NBA Awards Watch: Rookie of the Year

By Mike Elworth. Follow Mike @MikeElworth24. For site updates follow @walterfootball.

Six weeks into 2016 NBA Season, this is my second NBA Awards Watch. I had an offseason version with LeBron James as the MVP, Steve Kerr as the Coach of the Year, Marcus Smart as the Most Improved Player, Marc Gasol as the Defensive Player of the Year, Jahlil Okafor as the Rookie of the Year and Joakim Noah as the Sixth Man of the Year. Regardless, these are my picks now, enjoy.

  1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
    Towns has it all; the stats, the efficiency and the versatility, and he is having one of the best rookie seasons since LeBron James. Towns isn’t the offensive player who Jahlil Okafor is, but is already one of the NBA’s best shot-blockers and rebounders, and has the shooting numbers of a guard.

  2. Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers
    Okafor is the best offensive rookie, and I think will be the best player from the 2015 NBA Draft, but his team has one win and the best player on a historically poor team isn’t the best look for a player. Regardless, the numbers and talent are for real, and Okafor will be a 20-10 player in this league; he is almost one now. He is a truly elite talent.

  3. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
    Porzingis may be playing in the Big Apple, for the Knicks, in Madison Square Garden, has fame and is fun to watch, but statistically, it isn’t a contest with him, Okafor and Towns.

  4. Ronade Hollis-Jefferson, Brooklyn Nets
    Yes, Hollis-Jefferson will miss the next 2-3 months, but he is the fourth-best rookie this season, and as no rookie will get near the first three, I will have Hollis-Jefferson fourth for now. He is rebounding like a big man and is already a ridiculous defender, and although he won’t be much of a scorer in this league, he is going to be an elite role player.

  5. Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento Kings
    Cauley-Stein is also injured, but he is proving himself to be the defender and franchise center he was expected to be. He isn’t and won’t score in this league, but he can be one of the best defenders in the league and is playing well as a rookie. Cauley-Stein is going to be one of those centers who by himself makes his team respectable on defense, and he and DeMarcus Cousins could be an elite big man duo in Sacramento.

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