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The Christmas break is upon us in the NBA. One of the major bright spots of this years first half play has been so many great rookies. So, who is the Rookie of the Year? So many big names have emerged from this draft class and the future of the league looks bright. So without further ado, a list of the top Rookie of the Year contenders.
1. Ben Simmons 17.7 PPG-7.8 APG-9 RPG: It would be hard to put anyone above the rookie who is averaging close to a triple double at this point in the season. However, Simmons recent struggles have given the field a chance to catch up. There is a real possibility he could lose the lead for the award. However, overall, Simmons is having the best year of anyone on this list.
2. Kyle Kuzma 17.7 PPG- 1.6 APG- 6.9 RPG: Before you freak out about Kyle Kuzma being this high, just look at his stat line. He has had an excellent season thus far and rarely has a bad night. Kuzma has been cited by various stars including Draymond Green as a gym rat. “He’s always in the gym, sometimes in college it didn’t look like he was that interested and that’s why he went 27th in the draft. There were other stretches though in college where you were like, man this guy’s good. He’s worked incredibly hard and it’s showing.” Green said in an interview. Kuzma deserves your respect and already has the respect of the league. He may be less flashy than those under him, but he out-performs all of them.
3. Donovan Mitchell 17.7 PPG- 3.4 APG- 3 RPG: When Gordon Heyward left the Jazz last year the consensus seemed to be that the Jazz were done. One of the largest reasons that hasn’t been the case and the Jazz are hanging around the 6-9 spots in the western conference is Mitchell. Donovan Mitchell has already set the rookie scoring record for the Jazz with 41 against the Pelicans. On a night in and night out basis, Mitchell leads the offense. Even without Rudy Gobert the Jazz have been able to compete with every team they have played with Mitchell in the lineup. Mitchell is putting up numbers scoring wise comparable with Simmons with much less talent around him.
4. Jason Tatum 13.9 PPG- 1.4 APG- 5.6 RPG: Tatum gets swept under the guise of the fact that the Celtics are a championship team. However, he has had just as impressive of a year as those above him on this list. Tatum is the super athletic 3 that can play down to the 2, or up to the 4 or 5. A Lebron James type player, Tatum probably has better athleticism than Simmons but because his numbers aren’t as consistent he falls to the 4 spot.
5. Lonzo Ball 10 PPG- 7 APG- 6.9 RPG: If Lonzo Ball wasn’t a top two pick, didn’t have a 35% shooting percentage, and Lavar wasn’t his dad we would be talking about him as one of the most promising young players in the league. Unfortunately, the hype around Lonzo fell flat. So now he seems to be the laughing stock of the NBA. In defense of Lonzo, he seems to be turning a corner. He isn’t really a trouble maker (Nas shirt aside) and he isn’t a major distraction for his team, only his dad is. Lonzo can’t prevent that though. Will he win rookie of the year? At this point no, but people need to give him a second chance.