The 2014/15 NBA season will be underway in just under two months, and members of this summer’s much-discussed draft class will finally have a chance to prove that they deserve all the hype they’ve received. Plenty of recent draftees will get the opportunity to make an immediate impact on the court, but only one will be named Rookie of the Year. With the uncertainty that injuries, roster shuffling, and varying playing time all carry, it’s tough to pick a clear-cut favorite in the preseason. Still, it’s fun to take a stab at which college studs will have the most success translating their game to the next level.
The Timberwolves received top pick Andrew Wiggins in the deal that sent Kevin Love off to the Cavs, and the Kansas product will likely see more playing time as a result. Minnesota carries a young, exciting roster, and the chance to play with assist machine Ricky Rubio means Wiggins should be in line to get plenty of good looks from all over the floor. Wiggins’ college teammate, Joel Embiid, would also figure to have a pretty good shot at winning the title with the Sixers if he wasn’t entering the season with so many question marks surrounding his health. As it stands, the freakishly athletic center might miss the entire year.
Jabari Parker of the Bucks and Julius Randle of the Lakers are two big men that are often described by pundits as being “NBA ready,” and they’re each in line to be able to see some serious minutes in their upcoming rookie campaigns. Both will suit up for teams likely figuring to be lottery bound next summer, so they’ll have a good chance to make their presence known on the hardwood. However, whether or not they can deliver on expectations as pros has yet to be seen.
Only 4.9% of Hoops Rumors readers who voted in last year’s edition of this poll selected Michael Carter-Williams to win the award, but the lengthy Syracuse point guard put up big numbers for a less-than-stellar Sixers team and ended up receiving the top rookie honor. It’s always tough to predict who will take the title home, especially with such a talented class, but give us your best prediction by voting in the poll below. I’ve included the top eight picks (minus Embiid) and Nerlens Noel, the talented 2013 Sixers draftee who sat out the entire last season with an injury. I’ve also put in the Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic, a 2011 draft pick who’s been playing overseas and been labeled as the best player in Europe. There’s an “Other” option there as well, so let us know if you think someone else should be considered the favorite by sharing your thoughts in the comments section.