by, the ability that Simmons has to make his team mates better is infectious. We haven’t really seen him put in any effort yet, after his detached season at LSU and last year’s red shirt, there is so much excitement for Simmons who I hope can reach the level that NBA fans have been craving. Lonzo Ball could be in the conversation and also Dennis Smith Jr.
Can Ben Simmons live up to the hype? Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBA/Getty Images
Sam Duigan (One eyed Spurs fan who’s left hand is non existent on the basketball court):
Ben Simmons. This year’s rookie draft class oozes excitement. From the much hyped Lonzo Ball to the smooth moving Jayson Tatum, there is plenty to like! But the man from down under is going to leave all of them in his wake to be crowned the best rookie of them all. He can do just about all on both ends of the floor and has an NBA ready body to match. Add in the advantage of an extra season in the system and it’s hard to go past the 21 year-old Australian. The 76ers are primed for the first run at the playoff’s since the 2011/12 season and this will only help Simmons cause for rookie of the year. Expect his rebound and assist numbers to hold a record pace for rookies with his scoring likely to catch up in the back half of the season once he becomes more comfortable. This award will only be the beginning of a breakout season for him! (See tomorrow’s bold prediction..)