While eight teams remain focused on the 2012 NBA playoffs, there are 22 others with their eyes set on the most important event of the offseason: the 2012 NBA draft.
There are more than a handful of potential franchise players, with Kentucky's Anthony Davis hailing as the consensus first overall draft choice and supposed best player on the board. This will inevitably leave Davis with a great honor, however, there is a power forward from Kansas who will be looking ahead and aiming to pry loose a separate achievement from Anthony Davis' grasp: 2013 Rookie of the Year.
Let the facts be stated—Davis is an elite shot-blocker, dominant rebounder, talented ball-handler and freak athlete with unbelievable length. His talent is unbelievably uncommon and his upside is limitless. He just doesn't excel in the necessary categories to grab hold of this award.
Robinson, meanwhile, is a tough, physical defender whose offensive prowess could enable him to post upwards of 16 points per game as a rookie. He could also come close to cracking the double-digit rebounding plateau should he find himself in the right situation, such as the New Orleans Hornets' crippled frontcourt.
Due to this fact, it's safe to say that Robinson does in fact own an advantage over Davis. He's a much more prolific scorer, as he can shoot, post-up and penetrate off the dribble. This is a promising sign for Robinson, as all but one season since 2005 has seen the Rookie of the Year award go to the league's leading rookie scorer.
Who Will Win the Rookie of the Year Award?
Furthermore, the first overall draft choice has won the Rookie of the Year Award in just four of the past 12 seasons. While that's not necessarily a poor level of consistency, it is a sign that draft placement does not determine the potential winner of the coveted award.
Although impressive, the numbers that Davis is likely to put up are not ones that lead to awards—not since Pau Gasol won Rookie of the Year in 2002 has the award gone to the player who led all rookies in blocks per game. As for rebounding, Davis and Robinson were both prolific in that category, making it hard to believe that either will own a significant advantage on the glass.
With the numbers weighed, history accounted for and individual strengths balanced, Thomas Robinson becomes the favorite. Robinson's ability to score and rebound, as well as his potential status as a fan favorite, will give him the slight edge over Mr. Versatility: Anthony Davis.
Now, there are only two questions remaining... Where will they go and why do we have to wait so long to find out?