Naming the top contenders to be NBA Rookie of The Year

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The first year in the NBA is usually a difficult one for most players, but there are always some that stand out from the pack and put themselves in contention to win Rookie of The Year.

Last season's second pick of the draft Jabari Parker got off to a fast start, but soon suffered a season-ending knee injury which allowed the number one pick, Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins, to cruise through and win the award.


But this season is set to be different as there are a large number of players in 2015's draft class who have star potential, with some already showing promising signs in the first week of games.

With that in mind, let's take a look at who is in the running...


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Karl-Anthony Towns 

Towns was the number one overall pick by Minnesota, joining up with 2014's top pick Wiggins, and he should be able to have an immediate impact at the Timberwolves.

His offensive game matches up well for a rookie, as he is a big man who is extremely adept at making long-range jump shots.He'll hope to soon transition this into regular three-pointers when he becomes more used to the NBA three-point line, as it is longer than the line the NCAA use for college basketball. 

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Through his first three games, he is already averaging 17.7 points-per-game while shooting 57.9% from the field, as well as grabbing two offensive rebounds per game.

Even though his defensive game is in need of improvement he should be able to at least affect opposition players' shots early in his career due to his height and length, which has seen him already block eight shots in his first three matches.

Jahlil Okafor 

The third pick in the draft, Okafor made a statement in his first ever NBA game by scoring 26 points in Boston against the Celtics and he has impressed in his opening appearances for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Okafor is in a very similar position to Towns, although further behind in his defensive progress. Like the number one pick, he has an accomplished offensive game, except the prospect from Duke is more reliant on playing closer to the basket, but can still make a good percentage of two-point jump shots.

Four games in, the 76ers center is the highest-scoring rookie with 20.3 points-per-game while shooting 54.8% from the field and over 80% on free throws.

Emmanuel Mudiay

Mudiay is a different story to every other player. He decided to forgo an opportunity to play college basketball, where he would have been 'one and done' before entering the NBA draft. Instead, he opted to move to China for a season to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

Without the college exposure, Mudiay dropped to number seven in the draft where he was snapped up by the Denver Nuggets.

Oddly, he has begun the season shooting an extremely high percentage from three-point range, currently 47.1%, but his overall field goal percentage is down at a lowly 30.9%.

If this continues in the same vein it may begin to be a concern for the Nuggets but, at this point in time, Mudiay has been able to make up for his poor shot making with his overall play.

Mario Hezonja

Croatian starlet Mario Hezonja was taken with the fifth pick of the draft, after leaving Spanish side Barcelona and declaring for the NBA draft.

He is someone who has been tipped to become a star in the future because he is a wing who can do almost anything going forward, helped by his great athleticism.

Hezonja has displayed his three-point range early in his career, making 55.6% of his shots from deep in his first five matches.  He will not be in contention to win the award, however, if his continues to play only 14 minutes-per-game and will be hoping that changes sooner rather than later.

Other Contenders

Kristaps Porzingis - New York Knicks power forward Porzingis has started the season better than expected, giving the Knicks 12 points a game alongside Carmelo Anthony and faring better defending in the post that many experts expected.

Stanley Johnson - Detroit wing Johnson has been a key player off the bench for Detroit, who surprisingly started the season 3-0.

If Johnson wants to make a push for the award then he will need to drastically increase his offensive efficiency to match his good defensive work, as he has started his NBA career shooting just 27.3% from the floor.

DeAngelo Russell - Russell was a surprising choice for the Lakers as the number two pick, when they were expected by many to take Okafor.

That decision may be one the Lakers front office are regretting early into the season after Okafor's performances, but they hope that picking Russell will come good in the long run.


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