Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Sports Gazette NBA Writers Poll 17/18 Part 4: Rookie of the Year

Posted on 14 October 2017 by Adam Samuel

With the start of the NBA regular season on the horizon, the writers of the Sports Gazette have come together to provide their thoughts on the season to come. In part 4, we decide who we believe will clain the Rookie Of The Year award in 2017/18.

 Matt Horsman

  1. Lonzo Ball (3pts)
  2. Markelle Fultz (2pts)
  3. Ben Simmons (1pt)

As much as I don’t like the show behind most of what is ‘LB3’ off the court, I do hope he succeeds on it. The league needs another big personality to potentially end up rivalling the big guns. Not since Lebron James’s introduction into the league has there been as much hype over a rookie.

His performances in the NBA Summer League confirm that the kid can play, and not just for himself either – he really seems to bring others into the game. Who knows who he’ll be bringing into play next year for the Lakers? Maybe Paul George, maybe even the King himself.

Ben Morse

  1. Lonzo Ball (3pts)
  2. Ben Simmons (2pts)
  3. Dennis Smith Jr (1pt)

I don’t really think I’m pushing the boat out by predicting Lonzo Ball to win ROY. Not only does he have the superstar branding (you can thank LaVar for that), but he will have sole control over this Lakers team which, while definitely on the up, will not be challenging deep in the Playoffs. This will give him license to really showcase his talents and makes him the sole frontrunner for the ROY award. I mean, 62% of the leagues GMs have predicted that Lonzo will be the ROY this season.

Ben Simmons came into the league last year with the billing of a future star. This was dampened slightly as he was injured for the whole year, so the talk around him this offseason has been fairly low-key. He will likely have the most touches in the 76er’s offence over Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, which makes him a contender for the ROY.

Smith Jr is another player in a good situation. In an ageing Mavericks team, he could be the starting PG from the opening game, despite Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry having good seasons last year. DSJ is in line for a solid season.

Louis Olvera

  1. Lonzo Ball (3pts)
  2. Ben Simmons (2pts)
  3. Kyle Kuzma (1pt)

Before you go on to say that I have been brainwashed by LaVar Ball (Triple B’s baby!), let me defend my position. No he will not lead them to the finals – yet. Ball will have full license to showcase his talents and lead a team in the Lakers which is lacking in talent. He showcased what he can do in the stats department this preseason, and if we learned anything last year, it is that voters love to see the stat sheet fill up.

Ben Simmons will take the rookie limelight from teammate Markelle Fultz in Philadelphia, but Joel Embiid will run the show.

My dark horse is another Lakers rookie in Kyle Kuzma. The dude can flat out score, and will be a big help to Head Coach Luke Walton during the season. Keep an eye out for Josh Jackson (Pheonix Suns), Dennis Smith Jr (Dallas Mavericks), and Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz).

James Pike

  1. Jayson Tatum (3pts)
  2. Markelle Fultz (2pts)
  3. De’Aaron Fox (1pt)

The race for this award should be wildly entertaining, as I think you can make a legitimate case for over half of the top 20 draft picks to be Rookie of the Year. For me this goes to Tatum in the end because of the system he’ll be playing in.

Fultz and Fox will be playing for teams that are rebuilding; Tatum has the benefits of being drafted into an NBA Finals contender and playing under coach Brad Stevens. That isn’t to say that they won’t be entertaining to watch though. Fultz can create his own shot from just about anywhere outside of the paint, run the pick and roll as well as anyone, and now gets to dish balls down low to Joel Embiid.

Fox, on the other hand, and joins a truckload of young talent in Sacramento. While at Kentucky, he played alongside SG Malik Monk (who himself was the Hornets’ first-round draft pick); now, he’ll team up with Oklahoma graduate Buddy Hield. Hield isn’t quite the combo guard that Monk is, but he is every bit same calibre of scorer. The transition for Fox, then, should not be difficult. It won’t quite be like playing alongside Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford, but this year’s Kings should be much more fun to watch than any from recent seasons.

 Adam Samuel

  1. Ben Simmons (3pts)
  2. Jayson Tatum (2pts)
  3. Josh Jackson (1pt)

For me last years number one pick is the favourite to pick up the rookie award. With a year of travelling and acclimatising under his belt (albeit not playing), he is already at an advantage mentally. Add to that an exciting young core of players around him in Embiid, Fultz and Saric, and it’s hard not to envision Simmons to flirting with a double double if he is anywhere near 100% fitness.

Jayson Tatum should benefit from finding himself in that rarest of situations for a high-quality rookie – on a winning team.

Finally, I think Josh Jackson of Phoenix will make some noise out west. On an exciting Suns squad however, he could be overshadowed by more established names.

Conspicuous by his absence is one Lonzo Ball –  for all the hype, I just can’t see the Lakers doing much in the admittedly loaded west. Sorry Lakers fans.


1st – Lonzo Ball (9pts)

2nd – Ben Simmons (8pts)

3rd – Jayson Tatum (5pts)


Part 1: Best Offseason Move

Part 2: Most Disappointing Team

Part 3: Number One Picks

Part 5: NBA Champion

Part 6: Most Valuable Player