Remember the first five picks of last year’s draft?
1. Suns: Deandre Ayton
2. Kings: Marvin Bagley
3. Hawks (to Mavericks): Luka Doncic
4. Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr.
5. Mavericks (to Hawks): Trae Young
A year later, and those same five players comprise the All-Rookie first team.
Here’s the full voting (first-place votes, second-place votes and voting points in parentheses):
Luka Doncic, DAL (100-0-200)
Trae Young, ATL (100-0-200)
Deandre Ayton, PHO (95-5-195)
Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM (60-39-159)
Marvin Bagley III, SAC (56-44-156)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LAC (40-58-138)
Collin Sexton, CLE (39-54-132)
Landry Shamet, LAC (3-79-85)
Mitchell Robinson, NYK (3-71-77)
Kevin Huerter, ATL (1-43-45)
Also receiving votes: Mikal Bridges, PHO (1-29-31); Kevin Knox, NYK (0-22-22); Josh Okogie, MIN (1-10-12); Jalen Brunson, DAL (0-10-10); Allonzo Trier, NYK (0-10-10); Rodions Kurucs, BRK (0-9-9); Wendell Carter Jr., CHI (0-7-7); Miles Bridges, CHA (1-4-6); Bruce Brown, DET (0-2-2); Harry Giles III, SAC (0-2-2); Mo Bamba, ORL (0-1-1); Aaron Holiday, IND (0-1-1)
This is only the second time the top five picks all made the ensuing All-Rookie first team. The other: 1994-85, when the top five picks were:
1. Rockets: Hakeem Olajuwon
2. Trail Blazers: Sam Bowie
3. Bulls: Michael Jordan
4. Mavericks: Sam Perkins
5. 76ers: Charles Barkley
I don’t think voters erred by favoring bigger-name players this year. I had the same first-team picks.
My only quibble: I would’ve put Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson on the first team over Kevin Huerter and Collin Sexton. Sexton made incredible strides during the season, but focusing on that obscures his awful start in what I think should be a full-season assessment. His box plus-minus (-5.2) is the worst ever for an All-Rookie teamer since Adam Morrison in 2007 (-5.5).
But if Sexton continues on the track he showed within the season, nobody will view him as another bust.
This is an impressive rookie class, led by Doncic. This will be the first of many honors for several of these players.