Rookie of the Year is all about opportunity. The award winner usually puts up big scoring numbers and wins don’t matter. If Ben Simmons was healthy he would probably be the clear favorite because he would have the ball in his hands the majority of time in Philadelphia.
Joel Embiid should be solid but he will probably be limited. He won’t play in back to back games so I don’t think he will be in the running.
I don’t think Brandon Ingram or Kris Dunn will get enough opportunities. Both players will be coming off the bench but more importantly they have other young guys they want to feature. In LA D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle have to develop and play well together. At this time Ingram is more of a catch and shoot guy so he might not get that many shots up.
Kris Dunn has the frame to play right now but the Wolves will be focused on improving the chemistry with Karl Towns, Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins. If they trade away Ricky Rubio, then Dunn might jump up in consideration.
Again in no particular order these are three players that I think will be in the discussion for Rookie of the Year.
Buddy Hield – I’m not a big fan of Buddy but with Simmons out he will get the most opportunities as a rookie. The Pelicans are banged up and they need scorers. Hield should be a good 3-point shooter in this league and with all the injuries he will get shots up. Even if Hield doesn’t start the season he will play big minutes. Expect him to have a few big games where he knocks down 5 or 6 3-pointers.
Jamal Murray – With Gary Harris out Murray should be the first guard off the bench. He will see time at both point guard and shooting guard. If his 3-point shooting carries over from college, he will see increased minutes at both guard positions. Denver has a lot of depth so expect to see Murray on the floor with different lineups that could open up the floor for him.
Domantas Sabonis – His energy and effort will get him into the starting lineup. With Westbrook attacking the rim, Sabonis should be able to get easy baskets or offensive rebounds. As the season goes on he might get more comfortable stepping out to the 3-point line.