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.