One that didn’t surprise is Lauri Markkanen being mentioned in 7 percent of the vote in the category ‘which player will have a breakout season in 2018-2019.’ Markkanen had a historic rookie season, and it’s unfortunate that he’ll have to wait until December to build on it after recently suffering a high grade lateral elbow sprain in practice. The muscle he added during the offseason could create a new dimension to his game manifesting in improvements in his low-post scoring, rebounding, and rim protection.
The other appearance on the NBA GM survey that isn’t super surprising is Wendell Carter Jr. He appeared on the list of ‘which rookie will be the best player in five years (3 percent of the vote) and tied for second in Rookie of the Year predictions (17 percent). He also finished second in the category ‘which rookie is the biggest steal based on where he was selected in the draft’ (tied for third with 10 percent of the vote).
The Rookie of the Year predictions from the NBA GM survey were noteworthy because previous pundits weren’t nearly as high on Carter’s chances at this award. It all comes down to the playing time argument and role argument. Carter Jr. won’t be featured nearly as heavily offensively as guys like Luka Doncic, DeAndre Ayton, etc. next season.
As I noted in a previous article I wrote, since 2000 every Rookie of the Year winner has averaged at least 10 points per game en route to winning the award and only two (Malcolm Brogdon in 2016-2017 and Mike Miller in 2000-2001) have averaged less than 30 minutes per game of playing time. Will Carter Jr. reach either of those benchmarks?
What’s surprising in this survey is the confidence in what the Bulls are doing, as the Bulls were third in ‘most promising young core in the NBA’ behind the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. The Bulls also received votes for most improved team in 2018-2019.
Additionally, they voted the Jabari Parker signing as the second most ‘underrated player acquisition’ of the offseason.