The 2018 NBA draft class was one of the best draft classes in NBA history. The draft class has prospects all over the board. There will be some bust and some unexpected players who thrive in the league like any other draft class. I will be breaking down the potential top 5 rookie of the year canidates for next season and will be explaining why I choose that prospect.
Potential Rookie of the Year Candidates
1: C DeAndre Ayton – Phoenix Suns
DeAndre Ayton is the highest rated prospect in this years draft class. Ayton will come in and contribute right away with the Phoenix Suns. Ayton should be the starting center from day one in Phoenix and have a major contribution to their success. Ayton is a high skilled offensive big man who can score from all over the court and is a very efficient player inside the paint. DeAndre will have to be better on the defensive end of the floor but he has the ability to be a dominate player on both ends of the court. The Phoenix Suns are expected to compete in the Western Conference this season with their young core and the free agents they brought in this offseason. The Suns have Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, TJ Warren, Trevor Ariza, DeAndre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Elie Okobo. Ayton will be one of the key guys on offense this season as well as holding it down on the defensive end for Phoenix. Ayton will get alot of playing time and should have a nice season.
2: SF Kevin Knox – New York Knicks
Kevin Knox was one of the top recruits out of high school when he choose to attend the University of Kentucky. Kevin Knox was the main guy on Kentucky and should flashes on his potential but never really reached his high in college. The New York Knicks selected Kevin Knox with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft. Kevin Knox had alot of love coming out of the draft with experts praising the Knicks selection. Knox showed enormous potential during summer league with the Knicks due to his offensive and defensive abilities. Kevin Knox is going to get major run this season at should start at either forward position with Porzingis being out until at least Christmas. Kevin Knox is going to be a major piece to the future of the New York Knicks and should thrive being one of the main guys this season.
3: PG Trae Young – Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young wasn’t highly recruited out of high school but bursted onto the scene at Oklahoma. Young lead the nation in scoring and assists as a true freshman which is remarkable. Trae Young is a long range shooter and a reliable playmaker on the offensive end of the floor. Trae is a bit of a liability on the defensive end due to his size and his lack of strength but he didn’t play much defense in college because of the coaching staff fearing he would be in foul trouble. The Atlanta Hawks are in a rebuild and with the Hawks looking to move on from their starting point guard Dennis Schroeder which would give Young the starting job. Trae will have a long leash due to them rebuilding and getting him accustomed to the NBA game. Trae should play big minutes and could thrive in those minutes learning the pace of play and learing his teammates.
4: C Wendall Carter Jr – Chicago Bulls
Wendall Carter Jr was the odd man out last season at Duke with Marvin Bagley, Grayson Allen, Tre Duval, and Gary Trent Jr. Wendall Carter is the perfect type of player in todays game. Carter can defend multiple positions and has the offensive game to take it inside or outside which is key in todays NBA. Carter will compete with Robin Lopez during training camp for the starting center job. Whether Carter starts or comes off the bench he will have a major impact on the Bulls this season. Chicago has a young core and could make some noise in the Eastern Conference this season with Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, Jabari Parker, Lauri Markkanen, and Chandler Hutchinson.
5: C Moritz Wagner – Los Angeles Lakers
Moritz Wagner was the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Wagner had an outstanding season at Michigan leading them to the National Championship game with a young roster. Wagner is a highly skilled offensive weapon who can spread the floor, score inside the paint, great passing ability, and can put the ball on the floor. With Javale McGee as their only center and with him most likely not playing big minutes then Wagner should see big minutes and could be a key piece for LeBron James. Wagner could end up starting over the course of the season due to his ability to defend at a high level and his offensive ability.
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