The incoming class of NBA rookies has the potential to be one of the more intriguing groups in a while, with athletic projects like Marquese Chriss and Thon Maker entering the league alongside guys like Kris Dunn and Buddy Hield, who could be ready-made veterans. It’s exceedingly tough to predict who will be great, and who will quickly fade from memory. For years, the NBA has given rookies a survey on questions like this, to see if being one of the youngsters gives them any more insight. If you believe those sorts of things are somehow prescient, then Ben Simmons might be a disappointment.
The rookies picked Kris Dunn as their choice for Rookie of the Year, despite the fact that he’s behind Ricky Rubio at point guard in Minnesota. Ben Simmons finished in third place, behind second pick Brandon Ingram. Even worse, in the question of who will have the best career, Simmons finished tied for fourth, behind Ingram, Dunn and Hield, and tied with Jaylen Brown, Jamal Murray and Dragan Bender. So much for the idiotic “next LeBron” crown bestowed on Simmons back in high school (all hype machines predicting the next LeBron are as foolish and detrimental as the “next Jordan” tag was two decades ago).
Then again, if history is any indication, maybe Simmons should be encouraged by the snub. After all, the rookies picked Jahlil Okafor for both best rookie and best career last year, over Karl-Anthony Towns, and KAT looks like a career All-Star while Jah looks like a one-dimensional player. As always, no one knows anything.