The 2012 NBA draft provided more than its fair share of talented prospects and has the potential to be one of the deeper classes in the last decade.
Unlike last year, the 2012 rookies will have a full summer to get used to NBA life, with a full training camp in October and a much slower schedule than in 2011. These rookies won't have to deal with as much change and complication as last year's rookies did with the NBA lockout.
With next season in mind, it is never too soon to predict what we can expect from these youngsters. Let's take a look at the top 10 players who could win Rookie of the Year.
Teague is a strong all-around point guard who proved at Kentucky last year that he knows how to lead a winning team.
With a talented roster around him, Teague could shine right away as Rose's replacement and keep the Bulls on the right path until Rose returns.
Of course, when Rose returns, he'll take back the starting gig, which would likely end Teague's run for Rookie of the Year.
If Deron Williams returns to Brooklyn, you can forget this slide.
If he signs elsewhere, Tyshawn Taylor might have an underdog's chance. He could start, and if he improves his ball-handling, the rest of his skills are NBA-ready.
He's scary to watch but also electrifying and exciting, and he could prove to be this year's Isaiah Thomas.
Every year, there is one older player in the second round who busts out and proves to be one of the better players in the draft. My gut tells me this year's candidate is Draymond Green.
He finished off an excellent college career with a fantastic run in the NCAA tournament. While he may lack a true NBA position, his wide skill set and great versatility will help him become a consistent role player from the start.
I don't think it'll be enough to win him Rookie of the Year, but it'll be enough to get some fourth- or fifth-place votes.
Remember when Steve Nash was named the MVP in 2005 and 2006 thanks to his incredible passing abilities?
No, Kendall Marshall won't be Nash. He lacks Nash's shooting skills.
But he does have Steve Nash-like passing skills and a basketball IQ through the roof. I predict he'll eclipse seven or so assists per contest, even on a Phoenix squad devoid of scoring.
Just imagine all the Marshall/Marcin Gortat pick-and-rolls!
Harrison Barnes will likely start in Golden State or else be the first man off the bench if the Warriors start/keep Dorell Wright.
With his shooting ability, Barnes will capture the fans' early votes, but he may teeter a bit when fans realize—at least, at first—he is a one-trick pony.
Still, when that trick is shooting, you're going to get some attention, and Barnes can shoot it with the best of them.
Terrence Ross is here over Harrison Barnes because he'll likely carry more of the scoring load from the start.
Aside from Andrea Bargnani and perhaps the inconsistent DeMar DeRozan, he may be the Raptors' best scorer.
He's also a good defender and a tough player, and with his shooting abilities, he could provide Toronto fans with the excitement they've lacked in recent years.
Thomas Robinson could start right away, especially if Sacramento is unable to re-sign Jason Thompson.
He'll probably struggle a bit scoring-wise right off the bat, but as the months go on and he gets used to the NBA game, his rugged work ethic will help him improve vastly.
With his athleticism and rebounding abilities, he could be the second-most productive big man in this class from the start.
But I predict he'll be the Wizards' second-leading scorer, averaging about 17 points on 46 percent shooting and 38 percent from long distance.
The Wizards are an improved team, and with a lineup of Wall, Beal, Trevor Ariza, Nene and Emeka Okafor, they could realistically challenge for a sixth, seventh or eighth seed.
If they get into the playoffs and Beal is a key part, that should boost his Rookie of the Year candidacy.
A probable starter from day one, Damian Lillard has all the scoring instincts to contribute immediately.
If he can immediately start connecting with his teammates and establish a strong passing game, he could greatly improve his Rookie of the Year odds.
His electric game will be entertaining to watch, and he'll be on a Portland team that has plenty of win-now players.
Don't be surprised if the Blazers start getting televised and make a run for the playoffs.
Here is what we know.
Anthony Davis will get starter minutes immediately and will play a big role on a New Orleans team that otherwise lacks big men.
His defensive intensity and blocking skills are already NBA-ready, and with his work ethic, you can be sure he'll be ready for the season.
Can he stand up to the expectations?
Not immediately, but you know fans and experts will applaud his defensive efforts even if he struggles a bit offensively. He needs to figure out what kind of offensive player he'll be, but he won't struggle enough to keep him out of Rookie of the Year contention.