The 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year will very likely go on to become an NBA star. Which player will have the best first season, though? There are many strong possibilities out there.
1. Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks - NBA Odds: +250
Make making your ROY NBA picks keep in mind, that in the bigger picture, this is likely the favorite for the NBA ROY award in the coming season. The Bucks were so bad this past season, and so when looking at the team’s roster for the new season that’s going to start in late October, Parker won’t have a lot of help around him. This means that he’ll get the ball a lot and will be asked to score for Milwaukee. Parker will be able to freelance at the offensive end and get more than his fair share of shots. As the season moves along, Parker should be able to develop his jump shot, which is a weakness right now. When that part of his game rounds into form, he’s going to be a very tough player to stop.
2. Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves - NBA Odds: +125
Much like Parker, Wiggins will be playing for a team that’s not going to make the playoffs and won’t have a lot of pieces to surround him, now that Kevin Love is no longer a member of the Timberwolves. Also like Parker, Wiggins’ jump shot is currently a liability but will have a chance to get a lot better. What’s going to hurt Wiggins’ prospects, though, is that he plays in the Western Conference, while Parker is in the East. The teams in the West are so much tougher than in the East, and that’s going to wear down Wiggins in all likelihood, just enough to make him the second choice as opposed to the favorite as listed by NBA odds.
3. Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers - NBA Odds: +600
In the Lakers’ lineup this season, Randle is going to be able to take the court alongside Kobe Bryant, who is going to draw so much attention on the perimeter that the Lakers’ post players are going to have opportunities inside with little helpside defensive support. Randle takes the place of Pau Gasol in L.A., now that the Spaniard is in Chicago with the Bulls. He’s going to get so many high-quality post touches this season, giving him more than enough of an opportunity to showcase his evident skills.
4. Doug McDermott, Chicago Bulls - NBA Odds: +650
The reason McDermott cracks this list is that the Chicago Bulls has been starving for offense for years under Tom Thibodeau. McDermott was brought to the Windy City to put the ball in the basket and give the Bulls a dimension they’ve been missing in recent seasons. With Pau Gasol in the paint and Derrick Rose at the point, the Bulls have two players who can draw a lot of attention from defenses. McDermott has unlimited shooting range, so he’ll be able to become a top three-point shooter in the NBA without having to wait very long.
5. Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics - NBA Odds: +1200
In the NBA draft, the quality of player available was so much better than the year before. A prime example of this is Smart, who struggled through a very difficult sophomore season yet still made it clear how much talent he has. Smart is such a physical specimen with plenty of power and quickness. He can attack the game so well at times and is a hard man to keep away from the basket. If he can quickly mature under the direction of Boston coach Brad Stevens, his skill set could easily lead to a ROY-type season.