Early look: Rookie of the year favorites

Early look: Rookie of the year favorites
August 9, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Wizards Summer League grades

(Associated Press)

By now its no secret that Otto Porter didn’t have the type of Summer League showing either he or the Washington Wizards hoped for. Rightfully or wrongfully so all of the pundits are already writing him off before training camp even starts. Our friends from Probasketballtalk put together a list of their top five favorites for rookie of the year. By now you can guess who didn’t make the cut. For the record, Porter didn’t make my top five either but that’s not what the Wizards drafted him for. More on that later.  

1.) Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic. During the Summer League the Magic experimented with Oladipo playing point guard. For never having played the position before he did well for himself and was clearly the best player on the floor at the Orlando Summer League. Magic GM Rob Hennigan came from OKC where he played a part in drafting Russell Westbrook, who during his time at UCLA played off the ball. We’ve all seen how that’s turned out. Whether Oladipo plays point guard or shooting guard he’ll get plenty of minutes and he might be the best rookie defender in the draft. 

2.) Trey Burke, Utah Jazz. Burke will be handed the keys to the Jazz’s offense from day one. On a team that desperately needs a point guard he’s a great fit. Burke will also benefit from playing alongside some fellow talented youngsters in Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. Most lottery teams are devoid of talent but in Utah Burke has teammates that can ease his transition into the league. 

3.) Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings. McLemore has the purest shooting stroke of any player in this year’s rookie class. Yes he struggled to find his shot at times during Summer League but all shooters go through slumps. Bradley Beal shot 34% from the field during his first two months of this past season. By season’s end he finished third in voting for rookie of the year. McLemore will have every opportunity to shoot until his arms fall off in Sacramento. 

4.) Cody Zeller, Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats drafted Zeller because of his ability to stretch the floor and knock down mid-range jumpers. With the signing of free agent Al Jefferson he’ll get more open looks and should be able to put up good rebounding numbers also. Outside of Oladipo, Zeller was arguably the most impressive rookie at Summer League. 

5.) Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs surprised everyone by taking Bennett No. 1 and its still unclear exactly how he’ll be used in Cleveland. With Kryie Irving, Dion Waiters, and the newly signed Andrew Bynum already on the roster there will be considerably less pressure on Bennett than that of a typical No. 1 pick. But the question is will there be enough shots to go around?  

Bonus: So where does Otto Porter fit into this mix? The Wizards drafted the former Georgetown star No. 3 overall because of his ability to fit into what they already have. Washington has its franchise player in John Wall and potentially a second star in the making in Bradley Beal. Summer League is all about players breaking down their opponent individually and that’s not exactly strength of Porter. All the Wizards want Porter to do is run the floor with Wall and play solid defense. Whether or not Porter has a succesfful rookie season won't be quanfied in a box score. He isn’t a guy who is going to force the action and that’s why he could be a great fit in Washington. 

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