We're about 17 hours removed from the beginning of the 2013 NBA Draft, 16 and a half hours removed from when we realized it was one of the craziest, funniest, and most confusing drafts in recent memory, and it's now officially time to begin looking forward. Of the guys selected last night, who has the best chance of being named Rookie of the Year next season?
So, the first thing I'm going to need you to do is head over to SB Nation's NBA Draft grades/complete one-stop shop for everything draft related, and just, like, ogle it. Look at it, scroll through it, and just completely lose track of all time and space while drooling, because that's what I've been doing for oh, say, 45 minutes. You'll notice that we've graded all players based on immediate impact as well as fit and upside.
Figuring out who will win Rookie of the Year is completely different from figuring out who will be the best player out of a draft class. Sure, sometimes they match up -- LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose -- but in others, one player is simply more ready than the rest and in a better position to succeed his first year in the league.
Here are five players in prime positions to win the ROY next year:
Trey Burke, Utah Jazz (scouting report, pick coverage)
If you look at the last few rookies of the year, there's a definite trend towards point guards. The last two winners, three of the last five, and four if you remember that Tyreke Evans had a much higher role in handling the ball his first season in the league, have been PGs. It says a lot about a player when a team opts to turn the reins of their offense over to them in their first year in the league, and even more when they succeed.
Burke is in that position. He'll have the ball in his hands, and his draft stock wasn't based on his upside, but rather on his ability to run things right now, after winning virtually every college player of the year award and leading his team to the national title game. He has electric speed, dynamic handles and passing skills that are only surpassed by his scoring ability. Burke might have been the No. 9 pick, but I see him as the early favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award.
Also, check out the SB Nation longform of how Burke went from a middle-tier recruit to the best player in the NCAA.
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic (scouting report, pick coverage)
Though Oladipo might not be the player in the draft with the highest ceiling, the word on him is that he's the least likely player in the draft to end up being a flop. He's polished across the board, both on offense and defense. Considering the Magic are rebuilding, the Indiana star will enter Orlando as either the Magic's feature player or close to it. If he's as NBA-ready as scouts seem to think, his relatively large role in Orlando will have him near the top of the ROY running.
Like Burke, Oladipo also improved dramatically from the time he came to college to the time he left it.
Otto Porter Jr., Washington Wizards (scouting report, pick coverage)
Porter might be the only pick in the draft without a single detractor, as he fits a team need, the Georgetown product is a hometown hero in Washington, and, most importantly for our purposes, he's a versatile, well-developed player. The 6'9 small forward proved his scoring touch in college, established himself as a smart player, and has the height and length to grab boards and play defense. The only thing detracting from Porter's ROY chances is that he's just one weapon in a stockpile of youngsters. The Wizards will have John Wall at point, Bradley Beal at the two and then Porter at the three, and all of them can get buckets.
As Scott Coleman writes, Porter took the road less traveled to the NBA.
Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings (scouting report, pick coverage)
The Kings never thought that McLemore would fall for them at seven -- they had talked about trading up to get him higher -- and he'll be a key part of what Sacramento tries to do right off the bat. That said, McLemore's chances are hurt by a team that does have a lot of options. The player who left Kansas after a year is a top-notch athlete and he fits in perfectly in Sacramento at small forward, but the Kings still have Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, both of whom will want the ball in their hands a lot.
Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers (scouting report, pick coverage)
Bennett might not have been the expected No. 1 pick, but he's the No. 1 pick, and you can't discount his opportunity to succeed. The Cavs just had a rookie of the year two years ago with Kyrie Irving, but their roster is relatively bare, and there's no reason Bennett won't be playing huge minutes right away. There are questions about his readiness, having played just one year of college ball, and that in a mid-major conference. A bigger issue might be his weight, which has reportedly ballooned as he's been unable to work out since shoulder surgery. Three of the last five rookies of the year have been the top pick, and five of the last six have been one-and-done college players.