The rookie of the year race should be very interesting this year. Considering Ben Simmons of the 76ers got injured and won't be back till January, the ROY race allows for many players to make their way into contention. Some preseason front runners are Buddy Hield, Brandon Ingram, Joel Embiid, and Kris Dunn, but who will win NBA Rookie of the Year Award 2016/17?
My pick to win rookie of the year for the 2016-2017 season is Buddy Hield who was the 6th pick in the draft. He appears to be the best pure scorer and shooter in this draft class. Not only does he have great talent, but he has a system to work within which he will get greater opportunities than any other rookie will.
The Pelicans have a very questionable lineup and their backcourt is the most questionable part about it. Jrue Holiday is rarely healthy and doesn't seem to make much noise even when he is healthy. With the inconsistent backcourt of Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday, it seems like Buddy Hield is bound to be a starter within the first few weeks of the season. This freedom of being a starter and being most likely the second option behind Anthony Davis gives Hield an opportunity that no other rookie has.
Brandon Ingram, the second pick to the Lakers seems like he is a player that will need some developing and won't be a dominant force right away. He doesn't have an NBA body in terms of muscle and that will hurt him very much against these physical specimens that are most NBA players.
He will get opportunities but not too many because the Lakers are a team on the rise and the have a lot of young talent. They are focused on developing a lot of their young raw talent like D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, etc. in the post-Kobe era.
Joel Embiid will be an entertaining player to watch this year, now in his 3rd year in the NBA without playing a single NBA game, it will be interesting to see if lack of time playing basketball will hurt him or if the way he was able to get his feet wet in the system of watching games and film will outweigh the cons.
The reason I don't believe he will win ROY is because he won't get enough playing time in a frontcourt-heavy roster and because the 76ers won't win enough games for him to be recognized as a guy that made an immediate impact on his team. This, piled with the fact that he might also get extra rest due to the 76ers worries of another injury is why Joel Embiid will not win ROY.
And last but not least, Kris Dunn of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the 5th pick in the draft. There is no doubt that new coach Tom Thibodeau will see potential in this kid considering how established his defense is at such a young age. No coach appreciates hard work on the defensive end more than Tom Thibodeau.
Despite this upside, Dunn simply won't score enough points to win rookie of the year. He doesn't have a great jump shot although he is a good penetrator. On top of that, the Timberwolves have so much other good talents that Dunn just won't have the ball in his hands enough to get recognition for rookie of the year.
The Wolves have Towns, Wiggins, Lavine, and another young talent that will have the ball in their hands more than Dunn will. Although he will most likely end up having the best defensive year for a rookie, the Rookie of the Year is an award usually given to the best offensive player and the player that is already one of the better players on the team.
For these reasons, I do firmly believe that Buddy Hield will win rookie of the year. He is simply the player that has the best situation around him to thrive and he simply gets buckets.