The 2016 NBA rookie class is just as unpredictable as the rest. Some shined at the 2016 NBA Summer League while others didn’t. Many join teams with solidified starting lineups while others have to fight for minutes. Nothing comes easy for rookies. The ones who work the hardest will survive in the NBA while most fade away. Who will be the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year? Let’s look at our options.
5.) Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics made a bold move selecting Jaylen Brown with the no.3 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He plays tough defense with a nose for the basket. His defense will get him on the court his rookie season. Brown joins a team that forces turnovers and runs in transition. Alongside Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Al Horford, the Celtics will force plenty of turnovers. If Brown gets open in transition he will have plenty of chances to make high-percentage shots. Those shots need to fall if Brown wants a shot at Rookie of the Year.
4.) Kris Dunn, Minnesota Timberwolves
Tom Thibodeau aced his first NBA Draft with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He left with Kris Dunn, the draft’s best guard. Dunn gives the Timberwolves a versatile player on both ends of the court. His elite athleticism makes him the perfect fit next to Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. They are the Timberwolves future big-3, but with Ricky Rubio on the roster Dunn will come off the bench. Dunn is a great third guard his first NBA season.
3.) Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets
Jamal Murray’s strength is the one thing the Denver Nuggets lack: scoring. He scored 20 points per game last season at the University of Kentucky. No Kentucky player under John Calipari ever scored over 20 points per game. Even though Murray can score, he is stuck in a logjam at shooting guard with Will Barton and Gary Harris. Both Harris and Barton are under contract through next season. Murray will need to find his motor to get playing time. If Murray finds that motor, watch out.
2.) Buddy Hield, New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans biggest issue last season was health. Only two players played more than 70 games and Tyreke Evans won’t be ready to start the 2016-2017 NBA regular season. Buddy Hield played 132 games over four seasons at the University of Oklahoma. His durability gives Anthony Davis some stability in the starting lineup. Evans injury gives Hield plenty of opportunities score. The Pelicans finally found a piece next to Davis.
1.) Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers selected Ben Simmons with the no. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Simmons became the face of the franchise as soon as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced his name. He put his skills on display in the NBA Summer League and the 76ers made it clear they want the ball in Simmons hands. His usage rate as a rookie, and throughout his career, will rank among the top of the league. The 76ers have the leagues next star.