NBA

Dennis Smith Jr..

Charles Barkley tips Dennis Smith Jr. or De'Aaron Fox for Rookie of the Year

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This year's NBA draft class is certainly one of the strongest in recent years and is littered with talent.

The Summer League gave us a glimpse of what the future holds with some impressive performances from this year's rookies.

With the likes of Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, De'Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr. already showcasing their skills, we could be witnessing the league's next generation of stars.

With that in mind, the battle for the Rookie of the Year will be one of the most fiercely contested with many worthy candidates ready to set the NBA stage alight.

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons - the 2015 number one overall pick - will also be eligible as he gears up for his rookie campaign following a year out with injury.

The race will be wide open this year unlike recent seasons and recently, Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley weighed in with who he's tipping to take home the honour.

“I think Dennis Smith is a stud,” Barkley said. “I picked him for Rookie of the Year. I think it’s going to come down to him and De’Aaron Fox [of Sacramento]. I think they’re both terrific.

2017 Las Vegas Summer League - Boston Celtics v Dallas Mavericks

“I love what the Mavs did drafting him. I had to flip a coin between him and De’Aaron Fox for Rookie of the Year. It could go either way.”

It's hard to argue with anybody's pick at this stage as it really can be won by any of the aforementioned players.

Lakers point guard Ball is the bookmakers' favourite but Barkley has something in common with the 2017 class as they also selected Smith Jr. as their pick to win ROY via the Rookie Survey.

One thing that will work against both the Dallas Mavericks youngster and Fox will be the fact that they're unlikely to be starters for their teams.

2017 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle has already stated that Smith will have to earn his spot in the starting lineup and compete with Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry while Fox will be playing backup to George Hill for the Sacramento Kings after he signed a three-year $57 million deal in the offseason.

There's no doubt, however, that the duo will certainly be the long-term point guards for their respective franchises.

There probably hasn't been excitement around a draft class like this since 2003 when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and others entered the league.

If they develop and have careers like those players, they will be household names in the league for years to come.

Topics:
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki
Sacramento Kings

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