Lakers’ Lonzo Ball and Celtics’ Jayson Tatum Named Most Promising Rookies in 2017-18 NBA Draft Class
NBA.com’s survey of NBA rookies revealed more than a quarter of the 39 first-year players surveyed selected Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith, Jr. (25.7%) as most likely to be named the 2017-18 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, followed by Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (20%) and first overall pick Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz (17.1%) of the Philadelphia 76ers.
The survey also predicts Ball and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (both tied with 18.4% of the vote) will have the best NBA careers among this year’s rookie class, followed by Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson (10.5%), Smith, Jr. (10.5%) and Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox (7.9%). Smith, Jr. also topped the list as the most athletic rookie (43.6%).
The NBA.com Rookie Survey, compiled earlier this month at Panini’s NBA Rookie Shoot in Tarrytown, N.Y., by reporter John Schuhmann, asked this year’s rookies for their favorites in a variety of categories including best playmaker and best shooter.
Ball received 71.8% of the votes for best playmaker in this year’s rookie class, while Detroit Pistons guard Luke Kennard (48.6%) was named best shooter by his peers.
The first-year players were also asked to name their favorite current NBA stars with Cleveland’s LeBron James (31.5%) ranking atop the list for the first time since 2012, followed by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (19.4%) and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (8.3%).
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (18.9%) was named the biggest steal of this year’s NBA Draft, on his way to netting votes across six categories (also including Rookie of the Year, best career, most athletic, best shooter and best defender).
The complete results of the survey are available at NBA.com via this link. Players were not allowed to vote for themselves or their college and NBA teammates.