June's NBA Draft was supposed to be the deepest in years. Will that result in a tight competition for rookie of the year? Surprises are inevitable, but with the season two weeks away, here are the top five candidates:
5. Bradley Beal, SG, Wizards » This isn't playing local favorites. Even though he will come off the bench, Beal has a knack for scoring and will get plenty of chances early while John Wall is out. If he starts strong, additional minutes and attention will follow.
4. Terrence Jones, SF, Houston ?» The Rockets have four rookies worth watching. Royce White needs to get his anxiety disorder under control, and Jeremy Lamb starred in Las Vegas. But Jones is off to a flying start in the preseason with a team-high 20 points in a win over Oklahoma City.
3. Thomas Robinson, PF, Sacramento »
A consistent rebuilding situation has been fertile ground for Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas and, to some extent, DeMarcus Cousins in their rookie seasons. It should be no different for Robinson.
2. Damian Lillard, PG, Portland ?» The sixth overall pick draft was stellar in Las Vegas, averaging 26.5 points, 5.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds over four games. The amount of time he will have the ball and his numbers will keep him at the top of the ROY discussion all season.
1. Anthony Davis, PF, New Orleans »
Those who have seen him score know he's got way more than the unselfish defensive and rebounding skills that he used to help Kentucky win a national title. Not as many people have seen him since April because he was in the Olympics. But his all-around game should allow him to live up to the expectations of being the No. 1 pick.
- Craig Stouffer