We just saw 60 guys get drafted in the 2017 NBA Draft. Here’s a way too early projection of who will be in the running for 2017-18 Rookie of the Year.
There is a great chance that the 2017 NBA Draft will go down as one of the best in NBA history. Teams picking in the top-10 had a great opportunity to land a potential superstar. Just about every guy in the lottery could be an NBA starter. There were guys taken in all parts of the first round that could be impactful NBA players.
However, who of these crop of youngsters will pop first? The potential star power with this class is obvious, so we might actually end up with several transformative players in this draft. Making either All-Rookie team in 2017-18 will be a huge deal. There is almost no way that this year’s rookie class will be as lackluster as last year’s crop.
With 60 players having the pleasure of being drafted on Thursday night, let’s take a way too early look at how the top-five in Rookie of the Year rankings will be.
Shooting Guard/Small Forward, Phoenix Suns
This may be a point guard driven rookie class, but the player with perhaps the highest upside is No. 4 overall pick (to the Phoenix Suns) Josh Jackson. In one year at Kansas, Jackson electrified with his ability to win above the rim for head coach Bill Self. Per usual, Kansas won the Big 12 and made it to the Elite Eight with Jackson as one of its star players.
Though he’s not a great shooter just yet, Jackson is a year older than most of these one-and-dones. He might be more physically mature to handle the rigor of playing in the NBA. Jackson doesn’t have to be the star player with the Suns. That title already belongs to shooting guard Devin Booker.
While having to start presumably at small forward or come off the bench in a high-end rotational role, Jackson’s inherent athleticism will allow him to make an impact from day one on a bad Suns team. Phoenix should be done tanking by now. The Suns need to win and Jackson could be the igniter for a rebirth in up-tempo Suns basketball.
Playing a different position outside of point guard only helps Jackson’s candidacy to being named 2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year. However, Phoenix hasn’t solved its point guard problems and Booker might find it hard giving the rookie the rock when he can just score 70 by himself in defeat.