Which player will win Rookie of the Year for the 2017-18 NBA Season? Going down the list you can make an argument for almost any rookie as this was a loaded class. However, it will come down to a three-man, two team race between Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers, Markell Fultz of the Philadelphia 76ers or his teammate– Ben Simmons.
Yes, Simmons is eligible as he never played a minute in 2016. Much was the case in 2015 for the 76ers with Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.
While the NBA somehow managed to screw the 76ers over–this year will be a battle for the ages.
Both the 76ers and Lakers will have explosive players on the court for hopefully 30+ minutes per. While each player will offer their respective teams a different dynamic, it’s no denying that their presence and output will either push their team or derail them. Ball, despite being taken with the No. 2 pick will enter the season with the most hype but you cannot overlook the importance of Fultz and Simmons either.
For 76ers fans, Simmons is must-see. He missed last season and many felt if he was there the 76ers may have had a shot. I mean it was a long shot but for a team who won 18 more games than the previous season– the hope was concrete. Now the 76ers have what many describe as the best pure scorer in the Draft in Fultz. Pairing Fultz with Simmons was a genius move but it also gives the 76ers better odds to have the Rookie of the Year come out of the City of Brotherly Love.
Ball will have a chance if he can play the way he did during his second game of the Summer League when he posted a triple-double. This is the stat sheet Magic Johnson envisioned when Ball was selected. He has the young players to keep his assists up but his shooting must improve. However, this is Summer League and what he does now is not that important. His main goal is to get comfortable it what resembles an NBA-style game. The same goes for Fultz and Simmons.
Jayson Tatum has shined but his contributions for the Celtics will be minimal at best as he sits behind Jae Crowder and Gordon Hayward on the depth chart. You can add in Dennis Smith Jr of the Mavericks and Malik Monk of the Hornets but both players will have to fight for the ball, whereas the previously mentioned three will have total control.
As it stands now if we had to choose– my choice will be Fultz.
He’s explosive in every aspect of the game. The 76ers need his presence more than the Lakers do Ball. I have no doubt after watching him play this summer that Ball will be a decent player but is he better than D’Angleo Russell at this point? Fultz will have the green light to do whatever he wants in Philly’s offense. With the addition of J.J. Redick, Fultz himself could average close to 8 assists per game with Simmons on the wings and Saric and Embiid down low.
Simmons is the sleeper here with his talents on the level of Paul George and Jimmy Butler. He has the potential to be a Point-Forward but the height to bang in the post with the big bodies. If he and Fultz can create quick chemistry– Simmons could be in line for a 20 point, 7 rebound rookie year. These numbers alone screams ROY but he must be mindful of his teammate and Ball.
This will be a great season no matter who wins but it’s clear the ROY will come from either the Lakers or the 76ers.