With the NBA Summer League officially over, fans and organisations alike are left to sit and ponder the countless possibilities this rookie class can achieve.
With the exhilarating play of Lonzo Ball during the Los Angeles Lakers’ triumph, and Markelle Fultz’s injury, who will be the Rookie of the Year? And, who will fail to live up to the drastically high expectations and disappoint us all? Our team of experts at HoopsNation had their say.
Rookie of the Year: De’Aaron Fox from the Sacramento Kings. He is the most talented point guard in this draft class, and has the most potential to match. The Kings were the best team that could have drafted him by far. In college he had a skilled shooter next to him in Malik Monk, and now in the NBA he has Buddy Hield, it’s all falling into place for Fox.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 11, 2017
Biggest disappointment: My biggest rookie disappointment would have to be Jonathan Isaac. He looked good in college, as do most players that are drafted with the 6th pick, but Isaac just doesn’t look like he can fit in with a team. His small frame worries me, especially in regard to injuries and getting bullied in the paint. With the NBA becoming a positionless game and players have evolved with different physiques and play styles, Isaac may struggle. I still could see him being a role player for any team coming off the bench, I just think he was drafted way too high.
ROY: The ROY will be Markelle Fultz. Although I believe he will not end up being the best prospect in this draft, everything is set up for him to win this accolade. His two biggest threats (De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball) are going to be in the Western Conference where they will struggle to win against stacked opposition. Although Fultz, Ball, and Fox will put up equally impressive numbers, Fultz will have more wins on his resume, which will catapult him into the lead.
Biggest disappointment: Johnathan Isaac. Do not be surprised to see him play limited minutes because of the depth Orlando has at the wing positions. He will also struggle to score this and next year, and likely the rest of his career due to his lack of any real offensive skill. He is very similar to another Florida State prospect that was drafted in the first round, Chris Singleton. As a reminder, Singleton now plays in Greece.
ROY: Markelle Fultz has the whole package. On both ends of the floor he gets the job done, which we caught a glimpse of in his Summer League debut. He is just the piece the Philadelphia 76ers could use and overall he is just a great player. Statistically, he should compete well in the league and has a great chance to win Rookie of the Year.
Biggest disappointment: Malik Monk I thought could have gone higher in the draft, but he found himself being drafted at number 11 to the Charlotte Hornets, which is understandable because he was injured. After suffering the injury during pre-draft workouts, it was doubtful we’d get to see him play in the summer league. While many expected him to be selected higher, I believe many will be disappointed by the overrated shooting guard.
ROY: Ben Simmons. Philly is going to be fun and exciting to watch but Simmons’ insane playmaking ability will be the engine that makes it go. With Fultz, J.J. Redick, Robert Covington, Gerald Henderson and Dario Saric all stretching the floor, he’s going to average somewhere between six-to-eight assists per game. His scoring won’t blow anyone away at first but with those shooters around him there will be plenty of open lanes for that freight train to get into the paint.
— Adi Joseph (@AdiJoseph) July 18, 2017
Biggest disappointment: Lauri Markannen. Firstly, how can a rookie live up to being a focal point of the Jimmy Butler deal? Yes he can shoot, but with Nikola Mirotic filling the same role I could see Lauri struggling to get on the floor at first. His weaknesses are blinding, he’s not overly athletic, and his rebounding numbers weren’t great at Arizona, I can see him developing into a really solid role player but it won’t happen this year.
ROY: If Ben Simmons weren’t considered a ‘rookie’, then I would be inclined to predict Dennis Smith Jr., but Simmons’ skill-set and his surrounding roster make it pretty darn hard to choose anyone else. For the Philadelphia 76ers, the Process has been well and truly trusted, to the point where they are ready to unleash their weaponry of young assets onto the league in an emphatic bid to make the playoffs, and I believe Simmons’ playmaking abilities will lead them to the promise land.
RT for Lonzo Ball
FAV for Dennis Smith Jr. pic.twitter.com/Mop1Pxc4cW
— Hoops Nation (@HoopsNation_) July 18, 2017
Biggest disappointment: As an Orlando fan, I will gleefully pass on the narrative that Isaac will fail miserably, and instead predict that Markkanen will instead falter in his rookie year. Dragan Bender came into the league with a similar skill-set to the former Arizona forward last season, and we all know how that went; Bender averaged 3.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and .5 blocks per outing. Whilst I can’t imagine Markkanen will put in this much of a horror show in his rookie year, he will most definitely underperform with the rebuilding Chicago Bulls.