The NBA Draft concluded a few days ago, and while there weren't any earth-shattering moves made, the picks did not go as many "experts" had planned (myself included).
Players such as Jordan Hamilton, Brandon Knight, and Kawhi Leonard slid further than anyone anticipated, while guys such as Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Nolan Smith, and Cory Joseph were believed to be reaches.
Now that the players have been drafted to an actual team, it's now much easier to make predictions regarding next season's Rookie of the Year race. Assuming there is a season, of course.
This list encompasses what I feel are the favorites to win the prestigious award in reverse order. While I would've liked to put in some non-lottery picks as potential candidates, the fact is players chosen outside the lottery very rarely win the award.
Word was that the Golden State Warriors fell in love with Klay Thompson during his workout with the team because of his elite shooting, prompting them to select him with the 11th overall pick.
Thompson cracks this list because of the large quantity of rumors regarding the Warriors attempting to trade fellow guard Monta Ellis. Assuming he gets dealt, Thompson would be the likely candidate to replace Ellis in the starting lineup opposite Stephen Curry.
Even with the Warriors bringing in a new coach in Mark Jackson, they should be one of the better offensive teams in the league, which will give Thompson plenty of opportunities to put up big numbers.
Tristan Thompson's selection by the Cavaliers was one of the first picks that people questioned. It was viewed as a reach, and many assumed the Cavs would take Jonas Valanciunas (who went a pick later).
I'm guessing the Cavs weren't willing to wait a year for Valanciunas to come to the NBA, so they went with Thompson, a guy who's pretty raw but has massive potential and is a solid defender with a great motor.
It's unclear if the Cavs plan on playing him with fellow power forward J.J. Hickson, or if they plan on moving one or the other eventually. With the number of seven-foot, post-up centers dwindling by the year, playing these two athletic big men together might work.
I don't expect Thompson to start, but he'll have some highlight reel plays that will make people recognize this guy's skills.
For a guy who had only played in one game over the last year or so, Enes Kanter did pretty well for himself in being selected third overall by the Utah Jazz.
As you can see from the picture, Kanter is a giant at 6'10" and was one of the few back-to-the-basket players in this draft class.
Despite having solid big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, Utah selected Kanter.
After Jefferson, the center position is virtually non-existent, so Kanter will most likely be coming off the bench and be counted on to be the interior presence for the second unit along with at first.
Depending on how well he does, Kanter's minutes could increase enough to warrant him some discussion.
What is certain is that the Jazz have one of the best young frontcourts in the league with Kanter and last year's third overall pick, Derrick Favors.
Alec Burks going to the Utah Jazz was probably one of the better picks of the draft. While I'm sure Utah fans would've loved it if their boy Jimmer Fredette had fallen to them, grabbing Burks should be a nice consolation prize.
Considering the Jazz current shooting guards are Raja Bell (34 years old and not getting better) and Gordon Hayward (2010 first-round pick who showed flashes of being a solid player, but nothing consistent), shooting guard was a major need for them.
Burks will be able to come in and provide instant scoring punch due to his ability to get into the lane. If his jump shot ever improves, he could average 20 points per game.
I'm just not sure he'll be able to overtake Bell and Hayward immediately, which could hurt his production.
The fact that Brandon Knight slid all the way to the Detroit Pistons at No. 8 was a shock to many fans. Knight had been a perceived top-five pick since he declared for the draft.
Even though the Pistons already have a scoring point guard in Rodney Stuckey, it's clear that GM Joe Dumars simply drafted the best player available.
Stuckey has yet to really work out in Detroit as a floor general, and Knight's selection may force Stuckey to move to shooting guard. Both players are around 6'3", and Knight is an excellent defender, so playing them together might work out.
Regardless, it would be incredibly surprising if Knight didn't start or at least receive starter's minutes.
Don't be confused about Jimmer Fredette wearing a Milwaukee Bucks hat. He was traded to the Sacramento Kings as part of a three-team deal.
Fredette will probably be the most scrutinized rookie next season because no one really knows how good he's going to be. Add that to the fact that the Kings are having serious money problems and Jimmer's popularity was probably a factor in the Kings drafting him, and there will be plenty of pressure on the former BYU star.
As part of the trade, the Kings dealt their starting point guard, Beno Udrih, meaning the position will be open for competition. It's uncertain if Jimmer will be a point guard, but it appears as though he will get the opportunity to prove himself from day one.
Pairing Jimmer with former ROY Tyreke Evans will be interesting to watch as both need the ball in their hands to be effective.
Everyone knows Jimmer can score as well as any prospect, so if given enough playing time, he could be the top scoring rookie next year.
Jan Vesely had one of the more notable nights during the NBA Draft.
First, when he was selected, he pretty much made out with his girlfriend before meeting David Stern. Then, when asked about him being the European version of Blake Griffin, Vesely replied with something along the lines of, "He's the American version of Jan Vesely." I like this kid already.
Basketball-wise, comparison's to Blake Griffin don't seem too far off, at least in terms of his athleticism and ability to throw down. Look up highlights of him on Youtube and you won't be disappointed.
With fellow Wizard John Wall, Vesely will be putting up plenty of highlight reel dunks when they're in transition, which should help his case for the award.
Watching the Wizards next season will be fun to watch solely for the possibility of seeing those two athletes getting out in the open court.
The Minnesota Timberwolves made the smart choice in drafting the best player available to them at No. 2 in Derrick Williams. Talent-wise, he may have the most than any player in the draft.
So why isn't he the favorite to win the award? Minnesota already has plenty of forwards, and they're pretty good ones at that.
Kevin Love was an All-Star this season and Michael Beasley is one of the team's best scorers when he's sane. They also have Anthony Randolph, who has plenty of potential, though he's yet to fully tap into it.
It's uncertain if Williams will be able to unseat Beasley in the starting lineup, so making him the favorite would be foolish. Last time I checked, winners of the award are starters from day one, and with Williams, that's no guarantee.
If he does end up starting, then he's probably the favorite.
Kyrie Irving was the top pick in the NBA Draft for a reason. The kid is the surest thing in this draft and has plenty of talent to back it up despite only playing 11 games in his only season at Duke.
Irving will enter Cleveland and should immediately see starter's minutes. Whether he starts will depend on if the Cavs trade Baron Davis.
Because the Cavs don't have many scorers on their roster (Davis and Antawn Jamison are getting old while J.J. Hickson has been inconsistent), Irving will have the opportunity to be the top option whenever he's on the court. Though he's more of a pure point guard, he certainly has the ability to put the ball in the basket.
Before the draft occurred, I would've pegged him as the favorite, and by a fair margin.
It's not often when the No. 9 pick in the Draft is believed to be the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year, but Kemba Walker has been put in the perfect situation to be considered as such.
In the previously mentioned three-team trade, the Bobcats traded away their top scorer, Stephen Jackson. In exchange, they received the No. 7 pick, which was used to draft defensive specialist Bismack Biyombo, and swing man Corey Maggette.
While Maggette has been a scorer, the scoring load will on Walker primarily. Kemba proved in college that he can carry that load and modify his game accordingly.
Make no mistake, the Bobcats are going to be pretty bad this season, and Kemba will probably have his fair share of poor shooting games, but overall, Kemba will have the best opportunity of any rookie to lead his team in scoring every night, while also dishing out his fair share of assists.