Peers Choose Zion, Morant As Top Rookie Of Year Candidates

Top pick Zion Williamson of the Pelicans is considered the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award by his peers, but he’s not a clear-cut choice. The second pick in the draft, point guard Ja Morant of the Grizzlies, finished a close second in the voting. However, that might not be such a good thing for either player.

For the 11th time in 13 years, John Schuhmann of NBA.com got the opportunity to ask the NBA’s incoming crop of rookies a series of questions related to their fellow draftees.

Historically, the NBA rookies haven’t been soothsayers. They haven’t accurately identified a Rookie of the Year winner since Kevin Durant in 2007/08. Last season, Deandre Ayton and Collin Sexton were considered the co-favorites. Luka Doncic ended up winning the award with Trae Young finishing a solid second.

Here’s some of the highlights from the survey:

  • Williamson got 35% of the vote for the Rookie of the Year prize, while Morant received 27% backing. No one else got more than 5%.
  • Nuggets second-round pick Bol Bol and Cavaliers’ late first-rounder Kevin Porter Jr. were considered the steals of the draft, with each getting 19% of the vote.
  • Two players stood out to their peers as being the best defenders in the draft — the Sixers’ Matisse Thybulle and the Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter. Thybulle collected 37% of the votes in that category, while Hunter received 29% backing.
  • By a wide margin, Williamson was chosen as the most athletic rookie, garnering 87% of the votes. Morant was selected as the best ball-handler, receiving 40% of those votes.
  • The Heat‘s Tyler Herro (33%) edged out the Kings’ Kyle Guy (29%) as the best shooter.
  • LeBron James (38%) got the highest total in the ‘Favorite player in the league’ category with Kevin Durant (20%) finishing second.
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21 thoughts on “Peers Choose Zion, Morant As Top Rookie Of Year Candidates

  1. southbeachbully

    It’s obvious speculation but how could anyone not look at Cam Johnson as being the best pure shooter in this year’s draft? .506/.457/.818 ?? I think 50/45/80 guys from a top program like UNC have to be pretty rare.

    He’s also a 4 year career 45/40/80 guy too.

    • Tazza

      Also think he’s a great shooter but think he was a reach at 11 in the draft and the Suns hardly needed him, so he’s likely to play behind Booker, Oubre Jr and Bridges. They shouldn’t have trade the 6th pick for him which could have been Coby White they should’ve traded down to the 14th and 20th pick form the Celtics and gotten Alexander-Walker and Brandon Clarke.

      • Jason Lancaster

        I think Phoenix knows Booker is going to request a trade, if he hasn’t done so already. He’s good enough to bring a decent return, and Sarver is cheap.

        I’d guess the plan is to showcase Booker and try to compete thru January, then put out feelers. It explains the draft pick perfectly.

        • Tazza

          I guess so but why would Booker request after he just got paid and accepted a huge deal from the team and he had his first year with Ayton. The team even went out and got Rubio so he didn’t have to play make for others as much.
          The suns just make very poor decisions, and that was one of them. They also traded TJ Warren and the 32nd pick for nothing. Warren just averaged 18 points. Plus a couple years before they drafted Josh Jackson number 4 and gave him up for nothing also.

          • southbeachbully

            @tazza

            Booker demanding a trade 1 year after signing his extension is the same as what AD did. Players don’t care about the team they’re with. They stay long enough to get the money and they beg/bitch out to where they really want to go.

        • southbeachbully

          @Jason Lancaster

          Cam is a 6’9 F and Booker plays the guard. Why would he have to play behind Booker? Cam can spread the floor a lot better than Oubre Jr and Bridges.

      • x%sure

        Yes Boston had 14 & 20 and those would be the guys to get. Grant Williams should be good also, that was a good trade-down by Ainge. Solid draft in 2019… I think GMs were running it down to ease the pressure on them.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      I wonder who was the last rookie of the year to play 4 years of college ball?

    • JonnyLucas

      There’s a big difference between shooting the 3 in college than in the NBA. The distance, the quickness of the dudes closing out on the shooter… Cam will be a good shooter, but Herro is a sniper. He’s going to be Joe Harris good.

  2. braveshomer

    These surveys are skewed how you wish to title them…This survey has Zion ROY but other recent survey has Zion finishing near bottom in overall Career arc….Seriously what’s the point when so many articles are just click based related and contradict eachother?!

    • It’s a slow time of year for NBA basketball. I think they’re just creating conversation and talk for us to read and enjoy and have some back and forth about

    • the dude

      Get off the internet then.

      Also, lots of guys peak in Their rookie season.

  3. tharrie0820

    Wow, was not expecting the #1 and 2 overall picks to be chosen as favorites to win ROY

    • hiflew

      I know right. Just once I’d like to see someone project the 17th or 22nd or 48th pick as the ROY, just to mix it up a bit.

      Last year was a complete outlier season where the best 5 rookies were the top 5 picks. More often than not, a surprise or two happens.

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