NBA: Why Damian Lillard, and Not Anthony Davis, Will Win Rookie of the Year

Jay Schaeffer@jays7193Contributor IIISeptember 7, 2012

TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 21:  Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trailblazers  poses for a portrait during the 2012 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot at the MSG Training Center on August 21, 2012 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The New Orleans Hornets selected Kentucky's Anthony Davis with the number one overall selection this past April, which automatically made Davis the front-runner to nab Rookie of the Year honors next season. Davis comes into the league with—by far—more hype than any other rookie in this year's class.

However, while Davis played for Kentucky he excelled on defense, but he was not nearly as dominant on offense. Davis averaged just 14 points per game last year, which is very low for the number one overall selection. Davis was drafted on his defensive prowess and his offensive potential, rather than his current offensive skills. 

Although I believe that Davis will be a perennial All Star in a few seasons, he will not have immediate success on the offensive side of the ball in the NBA.

The Rookie of the Year award typically goes to the best offensive rookie, rather than the best overall rookie. For that reason, Anthony Davis will not win Rookie of the Year.

So if Anthony Davis is not going to win Rookie of the Year, then who will? 

Damian Lillard will be holding the Rookie of the Year trophy come May 2013. Lillard is both in the right situation, and is also the most NBA-ready player in the 2012 draft class.

Lillard is a point guard who has a scoring mentality, but is also a very good passer. Lillard averaged 24 points on 46.7 percent shooting to go along with 4 assists at Weber State, but doubters said that the only reason he posted such numbers was because he played in the Big Sky Conference. 

However, Lillard proved those doubters wrong in the Las Vegas Summer League. Lillard averaged 26 points and 5 assists on 43 percent shooting, and took home co-MVP honors. Although summer league competition does not compare to playing in the NBA, it can often show teams what type of player they drafted. 

In addition, Lillard happens to be in a great position to succeed as a rookie.

The Blazers have no other legitimate option at point guard, which essentially assures Lillard the starting point guard job. Look for Lillard to put up big numbers as a rookie and eventually become one of the leagues top point guards.