Throughout the course of the 2013-14 season, HoopsHabit will be presenting an NBA rookie power ranking, letting you see who has the best shot at winning the Rookie of the Year award at season’s end.
The preseason list is assembled based on a number of factors: Each player’s overall ceiling, the role they are expected to play for their respective teams, their health going into the season and the prospects that their teams have going into the season.
Without further ado, here is the first installment of the 2013-14 NBA Rookie Power Rankings.
1.Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings
To kick off the list is the best overall player from the 2013 NBA draft, Ben McLemore out of Kansas. McLemore came out of college early with the expectation that he would be chosen within the first five picks, but sadly fell to the seventh pick in a less than stellar overall draft class after being touted as a possible first overall selection.
While the prospects for the Sacramento Kings aren’t very high, McLemore is in a very respectable position for his rookie season. He’s going to be a main focus on the offense along with DeMarcus Cousins, both of whom should benefit greatly from the on-court leadership of Greivis Vasquez. McLemore’s jump shot could use some work, but he will benefit from a run-and-gun offensive style that the Kings are equipped to run this season.
2.Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Coming in at two is the second overall selection for the 2013 draft Victor Oladipo. Oladipo comes out of Indiana playing outstanding, stingy, hard-nosed defense that helped him come in second in the National Player of the Year race. His offensive game has also developed each year he was in school, improving in all aspects. Oladipo had a great display at the Orlando Summer League, averaging 19 points per game while leading the Magic offense.
Oladipo is the future of Magic and he has a lot to prove this season. He will be expected to put up respectable scoring numbers, keep his turnovers down and become the point guard of the future. The pressure is on for Oladipo. It will all come down to whether he can stand the heat or get out of the kitchen.
3.Otto Porter, Washington Wizards
Porter would be higher on the list, but he was recently sidelined with a sore right hip. He’s been battling injuries throughout the summer and is listed as day-to-day early in Wizards training camp. However, the injuries are not significant enough warrant a further drop in the rankings.
Otto Porter is in the perfect position to succeed with the Washington Wizards being paired with the backcourt of a healthy John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall’s ability to drive and dish, along with Beal’s range around the perimeter, will leave Porter open from the free throw line extended jumper, the shot he perfected at Georgetown.
With long arms and the ability to rattle opposing offenses with his persistence, Porter has the right mix of offense and defense sure to help make the Wizards a better overall team. A helpful push for the Wizards to towards the playoffs will also help propel Porter to the top spot on the list.
4.Trey Burke, Utah Jazz
The most recent National Player of the Year for Michigan, Trey Burke is ready to help lead another program back from the ashes. Burke is now tasked with bringing the Utah Jazz back into the NBA playoff picture. It’s not going to be easy, but Burke has the skills to get it done.
Burke had an impressive stat line last season with Michigan, dropping nearly 19 points per game, shooting 47 percent overall and 38 percent from the 3-point line. He also has no problems dishing the ball to teammates, averaging nearly seven assists per contest on his way to the NPOY award. Burke is immediately going to be thrown into the fire as Utah’s starting point guard.
The Jazz as a whole aren’t expected to amount to much, but Trey Burke could help them be the difference between bottom dwellers and mediocrity. Here’s to hoping for the latter.
5.Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers
While Anthony Bennett is coming off of shoulder surgery, he has been cleared to resume basketball activities just in time for the start of Cavaliers camp, putting his name right in the thick of the Rookie of the Year race.
Bennett is going to benefit being around All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving as well as a group of developing role players in Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller. Together, this group is the future of the Cavaliers and Bennett is the cherry on top.
Bennett is an athletic big who can hit from all over the floor, inside and out, and has a great motor. When he’s at full speed it’s hard to stop Bennett. If he’ll fully healthy and ready to go, Bennett is ready to help lead the Cavaliers on a run to the playoffs.
- Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics: Brad Stevens knows how to coach, period, and Olynyk showed great strides during the Summer League. He’s going to be a focal point in the Celtics’ new franchise overhaul.
- Isaiah Canaan, Houston Rockets: The Rockets have a new look and a new attitude with the addition of Dwight Howard, but Canaan could be one who benefits most. He’ll get great playing time and even better scoring opportunities around the perimeter with the attention being on Howard and James Harden.
- Shabazz Muhammad, Minnesota Timberwolves: With the injury to Chase Budinger (out indefinitely) the Wolves are going to need another offensive weapon. This will be Shabazz’s time to prove all of his doubter wrong. An attitude change is needed, but it’s his time to start over.
- Alex Len, Phoenix Suns: If it wasn’t for the ankle injury issues, Len would be in the top five. However, when a big man is having problems with his legs or feet to begin a career, it rarely ends well. He needs to come back healthy soon and stay that way to be considered for the official ranking.
Topics: Alex Len, Anthony Bennett, Ben McLemore, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Bradley Beal, Chase Buddinger, Cleveland Cavaliers, Demarcus Cousins, Dion Waiters, Dwight Howard, Greivis Vasquez, Houston Rockets, Indiana, Isaiah Canaan, James Harden, John Wall, Kansas, Kelly Olynyk, Kyrie Irving, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, NBA Rookie Power Rankings, Orlando Magic, Otto Porter, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Shabazz Muhammad, Trey Burke, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, Utah Jazz, Victor Oladipo, Washington Wizards