Hoops Rumors’ 2019 NBA Award Picks: Rookie Of The Year

While the NBA won’t announce this year’s award winners until June, we’re making our picks for 2019’s major awards this week and next week.

The Hoops Rumors writing team has weighed in with our choices below, but we also want to know which players, coaches, and executives you think are most deserving of the hardware this season, so jump into the comment section below to share your thoughts.

We’re keeping things going today with the award for Rookie of the Year. Here are our selections:

Arthur Hill: Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
Trae Young rallied to make the race interesting, but Doncic stands atop a very talented rookie class. He arrived from the EuroLeague with more experience and poise than most first-year players and quickly proved to be as good as his reputation. He was the top rookie scorer at 21.2 points per game to go with 7.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists, making him the first rookie to reach that combination since Oscar Robertson. Triple-doubles should become common for Doncic in the future as the Mavericks improve.

JD Shaw: Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
Just like the MVP award, this is widely viewed as a race between two select players: Doncic and Young. While Young made a strong late-season push, Doncic’s impressive production lasted all year long for the Mavericks, with the 20-year-old proving he can play multiple positions and lead a young team for the future. His wizardry with the basketball, impressive court vision, willingness to rebound, and mature scoring abilities help him stand out at such a young age, giving him the edge to be my pick for this year’s award.

Chris Crouse: Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
Doncic wasn’t held back by the learning curve that typically accompanies rookies. Showcasing command of the Mavs offense early in the season, he built a Rookie of the Year award candidacy that would be hard for any player to overcome.

Young, Deandre Ayton, and Jaren Jackson Jr. are among those who deserve recognition for their respective rookie seasons and each should have a bright future in the league. However, Doncic’s debut was more deserving of the award.

Dana Gauruder: Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
Young made a spirited run after the All-Star break, but Doncic’s numbers also rose as the year went along. Even after posting 21.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 6.0 APG in his first NBA season, he’s still younger than many college juniors — the Mavericks’ future is bright with Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis as their franchise cornerstones. Doncic also racked up eight triple-doubles, tying for fourth in the league, and he’ll likely rank second to only Russell Westbrook in that category over the next few seasons.

Luke Adams: Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
Young’s second-half stats (22.8 PPG and 8.9 APG in 40 games) made this race more interesting than it had any right to be, given that at least one sportsbook paid out Rookie of the Year bets on Doncic in mid-February. Still, the gap between the two rookies’ early-season performances make this an easy choice.

Before they slumped during the holiday season and then traded away half their team early in 2019, the Mavericks got off to a 15-11 start – capped by a win in Atlanta – with Doncic looking like their MVP. Meanwhile, during the Hawks’ first 26 games, Young was putting up a shooting line of .373/.243/.781 with a league-worst turnover rate. Young’s second-half run wasn’t enough to overcome that slow start.

While a number of players from the 2018/19 rookie class should go on to have long, productive NBA careers, Doncic has been the best of the bunch so far.

Who is your pick for Rookie of the Year? Share your choices and your thoughts in the comment section below!

Previously:

Still to come:

  • Defensive Player of the Year
  • Most Valuable Player

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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9 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors’ 2019 NBA Award Picks: Rookie Of The Year

  1. hiflew

    Doncic will win and probably should win. However, if I was starting a team from scratch I think I would go with Young over him. I might go with Ayton over him as well. Doncic had a fantastic rookie season, but I just don’t think he is going to be a franchise type player long term. I think Trae Young will eventually be a leader of a championship team one day.

    • Nebraska Tim

      Doncic is a half year+ younger than each of Ayton and Young.

      Young was terrible on defense this year. But he definitely has the potential to be electrifying on offense.

      I’m very interested to see how Doncic can improve as he gets more in “NBA shape.”

      While I believe that Doncic has shown that he has the highest ceiling, whichever of these top 3 rookies stays injury free and works on improving their game the hardest will likely be the best of the bunch.

      I think I would take Young and a high draft pick for Doncic (as Atlanta did), but I think most – if not all – NBA GMs would take Doncic over Young straight up. I’m inclined to agree with them.

      2018 redraft:
      1) Doncic
      2) Young
      3) Ayton

      • Luke Adams

        He wasn’t going to win Rookie of the Year, but it’s too bad Jaren Jackson didn’t get a chance to play after the All-Star break. With Gasol gone and the Grizzlies no longer hanging onto playoff hopes, I suspect he’d have been given more freedom and might’ve put up some big numbers, cementing his place in the conversation with those top three rookies.

        • D$!LLKU$H-og

          JJJ killed my Nets early in the season. Think he dropped 30 something on them and hit like 4 threes in the last 2 minutes. He is going to be special. This draft had the best top 12 I’ve seen in a long time, with Mo Bamba being the lone bust.

  2. Hen1CHC

    People sleep on Bagley.

    He could easily have a better career than Ayton

    • x%sure

      True, but for 2018/19, Bagley had more help inside than Ayton. A legit 4 would boost Ayton’s freedom and game. (The only 4, Dragan Bender, was down to 18′ pg and probably will not return.) TJ Warren, a 3 who does not rebound, block shots or defend very well, was the main 4. Kelly Oubre could be an improvement. They were working Josh Jackson at guard!

  3. ROY
    1) Ayton
    2) Doncic
    3) Young
    Although Ayton has been better this year, I think in the long run all 3 will be stars… but Doncic might very well be the very best of the 3.

    • mb1973

      ‘Ayton has been better this year’?

      Now correct me if I’m wrong, but Ayton plays in the Western Conference and, again, correct me if I’m wrong, but the winner of Rookie of the Month in said conference for every month this season was a certain L. Doncic?

  4. Jeff Zanghi

    Sucks for Ayton… not many guys average a double-double in their rookie season and end up essentially an afterthought for the ROY award! Haha But Doncic rightfully deserves it over him… averaging 21/7/7 is certainly deserving of the award!

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