Is it me or does it seem like this year rookie’s class has gotten no love so far? Everyone is focused on the potential of the class of 2014 with the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and company. Lost in the shuffle is the class of 2013 that consist of people like Victor Oladipo, Anthony Bennett, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, Trey Burke and others. These rookies are getting no love, but one of them will win the Rookie of the Year award.
Even if this draft class is weak, the past has shown that, more than likely, whoever wins ROY turns out to be a great player. The past six winners of the Rookie of the Year award include legitimate NBA star power: Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant. So, even if the perception is that the 2013 Draft class was weak, one of these players vying for early ROY consideration will be a superb talent in the NBA.
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10. DENNIS SCHROEDER
PG, Atlanta Hawks
The international scene is always interesting. Dennis Schroeder is a player that fascinates me. Hailing from Germany, Schroeder stands at 6-2 but has an incredible wingspan of 6-8 as a recently-turned 20-year-old. The No. 17 pick in this year’s draft is my dark horse candidate for ROY honors. Even though Schroeder is going to be playing against top competition in the NBA, his confidence remains at a top level. Without ever stepping onto an NBA court, Schroeder has compared his game to the likes of point guard messiahs Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul.
Schroeder has already stood out on an NBA court in the Las Vegas Summer League this past summer. With averages of 10.8 PPG and 5.6 APG, Schroeder showed the ability to lead his team, and there’s even more behind those numbers. Watch the video below and it reveals several dimes that weren’t converted, even though Schroeder was making Rondo-like passes. If these players convert these passes, imagine what Schroeder’s numbers would look like.
From watching more tape on Schroeder, he shows an above average ability to knock down shots from three-point land. He shot 40.2 percent for his German team this past year from downtown, numbers that should translate well to the NBA. Dennis Schroeder is a true point guard in every sense of the position, with Rajon Rondo-like skills that can lead him to the top of the Rookie of the Year voting polls this season.
9. SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD
G/F, Minnesota Timberwolves
Shabazz Muhammad saw his stock drop considerably before the draft. Despite all the drama that occurred during Muhammad’s freshman season at UCLA, Muhammad was still the No. 14 pick in the NBA Draft. Don’t let his mid first-round pick selection fool you though, this kid can flat-out ball. Muhammad averaged 17.9 PPG and 5.2 RPG on 44.3 percent shooting during his lone season at UCLA. Playing in Minnesota with pass wizard Ricky Rubio will greatly help Shabazz Muhammad’s potential to bring home ROY honors.
Muhammad produces a large chunk of his scoring from moving off the ball, post-ups, and coming off curls to nail a midrange jumper. With this being said, Rubio and Muhammad are a match made in heaven for the Timberwolves. Rubio will be able to get Muhammad the ball in positions that give Muhammad a high percentage shot. This game has always been about buckets and that’s exactly what Muhammad excels in. The NBA game will be no different. If things go according to plan, Muhammad will shine thanks to his scoring ability and the lethal passing ability of Ricky Rubio. This plan could wind up with Muhammad winning Rookie of the Year, so keep an eye on Minnesota.