Porter and the NBA Rookie of the Year race

Porter and the NBA Rookie of the Year race
August 27, 2013, 10:45 am
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Rookies know nothing. At least that's what NBA coaches and veterans will (playfully?) say come training camp, especially when any cocky newbie attempts to come across as the opposite on or off the court. 

If there is one area of the game incoming players might have a viable grasp on it's each other. Or not, depending on one's interpretation of an NBA.com rookie survey, which asked 36 rookies a series of questions, including...

Who will be the 2013-14 NBA Rookie of the Year?

T-1st: C.J. McCollum, Portland & Victor Oladipo, Orlando -- 24.2 percent
3: Kelly Olynyk, Boston -- 18.2 percent
4: Trey Burke, Utah -- 12.1 percent
5: Ben McLemore, Sacramento -- 6.1 percent
Others receiving votes: Anthony Bennett, Cleveland; Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia; Ray McCallum, Sacramento; Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia; Otto Porter, Washington

*McCollum, Oladipo and Olynyk all shined brighter than most - including Porter - during either the Las Vegas or Orlando Summer League games. Oladipo's chances seem rather legitimate based on the opportunity presented in Orlando. Meanwhile McCollum will share a backcourt if not a role with last year's Rookie of the Year winner Damian Lillard, meaning his rank is a bit high in reality.

*As for the short-armed Olynyk, let's just say all judgment should be reserved until we see how the former Gonzaga star looks against the long-limbed big men he'll face when the games turn real.

*Note that Noel received at least one vote even though the shot-blocker is expected to miss a large chunk of the season while recovering from knee surgery, which is why on some level he slipped from the projected top overall pick to No. 6. Silly rookie voters.

*For some professional odds-making context, back in July Bovada.LV installed Jazz point guard Burke as a 4-1 favorite, followed by Oladipo (11-2), McCollum (15-2) and Porter (15-2). Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland, came in tied for sixth with Sacramento's Ben McLemore.

*As for Porter, forget the limited and not-so-inspiring show he put on during his two games in Las Vegas; he was injured before heading west and played like it while there. However, it would be stunning if the 2013 Big East Player of the Year ended up as the 2013-14 NBA Rookie of the Year simply because of circumstance and style.

As of now, the Wizards have a logjam at small forward with Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza, Porter and Chris Singleton. Even if the Wizards throw Porter into the backcourt as they did unsuccessfully in Summer League, it's hard seeing how he plays enough minutes to rack up the needed stats and league-wide recognition for such high honors.

There is also playing style.

With the Hoyas last season, Porter was thrust into more of a go-to guy role when the team lost second-leading scorer Greg Whittington for the season due to suspension. His scoring rose accordingly. By nature, Porter is more of a facilitator. Perhaps a better way to phrase it is he'll do the little things a team needs, but then become forceful offensively as the situation dictates. That's a tremendous trait and one the Wizards liked enough to add him into the mix with proven scorers John Wall, Bradley Beal and Nene. But that unselfish style doesn't make highlight and therefore doesn't translate into Rookie of the Year votes.