Ben Simmons will be missing a couple of months after a freak injury that will require him to have foot surgery.
The number one overall pick will miss about three months because of the injury. Most assumed that Simmons would garner the Rookie of the Year award on a depleted team.
His absence will open the door for some other promising rookie to gain some traction before he even has a chance to see the floor. In past years, a strong opening month or two would be enough to sway the voters if the competition didn’t immediately set the world on fire.
Here are the four rookies that have a great chance to jump start their Rookie of the Year campaign:
The Suns’ pick in this draft is a big question mark for most basketball fans. Make no mistake, he is skilled and has the kind of positional versatility that will make him an asset in the NBA game with the focus on long distance shooting.
Bender has tremendous size and the advantage of playing in a system that encourages ball movement and scoring. Alongside Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, he will have every opportunity to showcase his game in the desert.
Dunn was a dark-horse pick for this award before he was even drafted. His command of the point guard position in college was tremendous and some observers even called him the best pure prospect at that position since Chris Paul.
The biggest advantage that he will have is that he plays with two other winners of this award. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins will be big targets that will help the young player rack up assists during his first campaign.
As the National Player of the Year in college, there is no reason to believe that Buddy Buckets couldn’t take home this award. He was an explosive scorer at Oklahoma and his shooting ability will likely smooth his transition to the NBA.
He plays alongside a transcendent talent in Anthony Davis and that will also help as he will be on a team that won’t be taking large beatings every night.
Scoring outbursts always play well in this award race and he is the player on this list most capable of strong outings on the offensive side of the ball.
Ingram has all the measurable that a general manager would like to see in a modern small forward. Heck, Kevin Durant said that he saw himself in the rookie when they met this summer. That’s very high praise.
Although the Lakers are not the team that they once were, leading a struggling team to respectability would do wonders for his chances to take home this award. Playing in a large market like Los Angeles couldn’t hurt either.
With the specter of Kobe Bryant gone, the young trio of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Ingram will have a chance to become a nice foundation for the future in L.A. If the former Blue Devil can stand out, then he could take home the hardware.