1. Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers
Anyone who watched Griffin dominate the preseason should have him as their favorite for Rookie of the Year. Its easy to get enamored with the newest draft class, but don’t forget about Griffin. There’s a chance that he could run away with the award if the Clippers stay competitive in the West. Even if they don’t we think he should average about 18 points and 11 rebounds a game, making him one of the most productive forwards in the NBA in his first year.
2. John Wall – Washington Wizards
This year’s number one pick, is the second most likely rookie to win Rookie of the Year in our opinion. Wall will be playing for a Wizards team that hopes to return to playoff form after last year’s debacle. Wall has the off court persona to be an absolute superstar in the league, and what he does on the court makes him a must watch player every night. We expect Wall to average 15 points and seven assists per game, which could be good enough to get him the award.
3. DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings
Cousins wasn’t as impressive towards the end of the preseason, but still looked ready to contribute for a young Sacramento team. He’ll see a good amount of minutes early with Samuel Dalembert on the shelf with injury, which will give him a chance to get numbers all season long. We think Cousins will be the only rookie besides Griffin to average a double double, with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Not bad for the fifth overall pick.
4. Wesley Johnson – Minnesota Timberwolves
Johnson should have a ton of opportunities with the T’Wolves, who traded their best player in the off season. Add to that Johnson’s ability to score with the ball in his hands and working off ball, and you could see some very impressive numbers out of Wes. We think he’ll put up 15 points and six rebounds in his rookie campaign in Minnesota.
5. Evan Turner – Philadelphia 76ers
Yes, Turner has started slow in the Summer League and preseason with the Sixers, but it’s important to keep focus on the big picture. Turner was absolutely sensational in his last year at Ohio State, and he’ll have ample opportunities to handle the ball for the Sixers from day number one. While Turner may be a slight disappointment when compared to Cousins, we think he still has a strong year and expect him to average 15 points, four rebounds and four assists.
6. Tiago Splitter – San Antonio Spurs
The newest addition to the Spurs was arguably the best big man in Europe, and in recent years players of his caliber have had great success. What is holding him back a little bit in our rankings is his injury and the role that bigs play on the Spurs. Sure Splitter could see time with Duncan aging, but its hard to see him as more of a role player on such a balanced and veteran team. A line of 13 points and seven rebounds for Splitter sounds about right to us.
7. Greg Monroe – Detroit Pistons
Obviously it is a year where the big men will take center stage, which is a change from last years point guard heavy draft. Monroe will likely see 25 minutes for the Pistons sharing time with Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye (who was recently named the starter). His due it all style may have him as the go to big for the Pistons by the end of the season, but his limited time early will hurt him with voters. Don’t expect much more than 13 points and six rebounds out of Monroe.
8. Derrick Favors – New Jersey Nets
When the Nets took the Dwight Howard clone with the third overall pick they weren’t doing so for the short-term, so we don’t expect Favors to make too much of an impact this year. That being said, the Nets are young and athletic, so he could see a lot of looks in transition around the rim. It’d be great if Favors could put up 10 points and seven rebounds, which would only be slightly below Howards first year numbers.
9. Omer Asik – Chicago Bulls
Asik is the wild card in this list. Like Splitter he is a solid foreign player on a team that will be competing for a playoff spot. Joakim Noah has already given the rookie praise, which is definitely a good thing. Asik won’t be asked to score, but should contribute on the boards and defensively against the bigs he’ll see in the Eastern Conference. The numbers won’t be gawdy, maybe seven points and six rebounds, very similar to Noah’s stats from his rookie year.
10. Xavier Henry – Memphis Grizzlies
Henry will be at the mercy of Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo to get his numbers. Luckily for him, he’s use to playing a role. For the Jayhawks he was the third option behind fellow rookies Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich. We think that Henry will be able to find his shots though and think he could put up 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists.