The NBA’s annual GM Survey was released earlier this week, and a lot of safe predictions were made. By overwhelming majority results that any politician would kill for, the GMs predicted the L.A. Lakers will three-peat as champions, and Kevin Durant will be MVP. They also chose Deron Williams as the No. 1 point guard in the League and Dwight Howard as the top center by wide margins.
When asked to predict the 2011 Rookie of the Year, 68 percent of the GMs named John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick of the Washington Wizards. But this group doesn’t have the best record of prognosticating that particular award. Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans, only got 7 percent of the vote in last year’s GM survey.
There is a lot of talent in this year’s rookie class, but putting together a R.O.Y. campaign also depends on playing time, systems, teammates, winning (to an extent), and how quickly a player becomes comfortable with the professional game. So if John Wall doesn’t take the trophy, who else is in the running?
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DeMARCUS COUSINS, PF/C, Kings — This young man has proven to be a beast. Wall’s former teammate at the University of Kentucky showed flashes of dominance during the NBA summer league, and in his preseason opener dropped 16 points and 16 boards on the Suns. The Kings want to build around Evans and Cousins and don’t have any pressure to win right away, so the rookie will have plenty of opportunities to show what he can do. If he continues to show a good work ethic, the sky is the limit.
GREG MONROE, PF, Pistons — Like his Georgetown predecessor Jeff Green, Monroe is a very versatile player in the frontcourt. He has the skills to be a triple-double threat down the road. With Detroit forward Jonas Jerebko going down for at least 5-6 months with an Achilles injury, Monroe will get his chance in Detroit’s rotation.
ED DAVIS, PF, Raptors — I’m going to go out on a limb and throw in a surprise pick. Davis has a lot of talent with his combination of size, speed, and skills. And with Chris Bosh gone, there is a chance for him to step into a big role for Toronto at the four. Davis played well over the summer, and since the Raptors have very few go-to players, why can’t he step up and be a key player?
BLAKE GRIFFIN, PF, Clippers — Last year’s GM R.O.Y. pick is eligible for this year’s race after missing the entire season on the injured list. He is healthy now, and on an up-and-coming team where he’ll start right away and get the ball a lot. The GM’s may have been right about the player, just wrong about the year in Blake’s case.
EVAN TURNER, PG/SG, Sixers — He had a shaky summer, and hasn’t gotten off to a good start in the preseason. But Philly has faith in the No. 2 pick in the Draft, and it’s too early to write him off as an immediate impact pro. The 76ers are a great situation for Turner to showcase his skills.
Who do you think will win Rookie of the Year?