The Three Man Race For NBA's Rookie Of The Year

Jonathan GoldbergContributor IJuly 31, 2010

NEW YORK - JUNE 24: NBA Draft prospects pose for a group photo prior to the NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden on June 24, 2010 in New York City. 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 Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The season has yet to begin, but already there are three clear favorites for the Rookie of the Year award.

Last year it was Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry, and Tyreke Evans. Let's take a look at who it's going to be this year:


John Wall

I don't know if there has been this much hype around one player coming into his rookie season. Definitely not since the draft class of 2003. But even then, LeBron was sharing they hype with 'Melo and the rest of the top 5 picks.

Wall is already the face of the Washington Wizards franchise (Sorry Gilbert, your time has come and gone), and has not even played a single game yet (summer league does not count).

Wall should have no trouble handling all the hype surrounding him. It was there in college, and he lived up to all expectations. The same goes for him now at the NBA level. All eyes are on him, and if he plays the way everyone is expecting to, he will have no trouble separating himself from the rest of his draft class.

John Wall is a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year.


Blake Griffin

Yes he was drafted in 2009, but Blake Griffin is a rookie. A stress fracture in his left knee forced him to miss the entire '09/'10 season.

Griffin's success hinges on how he has recovered. When healthy, Griffin is an unstoppable force. His accolades include winning the Naismith Award, the John Wooden Award, and 2009 Summer league MVP. He is also known for doing things like this, and this. Oh and this too.

If he returns in playing shape, his knee fully healed, and if he can stay injury free, Blake will be Wall's biggest competition for Rookie of the Year.

DeMarcus Cousins

Out of all the big men taken in the 2010 NBA Draft, Cousins has the best foot work and softest hands around the rim. The sky is the limit for the big fella (big as in 6'11", 270 lbs, as listed on He is NBA ready, and still has room to grow as a player.

His Rookie of the Year candidacy will depend on how much playing time he gets. Unlike Wall and Griffin, Cousins is not guaranteed a spot in the starting five. The Sacramento Kings have three other players listed as centers: Samuel Dalembert, Jason Thompson (listed as F/C), and Hassan Whiteside.

There is a good chance that Cousins will begin the season backing up Dalembert (assuming Thompson will play the 4). But look for Cousins to break into the starting five. Once he does, he will put up numbers that will make him worthy of being called the Rookie of the Year.

Why won't draft picks 2-4 no be considered for Rookie of the Year? Well, they may, but ultimately I think that their seasons won't be stellar enough to warrant serious consideration for the award.


Evan Turner

He is a good all-around player, and he will have a solid year. Unfortunately, he will not put up huge numbers while he shares time with Andre Iguodala.


Derrick Favors

He is too much of a project, and his offensive game is not on par to be truly considered a ROY candidate.


Wesley Johnson

He was very good in college, but at the NBA level he is just an average player. He is older and is coming into the league at his athletic peak, but it won't be enough.


And of course, The Sleeper.


Greg Monroe

He had a slow start at Summer League, but finished on a high note with a monster game. If he can play at that same high level consistently this year, his name will be on the ROY ballot.