The 2016 Draft class tabs their favorites for Kia Rookie of the Year, best defender, funniest player and much more
POSTED: Aug 30, 2016 10:08 AM ET
GameTime: Rookie Photoshoot
Take an inside look at the fun and festivities at the annual NBA rookie photoshoot.
We're less than one month away from the start of the 2016-17 NBA season, which brings with it the debut of a new rookie class.
The class includes three heralded rookies -- Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons -- that will suit up for the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid could have been the No. 1 pick in 2014, Simmons was the No. 1 pick this year, and Saric comes with experience in Europe.
But none of the three are the pick for Kia Rookie of the Year, according to their classmates. Instead, it's No. 5 pick Kris Dunn, who more rookies feel is in position to take home the hardware. He'd be the Minnesota Timberwolves' third straight Kia Rookie of the Year award winner (following behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins) if they're right.
We sat down with 38 rookies at the annual Rookie Photo Shoot at the Knicks' practice facility in Greenburgh, New York, in early August. They answered eight questions about their class, as well as a couple about the current player they most admire and what they're expecting as they make the jump to the NBA.
The respect for Dunn goes well beyond the first question.
Categories: Rookie of the Year pick? | Best career? | Biggest draft steal? | Most athletic? | Best shooter? | Best defender? | Best playmaker? | Funniest rookie? | Toughest adjustment to NBA? | Favorite player in NBA?
PAST ROOKIE SURVEYS
Pick A Card: Kris Dunn
Check out the game pick-a-card with Timberwolves rookie Kris Dunn.
2. Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers -- 25.8%
3. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia -- 19.4%
Others receiving votes: DeAndre Bembry, Atlanta; Joel Embiid, Philadelphia; Damian Jones, Golden State; Skal Labissiere, Sacramento; Taurean Prince, Atlanta; Malachi Richardson, Sacramento; Dario Saric, Philadelphia; Pascal Siakam, Toronto
Last year: Jahlil Okafor -- 41.9%
Worth noting: This makes four straight years where the No. 1 pick was not selected by his fellow rookies to win the Kia Rookie of the Year award. Of course, the No. 1 pick has been the Kia Rookie of the Year each of the last two seasons.
All-Access: Simmons vs. Ingram
Listen in as Philadelphia 76ers number 1 pick Ben Simmons duels against Los Angeles Lakers number 2 pick Brandon Ingram during Las Vegas Summer League
2. Kris Dunn, Minnesota -- 16.7%
3. Buddy Hield, New Orleans -- 13.3%
T-4. Dragan Bender, Phoenix -- 6.7%
Jaylen Brown, Boston -- 6.7%
Jamal Murray, Denver -- 6.7%
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia -- 6.7%
Last year: Jahlil Okafor -- 24.1%
Worth noting: Following Jabari Parker in 2014 and Jahlil Okafor in 2015, Ingram is the fourth straight Duke Blue Devil to receive the most votes on this question. There was a time when Dukies were thought to have consistently underwhelming NBA careers.
2. Tyler Ulis (34), Phoenix -- 12.9%
T-3. Malcolm Brogdon (36), Milwaukee -- 6.5%
Jaylen Brown (3), Boston -- 6.5%
Kay Felder (54), Cleveland -- 6.5%
Skal Labissiere (28), Sacramento -- 6.5%
Thon Maker (10), Milwaukee -- 6.5%
Isaiah Whitehead (42), Brooklyn -- 6.5%
Others receiving votes: DeAndre Bembry (21), Atlanta; Marquese Chriss (8), Phoenix; Cheick Diallo (33), New Orleans; Kris Dunn (5), Minnesota; Brice Johnson (25), L.A. Clippers; Damian Jones (30), Golden State; Jake Layman (47), Portland; Timothe Luwawu (24), Philadelphia; Ben Simmons (1), Philadelphia; Stephen Zimmerman (41), Orlando
Last year: Joe Young -- 12.1%
Worth noting: It wouldn't be the first time the Spurs got a quality player outside the Lottery. In fact, Murray is the third Spur -- following DeJuan Blair in 2009 and Kyle Anderson in 2014 -- to receive the most votes here, though the question was phrased as "Which rookie is being most overlooked?" until last year.
Brown Drives and Dunks
Jaylen Brown gets his defender off his feet then drives in and throws down the monster dunk.
2. Brice Johnson, L.A. Clippers -- 16.1%
3. Marquese Chriss, Phoenix -- 9.7%
T-4. Malik Beasley, Denver -- 6.5%
Kay Felder, Cleveland -- 6.5%
Gary Payton II, Houston -- 6.5%
Others receiving votes: Wade Baldwin, Memphis; Cheick Diallo, New Orleans; Jake Layman, Portland; Ben Simmons, Philadelphia; Tyler Ulis, Phoenix
Last year: Justin Anderson -- 27.8%
Worth noting: Brown didn't take part in speed and agility testing at the Draft Combine, where the highest max vertical leap belonged to Felder and the fastest lane agility time belonged to Utah's Joel Bolomboy. Previous top vote-getters for this question include Al Thornton, Terrico White and Tony Mitchell. The No. 3 pick will probably have a longer NBA career than those guys did.
NBA Rooks: Buddy Hield
Sights and sounds courtesy of 6th overall pick Buddy Hield as he's drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans and begins his career at the Las Vegas Summer League.
2. Jamal Murray, Denver -- 20.0%
Others receiving votes: Kris Dunn, Minnesota; Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers; Brice Johnson, L.A. Clippers; Timothe Luwawu, Philadelphia; Malachi Richardson, Sacramento
Last year: Devin Booker -- 58.8%
Worth noting: These rooks respect the guys (Dunn and Hield) who played four years in college. Hield, who shot 46 percent from 3-point range as a senior at Oklahoma, received the most votes for any single question this year and the most votes for this question since Stephen Curry received 79 percent in 2009.
2. Gary Payton II, Houston -- 20.6%
3. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee -- 17.6%
4. Tyler Ulis, Phoenix -- 8.8%
T-5. Jaylen Brown, Boston -- 5.9%
Kay Felder, Cleveland -- 5.9%
Last year: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson -- 23.5%
Worth noting: Dunn was the top vote-getter for five different questions. In the previous seven editions of the survey, the only other players to be the sole top vote-getter for more than two questions were Blake Griffin (3 in 2009) and John Wall (3 in 2010). The guy who finished second here has a legacy to live up to. His dad earned one of the best nicknames in NBA history -- "The Glove" -- for his defense.
The Starters: Dunn's Role In Minnesota?
Kris Dunn is really impressing in Summer League, does that mean the Wolves will move on from Ricky Rubio?
2. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia -- 26.5%
3. Tyler Ulis, Phoenix -- 20.6%
4. Denzel Valentine, Chicago -- 8.8%
5. Kay Felder, Cleveland -- 5.9%
Others receiving votes: Thon Maker, Milwaukee; Dejounte Murray, San Antonio; Dario Saric, Philadelphia; Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers
Last year: D'Angelo Russell -- 40.0%
Worth noting: In total, Dunn received 39 votes (on seven different questions), 11 more than any other rookie. Simmons and Ulis received votes for six of the first eight questions, tying for second for the "Mr. Versatility" award.
T-2. Diamond Stone, L.A. Clippers -- 12.1%
Denzel Valentine, Chicago -- 12.1%
T-4. Brice Johnson, L.A. Clippers -- 6.1%
Taurean Prince, Atlanta -- 6.1%
Ivica Zubac, L.A. Lakers -- 6.1%
Others receiving votes: Malik Beasley, Denver; Jaylen Brown, Boston; Cheick Diallo, New Orleans; Henry Ellenson, Detroit; Kay Felder, Cleveland; Buddy Hield, New Orleans; Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers; Damian Jones, Golden State; Timothe Luwawu, Philadelphia; Thon Maker, Milwaukee; Chinanu Onuaku, Houston; Ben Simmons, Philadelphia; Tyler Ulis, Phoenix; Stephen Zimmerman, Orlando
Last year: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson -- 44.3%
Worth noting: There are a lot of funny guys in this rookie class and that's with no votes for Embiid, who was the top vote-getter in 2014. Nobody has dominated this question more than DeMarcus Cousins, who received 45 percent of the votes in 2010.
Draft Review: Breaking Down Ben Simmons
Avery Johnson and Steve Smith break down Ben Simmons and discuss how he will need to adjust his game for the NBA.
2. Physicality (size and strength of opponents) -- 21.2%
3. Lifestyle & time management -- 18.2%
4. Length of season -- 6.1%
Also receiving votes: 3-point distance, Defense, Playing time, Mental focus, Travel
Last year: Speed or pace of the game -- 38.6%
Worth noting: A couple of guys answered "the down time" and "being on my own," both filed under "Lifestyle and time management." Make smart decisions, fellas.
Behind the Scenes with Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant arrives in the Bay Area and partakes in an interview on the way to the Warriors' announcement of his signing.
T-2. Carmelo Anthony, New York -- 9.4%
LeBron James, Cleveland -- 9.4%
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City -- 9.4%
T-5. LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio -- 6.3%
Kobe Bryant (retired) -- 6.3%
Paul George, Indiana -- 6.3%
Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers -- 6.3%
T-9. Kevin Garnett, Minnesota -- 4.7%
Last year: Kevin Durant -- 21.2%
Worth noting: KD joining the Warriors apparently didn't turn off the rookies. In fact, this is the third straight year that he was named the new guys' favorite player and he received a greater percentage of the vote this year than he did in 2014 (25.0 percent) or 2015 (21.2 percent).
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