Who will claim this season’s ROY award?

Every NBA season has its fair share of intrigues, triumphs and failures, and each year, the NBA rookie class graces the league with all three aspects. There are times when the highest-grade draft picks are least successful, and there are moments that the least likely rookies deliver some of the greatest highlights. As another spell pushes through, the new rookie class is always one of the things everyone is looking forward to pore over.

As the NBA league comes halfway through this season, the battle for the Rookie of the Year is one of the major league highlights which consist of a thorough analysis of the stats, performances and impact of these young players. In this article, Eastbridge listed down the probable candidates so far for one of the most sought-after awards in the NBA.

Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)

Before Trae Young made headlines for the Hawks, he was initially with the Mavericks. He was then traded to Atlanta in exchange for Luka Doncic. Young was selected 5th overall in the 2018 draft, ranking second among the rookies in terms of scoring. He has been an effective player for the Hawks, operating like a legitimate NBA starter and averaging at least 15.5 points and 7.1 assists. He displays a great ability of attaining the rim and drawing fouls, as well as impressive ball handling and passing skills. Though still a rookie, his penetration and vision solidified into noteworthy playmaking abilities.

Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns)

Deandre Ayton’s spell with the Phoenix Suns is on the rise so far at the moment. Early in his career with the Suns, he recorded an 18-point, 10-rebound, 6-assists outing against the Dallas Mavericks. He then produced another excellent 20-point, 14-rebound tally against the Golden State Warriors. His name is having quite an impact. Ayton’s stats haven’t looked empty during the Suns’ four-game winning streak just recently. He has been an operative player for the suns, contributing at least 1.4 shots per game. Deandre has been a competent mid-range shooter which makes his scoring efficacy and rebounding consistency two of the great things about him.

Collin Sexton (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Collin Sexton has absolutely come a long way ever since the beginning of the season. Fourth among the rookies and averaging on 15.0 points, he has been an effective source of offense for the Cavaliers. Aside from that, he has been averaging on at least 20 points per game over his previous five games which are at least nine more points per game since the first month of the campaign. Sexton was selected 8th overall this year and is currently placed 4th overall in terms of rookie scoring. He’s been making a name with the Cavs, putting together 29 points each in victories over both the Houston Rockets and the Washington Wizards.

Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies)

Ranking 5th among the rookie class this season, Jaren Jackson stands at 6’11 as a centre for the Memphis Grizzlies. At the moment, Jackson is averaging on 13.4 points per game, and 4.4 rebounds per game in 24 matches played so far. The No. 4 pick is hastily developing into one of the Grizzlies’ effective players this season. The 19-year-old managed to become a competent scorer and a troublesome defender that is worth watching out for in just his first two months in the campaign.  

Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)

This Slovenian power forward turned heads when he led the Dallas Mavericks to a team-high of 21 points which included a personal 11-0 run to beat the Houston Rockets. Before gaining recognition in the NBA, he was notable for leading his country’s national team to the championships during the Euroleague. Luka Doncic seemed the most likely to bag the ROY award this season due to various display of a wide array set of skills which he effectively employs during the games. He’s a splendid shooter, remarkable passer—an excellent playmaker all in all. He is currently the favourite and the front-runner for this year’s ROY, having the biggest rookie impact and it’s just midway through the season.

By @EliaasMJ

There are still a lot of challenges these rookies have to go through in order to bag one of the most coveted awards. Can one of these players attain the honor or will an unlikely contender takes on the challenge to claim the prize?

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