NBA rookies pick Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum to have best careers, Smith to win ROY

It's always good to have the respect of one's peers, but don't expect this year's NBA rookie survey to predict the future.

Earlier this month NBA.com asked 39 rookies various questions about fellow first-year players and the NBA, and the results were released Tuesday. There were some interesting answers to questions like biggest draft steal ( Donovan Mitchell ), best shooter (Luke Kennard) and best defender (Josh Jackson), but the most revealing questions were about who will win Rookie of the Year and who will have the best NBA career.

Turns out the rookies are high on Dennis Smith Jr., Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum. Here are the results from the survey.

Who will be the 2017-18 Kia Rookie of the Year?

Rank

Player

Team

Vote percentage

1.

Dennis Smith Jr.

Mavericks

25.7 percent

2. 

Lonzo Ball

Los Angeles Lakers

20 percent

3.

Markelle Fultz

Philadelphia 76ers

17.1 percent

T4.

Kyle Kuzma

Lakers

5.7 percent

T4.

Donovan Mitchell

Utah Jazz

5.7 percent

T4.

Ben Simmons

76ers

5.7 percent

Others receiving votes: Dwayne Bacon, Charlotte; Tony Bradley, Utah Utes ; De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento; Josh Jackson, Phoenix; Malik Monk, Charlotte; Jayson Tatum, Boston; Sindarius Thornwell, LA Los Angeles Clippers

Which rookie will have the best career?

Rank

Player

Team

Vote percentage

T1.

Lonzo Ball

Lakers

18.4 percent

T1.

Jayson Tatum

Boston Celtics

18.4 percent

T3. 

Josh Jackson

Phoenix Suns

10.5 percent

T3. 

Dennis Smith Jr.

Mavericks

10.5 percent

5.

De'Aaron Fox

Sacramento Kings

7.9 percent

T6.

Markelle Fultz

76ers

5.3 percent

T6. 

Harry Giles

Kings

5.3 percent

T6. 

Ben Simmons

76ers

5.3 percent

Others receiving votes: Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn; John Collins, Atlanta; Jonathan Isaac, Orlando; Luke Kennard, Detroit; Kyle Kuzma, L.A. Lakers; Donovan Mitchell, Utah; Malik Monk, Charlotte

Smith was phenomenal in the Las Vegas Summer League, posting averages of 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists in six games. He was also voted the most athletic rookie by a wide margin (he reportedly showed off a 48-inch vertical in a Lakers workout earlier this summer), and should get enough opportunity in the Dallas Mavericks backcourt to put up good numbers.

That said, last year's rookies predicted another Summer League standout to win Rookie of the Year: Kris Dunn . In limited playing time with the Minnesota Timberwolves last season, Dunn averaged 3.8 points and 2.4 assists before being traded to the Chicago Bulls in the Jimmy Butler deal. Needless to say, Dunn didn't even receive a vote for Rookie of the Year. In 2015-16 the rookies picked Jahlil Okafor to win the award, and he wound up finishing fifth in the voting.

Maybe Smith shouldn't be that excited.

As for which players will have the best career, Ball and Tatum are safe picks -- skilled players with a high floor who performed well this summer -- but it's curious that No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz received only 5.3 percent of the vote, the same percentage as 20th overall pick Harry Giles. At least Fultz will now have some bulletin board material when he takes on his fellow rookies.

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