By Nash Walker
The 2018-19 NBA rookie class has been extremely fluid this season, with a few consistent performers and duds. KCOU Sports’ Nash Walker offers his take on where the ROY candidates stack up heading into March:
1. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Luka has been the furthest thing from a disappointment for Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and company in Big D. He has battled injuries all season, but still put up averages of 20 points on 43% shooting with over 7 boards and almost 6 assists per game.
Doncic is not the most athletic cat in the league, but the adaption of his step back jumper and his smile are enough to have us believe he will be a star and a stud in this league for the foreseeable future. Luka deserved an All-Star game bid in his inaugural season, but something tells me he will find himself playing during the break many times in his career.
2. Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings
This is a bold pick at number two- Atlanta’s Trae Young has been electric as of late. Bagley has earned a spot in the starting five and has been absolutely dominate down low for an improved Kings squad.
Bagley was one of my favorite rookies heading into the season- I predicted he would get the room he needed to grow in Sacramento. He’s done exactly that.
Unlike Doncic and Young, who started from opening night, Bagley had to prove himself from a bench role, and he has quietly given himself a name in the league. Watch out for Bagley as an emerging presence, who can score in the post, rebound and protect the rim. The Duke product is certainly going to make his case to push Doncic for Rookie of the Year.
3. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Young was quickly thrown into a starting role for the Hawks- a squad with young talent and nothing to play for. He has been wildly inconsistent this year, and his minutes and production have fluctuated under head coach Lloyd Pierce.
Even then, as of late, Young has been dishing and scoring at an exceptional rate. Since dropping 25 points and 10 assists in the Rising Stars game All Star Weekend, Young has averaged 29.6 points and 8.6 assists in three games. It remains to be seen whether the “kitchen sink” approach will be effective for Young’s development. Nevertheless, he has put together a number of impressive stretches.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org