The 2018-19 NBA season is still weeks away but, on Tuesday, an annual landmark of the off-season arrived in the form of the league’s “rookie survey.” For more than a decade, John Schuhmann of NBA.com has been sitting down with the NBA’s incoming rookie class and this year’s crop of 36 players answered various questions about the group, headlined by a choice from each on the favorite for Rookie of the Year.
Even before the first-year prospects arrived for the league’s annual photo shoot, it is quite clear that no definitive “favorite” actually exists this time around. There are certainly years in which a player (usually the No. 1 pick) enters with lofty expectations when compared to the field but, for the 2018-19 campaign, the draft provided real intrigue and a deep class of realistic candidates.
With that as the backdrop, the NBA.com survey yielded its most balanced results ever in the ROY category, with no rookie garnering even 20 percent of the overall vote in the most prominent category. Suns center Deandre Ayton and Cavs guard Collin Sexton led the way in a tie with 18 percent each and it was the first year in which the “favorite” received less than 24 percent of the voting.
After Ayton and Sexton, the field was predictably wide open. Mavs wing Luka Doncic and Knicks forward Kevin Knox tied for third place with nine percent of the vote, and a quartet of Magic center Mo Bamba, Hawks guard Trae Young, Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. and (stunningly) Hornets guard Devonte Graham finished in a tie for fifth place with six percent of the vote.