Published: Thu, August 24, 2017
Sports | By Phillip Butler

National Basketball Association rookies view Dennis Smith Jr. as ROY favorite, draft's top athlete

National Basketball Association rookies view Dennis Smith Jr. as ROY favorite, draft's top athlete

The rookies surveyed predicted Smith Jr. would win the 2018 Rookie of the Year award.

Their fellow rookies - Simmons missed all of last season due to injury - aren't almost as enthused. The NC State product received 25.7 percent of the vote, beating out Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball (20.0 percent) and 76ers floor general Markelle Fultz (17.1 percent). The answers show that expectations are very high for Smith Jr. entering this season.

1 previous year, believing he'd have the best career of anyone in his draft class. Smith Jr. and Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson tied for third, receiving 10.5 percent of the votes. Almost 44 percent of the rookies chose him for that title.

Lastly, Ball and Boston's Jayson Tatum were tied in the voting for the rookie most likely to have the best overall career.

The NBA rookie survey was released today and revealed the excitement surrounding Smith around the NBA.

It's no wonder that he's received such high praise from his peers. After slipping to ninth in the 2017 draft, Smith was dominant at the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.2 steals. He also wowed crowds with electrifying dunks during warm-ups and one in-game dunk, that he missed, which brought the Thomas & Mack Center to its feet in awe. With both players likely playing large minutes in their rookie seasons, we could see a great battle for the Rookie of the Year award.

With Fultz getting phased out of those conversations more and more, the NBA Rookie Survey highlighted just how minimally people view Fultz's chances of a strong, league-leading rookie campaign.

Nonetheless, if Smith Jr. does receive Rookie of the Year, he will only be the second Maverick to win the honor.

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