Who will be named this season's Rookie of the Year?
Ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season, our NBA.com Staff reveals their picks for the end-of-season award.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): This is between LaMelo Ball, Obi Toppin and James Wiseman for me. I think they each have a great shot, but I'm leaning towards Ball heading into the season.
Ultimately, I think Ball will be allowed to play through his mistakes more than Toppin and Wiseman will, and he should rack up some big numbers as long as he's given minutes. Probably not efficiently, but that doesn't usually matter for this award.
To boot, spending last season in the NBL should ease Ball's transition to the NBA because he already has experience playing at the professional level. That could matter more this season than ever before with no Summer League and a condensed training camp.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): When I saw Deni Avdija dominate at Basketball Without Borders during Charlotte's 2019 All-Star weekend, I knew I was watching a special player.
Deni Avdija talks about his competitive spirit ahead of his rookie season with the @WashWizards.- NBA (@NBA) December 3, 2020
The 2020-21 NBA Season Starts Christmas Week with Games Beginning Tuesday, December 22. #KiaTipOff20 pic.twitter.com/51dE7ZHJYQ
To me, he comes to the league the most NBA-ready, having played with men in one of the toughest leagues (Israeli Premier League and EuroLeague) in the world in the last couple of years as a teenager. He'll have some growing pains - as every rookie does - but I think he'll make an impact on a Wizards team that will need him to contribute right out of the gate.
Avdija has a chip on his shoulder sliding all the way to ninth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft and I'm happy to pick him as my ROY choice knowing he's stepping on the court night in, night out with something to prove.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): Prior to the New York Knicks first preseason game, I wrote about how I believe No. 8 overall pick Obi Toppin will win Rookie of the Year.
Toppin made that projection look great in his first NBA action, going for 11 points and seven rebounds while showcasing the poise of a player well beyond his first professional basketball game.
ICYMI: Obi played in his first preseason game last night.- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 12, 2020
🏀 11 PTS | 7 REBS pic.twitter.com/1U8Yj2szFX
As the best player in college basketball last season, Toppin proved he has the skill set to match his prototypical NBA body. In New York, he should have plenty of opportunities to post big numbers and because of that, he should have the Rookie of the Year trophy in his sights.
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): l'm all in on LaMelo Ball
"Rookie of the Year? Guaranteed. Teaming up with Michael Jordan and you can't get Rookie of the Year? Are you crazy?" LaVar Ball proclaimed recently ... and I agree.
Ball was named Rookie of the Year in his lone season in Australia's NBL and now he's in the perfect situation to take home the award at the NBA level.
As Scott mentioned, Ball will likely have a much longer leash than most other rookies, with the Charlotte Hornets set to have the ball in his hands from the jump, marshalling their uptempo offence.
Between the eye-popping assists, daily SportsCenter appearances and nightly triple-double potential, Ball has the perfect storm brewing to be the most impactful rookie this season.
Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): LaMelo Ball.
I believe he's got the most potential and he will get more of the ball to show off that potential, which is critical to rookies making their case for the award.
This recognition isn't given to the most talented rookie or the one with the most potential but to the best performing one. Given the Hornets' circumstances, roster and depth chart, I believe Ball has the talent and the skill set to take this award home at the end of the 2020-21 season.
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