This week NBA.com held their annual Rookie Survey at the Rookie Photo Shoot in New York to see their thoughts on the upcoming season. This year’s group included 36 rookies answering seven questions about their draft class.
For Grizzlies fans, it is interesting to get the perspective of the other players about the young talent brought on to the team. The first poll that jumped out was the question of who was the best defender in the draft class.
One thing to note about this vote is that Jevon Carter wasn’t even in attendance at the photo shoot as he recovers from his recent surgery. That means that the rookie class voted Carter as the best defender despite his absence. The overwhelming margin speaks for itself.
It shows a great deal from his play in college and in Summer League that his peers sees him as a top notch defender already. At West Virginia, he had this same reputation as a tough-nosed defender averaging 3.02 steals per game in his final collegiate season. Grizzlies fans should be excited to see his impact on the court after recovering from his torn ligament. If he can maintain this reputation, Memphis will have a go-to defender to throw at the opposing team’s best backcourt option.
It is also worth mentioning Jaren Jackson Jr. getting 6% of the vote. It has been covered in detail since the draft, but JJJ will be a fantastic rim protector for the Grizzlies and his rookie class has taken note. Averaging 3.0 blocks per game at his one year at Michigan State, Jackson will be a menace down low in the paint contending any shot within his wingspan.
Speaking of Jaren Jackson Jr., the rookies were also asked about which rookie would have the best career.
In true Memphis Grizzlies fashion, Jaren Jackson Jr. was overlooked as someone who could have the best career in this class. He also did not receive any votes for who will be Rookie of the Year. It fits right in to this team because the Grizzlies have been constantly looked over for much of their NBA franchise tenure.
JJJ received at least one vote which is fine and all, but either way, he did not gain the respect from his class long term. This is peculiar to me after his dominance in this year’s Summer League. He was gaining national attention and momentum after showcasing his ability on a much larger stage than in years past. After the first few months of the season, the rookies may want to vote again on this category.