Which rookies are drawing hype from their peers prior to opening night?

By Michael Shapiro
August 21, 2018

The annual NBA Rookie Survey was released on Tuesday, with 36 first-year players answering a set of seven questions about their fellow draftees and the league at large. 

The youngsters answered questions at the Rookie Photo Shoot in New York, making selections for Rookie of the Year and picking the player who will have the best career. So what did we learn from their responses? Here are five thoughts on the Rookie Survey results.

Ayton, Sexton lead the pack

The Rookie of the Year race will be a two-man battle, according to the rookie class, with top pick DeAndre Ayton and Cleveland's Collin Sexton leading with 18% of the vote. Ayton became the first No. 1 pick since Anthony Davis in 2012 to lead the Rookie of the Year vote. Trailing Ayton and Sexton were Luka Doncic and Kevin Knox at 9%, with 15 players receiving votes. The last rookie pick to convert and win Rookie of the Year: Kevin Durant in 2007. 

No love for No. 2

Despite trailing only Ayton in draft order, Kings big man Marvin Bagley III slipped significantly in Tuesday's survey. Bagley ranked in the category of others receiving votes in the ROY race, falling into the same section for the question asking, "Which rookie will have the best career?" Looks like the Duke product has an uphill climb in the eyes of his peers.

The Kings reigns

There wasn't much split in the rookie class among their favorite player, with LeBron James earning 29% of the vote. No other player earned over 10%, with Steph Curry and Kevin Durant coming in behind James. LeBron has won the award for the past two seasons. Before that, Durant won for three consecutive years, losing the top spot following his first season with Golden State. 

Trae Young impresses

The Oklahoma point guard was the only rookie to win two categories, seizing the vote as the top playmaker as well as best shooter. Young lapped the field in both categories, earning 35% of the vote in the playmaking field and 47% as a shooter. Young dominated the latter category, beating second place Kevin Huerter and Svi Mykhailuk by 34%.  

Big men heavily featured

The new crop of centers and forwards are viewed to have the brightest futures. In the best career category, two of the top three vote shares went to big men, with a trio of forwards and centers ranking just below. Bulls rookie Wendell Carter Jr. won the section with 13% of the vote, leading Knicks swingman Kevin Knox. Ayton, Mo Bamba and Mikal Bridges all notched 7% of the vote. The rookies' responses mirrored the league's draft order, with seven of the top 10 selections in the 2018 draft standing 6'7" or taller. 

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