The NBA’s rookies have spoken, and they’ve decided that Los Angeles Lakers newbie Brandon Ingram will have the best career of their bunch.
NBA.com released its annual rookie poll, delivered courtesy of John Schuhmann, and the results were a little surprising.
For starters, 29 percent of the surveyed beginners believe the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kris Dunn will win Rookie of the Year. Ingram came in second with 25.8 percent of the vote, while Ben Simmons checked in at a distant third with 19.4 percent of the tally.
Picking Dunn is a little weird. He is, without question, an NBA-ready point guard. The Philadelphia 76ers, in fact, would drafted him first overall if they were selecting for fit rather than potential star power. But Dunn plays on a roster that already houses Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine, in addition to the ball-dominant Andrew Wiggins. It’s unclear if he’ll get enough playing time and touches to finish as the best rookie. If playing time isn’t an issue, perhaps because Rubio will be dealt, then he’s a solid choice. And that’s true even though he towers over Simmons. The Australian product might have the higher ceiling, but his Philadelphia 76ers are a mess. He will vacillate between playing point guard, small forward and power forward, and his numbers could be inherently trimmed thanks to a clustery frontcourt.
Back to Ingram, though.
Almost 27 percent of his included peers believe he will have the best career of any player in this draft. Dunn came in second with 16.7 percent of the vote; Simmons finished in a four-way tie for fourth place with Jaylen Brown, Dragan Bender and Jamal Murray, culling 6.7 percent of tally.
Bizarre underappreciation of Simmons aside, Ingram’s selection makes sense. Wings who can stroke threes and defend three different positions are all the rage right now, and Ingram has more potential as a distributor than most three-and-D specialists. His ceiling lies somewhere between Kevin Durant and Paul George, which is a great place to be—and most certainly enough to justify picking him over Dunn and Simmons and everyone else for this honor.