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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Race for NBA ROY

Like any other rookie class, the 2018 NBA greenhorns will count studs and busts among them, with many ready to contribute in the playoffs right away and others to be a key piece in their team’s rebuild.

The top picks in the draft were Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III. Two supremely talented offensive big men, Ayton figures to slide into a clear role as the dominant post presence for Phoenix, surrounded by shooters Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Trevor Ariza and Josh Jackson. This will give him significant space to work down low.

Bagley’s role in Sacramento is a little more muddied, however, he’ll look to play the 4 alongside the shooting inept Willie Cauley-Stein, splitting time in the front court with the likes of veteran backup Zach Randolph and another young player teeming with potential in Harry Giles. This could damage Bagley’s potential first year statistics as the paint should be packed every time he touches the ball and will be forced to expand his game outside of the post to truly impact winning for the Kings.

Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Trae Young rounded out the top five picks, with a swap between the Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks landing each team Doncic and Young, respectively.

Doncic, the Slovenian wunderkind will be the Mavs secondary playmaker behind point guard Dennis Smith Jr., bringing his remarkable shooting and playmaking ability on the wing that made the 19-year-old a sensation overseas.

Jaren Jackson will be a perfect match in the Memphis Grizzlies team culture, as the defense-first big with serious chops on the offensive end will be under the perfect tutelage from veteran Marc Gasol.

The Hawks newly acquired point guard Trae Young is nothing if not exciting, as the playmaker with elite passing ability has the shooting range to conjure up images of Steph Curry when he gets hot, though his Oklahoma Sooners team performance raises some concerns for the point guard.

The remaining lottery picks possess serious talent as well. Players like Wendell Carter Jr, Mo Bamba, and Kevin Knox all bring game changing ability to the table. Here’s to hoping their respective teams of the Bulls, Magic, and Knicks don’t screw up their potential.

Cleveland’s Collin Sexton has the skillset every NBA team value in their point guard, a solid ball handler with good passing vision and a serviceable jumper, with a ferocious approach to the defensive end.

The two Bridges’ will also play a role in the upcoming season, as Phoenix will benefit from Mikal’s defense and shooting on the wing, complementing their already existing pieces in Devin Booker and the aforementioned Deandre Ayton.

Charlotte will have to hope Miles’ good play in the preseason carries over to the regular season, and the athletic freak should have no problem getting to the rim and being a difference maker as long as he stays aggressive for a questionable Charlotte team.

Michael Porter Jr. should also be mentioned here, as he was the last pick in the lottery although it seems the gifted combo forward may miss most of if not all the season due to a preexisting spinal injury. At the same time, his potential is elite.

Grayson Allen, last season’s college basketball’s least popular player will be effective with his tenacious defense, shooting and playmaking ability for a Jazz team that will love everything he brings to the table.

Look for Dzanan Musa of the Brooklyn Nets to have a surprising season, as the European sharpshooter should find a role on a team just starting to find its way.

The Celtics may have gotten the most bang for their buck in the draft, as Robert Williams III’s lottery talents fell to Boston at 27, who has the defensive ability to jump right into a role in the Celtic’s elite defense and has drawn comparisons to Clint Capela.

Doncic is the safe pick for ROY, as he has too much talent and a good team surrounding him to foresee a disappointing season. Miles Bridges, however, has the potential to be a serious dark horse in the race, and could be essential to dragging Charlotte to the playoffs with All- star teammate Kemba Walker. Predictions for the top 3 ROY vote getters are Doncic, Miles Bridges, then Ayton.

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