While there is no guarantee that there will be a 2011-2012 NBA season due to the current labour situation, there is a hope that both sides will be able to come to some sort of resolution without losing the entire year. If we are so lucky, it will be interesting to see how the rookies respond to the situation. Usually they get to play in the Vegas Summer League and get to know some of their teammates, but this year they will be on their own to stay in shape until the season starts and will be thrown into the fire once the games start up again.
So here is a look at the first year players, the odds of them winning the Rookie of the Year award, and a breakdown of the role that they will have with their new teams. If nothing else, they will still be rookies in 2012.
Jan Vesly – Washington Wizards (10/1)
While he is best known for the kiss that his girlfriend laid on him after his name was announced by David Stern, but Vesly brings a style of game that should translate well to the North American game. He is long and athletic and has drawn outlandish comparisons to Blake Griffin already. He should start over Rashard Lewis, and could fill the box score from day one.
Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers (8/1)
The first overall pick will have to work for playing time in Cleveland. Baron Davis, Ramon Sessions and Daniel Gibson are not exactly the most imposing figures in front of Kyrie, but he will still have to fight at first to get enough time on the court to have an impact. Once Baron gets inevitably injured, we will see the true point guard skills that made Irving the top pick in this years draft.
Jimmer Fredette – Sacramento Kings (6/1)
We all know that Jimmer is a volume shooter, and he will get the chance to play alongside another one in Tyreke Evans. The two of them could form one of the most defensively inept backcourts in the league, but also one of the highest scoring ones. If Tyreke struggles with injuries again this season, Jimmer could be a dark horse ROY candidate, as he will surely not think twice about putting up upwards of twenty shots a game, no matter how many go in.
Enes Kanter – Utah Jazz (12/1)
Despite being arguably one of the most skilled players in this years class, Kanter finds himself in a difficult position in Utah with limited playing time on the horizon as a rookie. Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap all play the same position as Kanter, so it will take either an injury or a trade of one of them for Kanter to get significant run as a rookie. However if he does get a chance to play upwards of twenty minutes a night, he will be able to show off the skills that made him such a high draft pick despite having not played competitive basketball in more than a year.
Bismack Biyombo – Charlotte Bobcats (20/1)
With playing time concerns surrounding so many of the elite rookies, Biyombo is the ultimate long-shot to compete for the top spot. His style of play does not call for plays to be run for him, but he can rebound and block shots with the best of them. He could become a hybrid of Ben Wallace and Serge Ibaka, and should provide the interior defensive presence that the Bobcats have lacked in recent years.
Derrick Williams – Minnesota Timberwolves (9/1)
Another highly touted player without anything resembling a playing time guarantee on his team. Minnesota has a backlog of players at the 3/4 position, with Michael Beasley and Kevin Love eating up most of the time. But Williams has superior athleticism to Beasley, and could force the T-Wolves hand and earn his minutes the hard way. When he gets the chance to play he will surely impress with his size and strength at his position. He is a new age small forward.