NBA

2018-19 NBA Season Predictions: Who will be named Rookie of the Year?

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Deandre Ayton vs. Luka Doncic (NBA Getty Images)

Who do you think will be crowned the NBA's Rookie of the Year for the 2018-19 season?

Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Luka Doncic for three reasons.

The first? There's a good chance Doncic will be the best player from this draft class when it's all said and done.

The second? Doncic is the most NBA-ready rookie having dominated the Euroleague circuit last season.

The third? Doncic is in a good situation to showcase his skills from the get-go.

I'd honestly be more surprised if he didn't win Rookie of the Year than if he did.

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Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): Conventional wisdom won't allow me to pick against Luka Doncic.

Unlike other rookies, Doncic is already established as a pro after his three years spent with Real Madrid. Last year, he led his team to ACB and Euroleague titles, racking up three MVP trophies in the process, and he's only 19-years-old.

While other rookies are likely to hit the proverbial wall, I expect Doncic to use his prior experience as a pro to rise above most obstacles. This isn't to say he won't struggle or be challenged at all - because he will - but Doncic is in the best position to win Rookie of the Year because he is best equipped to handle all the league will throw at him in year one.

Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): I'm honestly split on the fence between Luka Doncic and Deandre Ayton. If I absolutely have to pick, I give the slight nod to Doncic.

While I think Doncic will be the best player, I'm not convinced he'll put up bigger numbers than Ayton which is what gives me pause given the history of the award going to simply has better stats.

For the sake of variety, here's the case for Ayton:

Given what we saw in the preseason, Ayton has a real shot at averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks per game which hasn't been done by a rookie since Tim Duncan in 1997-98. If Ayton scores and rebounds at a considerably higher clip, it could be enough to tip the scales unless Doncic elevates the Mavericks towards fringe playoff contention.

I'm starting to liken this race to the year that Damian Lillard beat out Anthony Davis, riding the better stats to the Rookie of the Year award even though most conceded that Davis was actually the more impactful rookie.

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I'm giving the nod to Collin Sexton.

Sexton was dominant in his one year at Alabama and I'm not just talking about when he scored 40, nearly defeating a ranked team playing 3-on-5. We got to see "Bull Mode" again when he scored 27 in the Summer League semi-finals trying to carry the Cavs past the Lakers. I'm sure that it won't be the last.

Sexton inherits a roster that, despite losing its best player, has still reached four consecutive NBA Finals. He'll be surrounded by better talent that he has ever played with in his life and he has done a lot more with a lot less.

He has a similar play style to John Wall, which will fit well with the Cavaliers' supporting cast of shooters. He has the ability to take over games and when he and Kevin Love are leading the way for the Cavaliers when they're fighting for a playoff spot in the East, it will be tough to give the award to another rookie who might not be playing in meaningful games.

He's truly the Rookie of the Year candidate that no one is talking about.

Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): Trae Young. Why not?

Young might be the most polarizing player from this year's draft. Is he Steph Curry? Probably not, but he's going to do Steph Curry things and that story just writes itself.

The no.5 pick has shown that the NBA three-point line is going to be his best friend, but what has impressed me the most has been his work in the pick-and-roll, especially with big man John Collins.

Young is a shooter, but his playmaking, dribbling and fast-paced game are going to result in a lot of offensive opportunities both for himself and his teammates and with the starting point guard spot all his, let the buckets fly.

Sure, they're not going to win games, but that's not what this award is about.

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