NBA Award Predictions.. ROY

Posted: 11/16/2013 by levcohen in Basketball

These are coming slowly, but at least we are coming. Now for the ROY preview.
Note: At first I had eight candidates, but I’ve narrowed it down to six:

Victor Oladipo:
Oladipo, the second overall pick in the draft, was the preseason consensus rookie of the year, and it looks like he is going to be a great NBA player. His stats aren’t great, as he is averaging just 12 points per game with 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game on poor shooting, but he has shown tremendous athleticism and defensive prowess. The problem with Oladipo is that the Magic see him as a point guard, but that position really doesn’t fit him, and he’s averaging a whopping 3.4 turnovers per game in just 25 minutes per game. But with Oladipo, you can’t really look at his stats from the first few weeks of his career, because he’s the kind of player who makes an immediate impact but doesn’t develop all of his skills until later in the season, or possibly in future years. The breakout is coming, and Oladipo has already led the Magic to a better-than-expected start to the season, but I’m not sure he will have the stats to win him ROY this season.

Kelly Olynyk:
Olynyk has been incredibly inconsistent so far this year, with 14 or more points in three games and four or fewer in four others. Before the year, I thought of Olynyk as the most NBA-ready player coming out of the draft because of his amazing success at Gonzaga, but it looks like he will have growing pains. Still, he is 4th among rookies in minutes per game (behind Oladipo, Michael Carter-Williams, and Nate Wolters), and is 4th in rebounding rate. He also plays on a 4-6 team that wants to be bad, so Olynyk will continue to get his minutes and could break out in the second half of the season.

Michael Carter-Williams:
At least until he got dinged up (he will miss his third game of the season tonight), Carter-Williams was the hands-down most impressive rookie in the NBA. His opening eight games were breathtaking. Not only is MCW one of only two rookies playing more than 25 minutes per game, but he is wayy over 25, at close to 37 minutes per game (he is 16th in the NBA in minutes per game), and has been efficient. Carter-Williams is averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and close to 3 steals per game while shooting a better-than-expected 39% from the field (many people had him pegged for under 35%). He also had the best debut in recent history, as he torched the champion Miami Heat for 22 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists, and 9 STEALS. If the ROY vote took place today, MCW would be a unanimous vote. But he doesn’t have much help in Philly, and his stats might suffer from that.

Trey Burke:
Burke is out with a finger injury and hasn’t played yet this season, but if there were a year for someone like him to win it, this is it. He might only play 50 games while other rookies could play 80, but most of the other rookies have been disappointing or just haven’t been given the minutes to produce. Burke will certainly have the opportunity. The Jazz are desperate for a point guard, and could play 35 minutes per game when healthy. It’s still an uphill battle, but if other rookies continue to falter, Burke could make a run.

Ben McLemore:
I don’t know if Ben McLemore is ready to play in the NBA just yet. It certainly doesn’t look like he is. Going into last year, McLemore’s redshirt freshman year, he was the consensus number one pick. He wasn’t great at Kansas, though, and had some confidence issues, and then fell to Sacramento and the #7 pick, which was the worst case scenario for him. McLemore needs some calming veteran presences, and the Kings locker room chemistry is terrible, or at least has been in recent years. The early results haven’t been encouraging; he’s averaging just 8 points per game with no other substantial statistical contributions. He’s shooting under 40%. Like Oladipo, McLemore has a lot of athleticism and skills, but I have more confidence in Victor than I do in Ben.

Steven Adams:
Steven Adams is on this list for two reasons. One is that he is second to just Carter-Williams in PER among rookies, which is pretty impressive given that they were both picked outside the top 10 (MCW was picked 11th, Adams one pick later). The other is November 8th; that is, the day that Adams played 31 minutes (Kendrick Perkins had foul trouble), had his first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds (in fact, that was the only game that he cracked double digits in any category) and added 3 blocks. Besides that, he hasn’t really done much, and is playing under 20 minutes per game. But if he has more performances like that one, he could crack the starting lineup over the (very) underwhelming Perkins.

Top three prediction:
1. Victor Oladipo
2. Michael Carter-Williams
3. Kelly Olynyk

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