The Race to NBA Rookie of the Year
Every June, 60 young prospects receive the dream of a lifetime. While most tend to not pan out as well as they had hoped, some young players flourish in the limelight. During the 2018-19 NBA season, Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks and DeAndre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns have been nothing short of spectacular.
With the Dallas Mavericks in desperate need of a franchise player, Doncic has stepped up drastically for the Mavericks, averaging roughly 20 points, seven rebounds, and five assists per game. Fresh off leading Real Madrid to a EuroLeague title and winning Euroleague MVP, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is the favorite to earn rookie of the year honors this season. During his 33 EuroLeague appearances, Doncic averaged around 16 points and four assists. While the 19-year-old is likely to face an adjustment period during his first year in the United States, his professional experience gives him a leg up of his fellow rookies. “I’m just happy to be in the NBA,” said Donic in an interview with Reuters. With the organization making him not only a focal point in the offense, they see Doncic as a future superstar in the league in the upcoming years.
One franchise known for their struggles within the last decade is the Phoenix Suns. Within the last ten years, the Suns have only made one playoff appearance during the 2009-10 season where they achieved a top three record in the tough western conference. However since that season, the Suns have only been able to reach the ninth seed. With the first pick in the 2018 NBA draft, the team selected the 7’1” center from the University of Arizona. “I’ve been saying it before the lottery, before the Phoenix Suns even had the number one pick,” said Ayton in an interview with ESPN. “I’m not saying I’m the best player in the draft and trying to be cocky like that, but I was just saying I’m going to be the number one pick, regardless ”
At the University of Arizona, Ayton averaged around 20 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks per game. Ayton was seen as a center who could make an immediate impact on the organization due to his NBA ready body and skillset. Ayton is currently averaging roughly 17 points, 11 rebounds, and a block per game. With the young duo of Ayton and Booker, the suns continue to add young talent to their roster.
Many young players do not live up to the expectations they were given, however these two young athletes have been nothing short of spectacular. When June rolls around, all NBA fans will finally get the satisfaction of knowing who will be the 2018-19 NBA Rookie of The Year.