ESPN’s Summer Forecast revealed their favorites today for the 2017 Rookie of the Year Award and Buddy Hield finished a distant fourth in the voting process with 18 points. Ben Simmons (207 pts), Kris Dunn (89 pts), and Brandon Ingram (71 pts) all finished well ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans rookie.
More than likely, the recent summer league performances played a part in these results. Although Simmons didn’t shoot the ball often or particularly well enough, his ability to fill up a stat line should make him the clear cut favorite. The Philadelphia 76ers will undoubtedly give him the keys to their offense on day one, so expect the high usage to translate into big numbers.
Although Dunn only appeared in two Las Vegas games, he was dynamite, averaging 24.0 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Ingram didn’t fare nearly as well in the desert, but the thinking is probably that the Lakers will utilize him at the outset to help offset the enormous usage void created by Kobe Bryant’s retirement.
Hield is coming off a fantastic senior season from the University of Oklahoma where he racked a number of awards which included the John Wooden Award, the Naismith College Player of the Year Award, and just yesterday, the Big 12 Athlete of the Year Award.
However, with the combination of his shooting struggles in the 2016 Summer League and joining a team featuring Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, the voters are probably not enamored with his opportunity to make an immediate and impressive impact. (Incidentally, it’s the same view I had last month after Hield was drafted.)
Do any of you still really like his chances to walk home with the 2017 Rookie of the Year honors?