Sexton and Ayton Predicted to be Co-Rookies of the Year

The annual rookie survey results are out, and according to John Schuhmann of NBA.com, it seems that this year’s rookie class believes that both Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Collin Sexton will be co-rookies of the year, as both received 18% of the votes. Ayton was the 1st overall pick in this year’s NBA draft, after averaging 20.1 PPG on 61.2% from the field and 11.6 RPG at the University of Arizona. And as for Sexton, he was the 8th overall pick in this year’s draft after averaging 19.2 PPG on 44.7% from the field, as well as 3.6 APG and 3.8 RPG at the University of Alabama. He also won SEC Freshman of the Year in 2018, leaving his mark on the game at a collegiate level.

Sexton has a lot to prove, but fortunately, being on the Cavaliers without 3-time champion LeBron James will give him a better chance to really take over the team. Cleveland recently resigned 5-time All-Star Kevin Love to a 4-year, $120 million extension with the team, so the chance to make the postseason will hinder on how well rookie Collin Sexton is able to fit into the team’s system and perform at a high-caliber level.

Sexton will head a roster that remains mostly unchanged since LeBron’s exit, as the team made very minor moves during this offseason. Cleveland acquired forward Sam Dekker and focused on resigning key players to their mix. Sexton will likely start alongside J.R. Smith, Rodney Hood (assuming he resigns), Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson. The roster itself is a solid mix of young talent in Dekker, Larry Nance Jr., and Sexton, with seasoned veterans like Smith, George Hill, and Kyle Korver. If Sexton is able to take a leadership position early on, we may not see the Cavs miss any playoff time, despite losing their franchise player.

As for Ayton, he joins a Suns roster in the midst of an 8-year playoff drought. Fortunately, many believe that the addition of Ayton and fellow first-round pick Mikal Bridges will help take this team back to the playoffs.

Ayton put on a performance in the summer league as well, finishing with 14.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, and 1.0 BPG through 4 games. If he is able to develop a jump shot, which was there in college but seemingly disappeared during the summer league, Ayton will become one of the Suns’ key players. He joins a youthful, athletic roster with Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, and Marquese Chriss. The team also added veteran forward Trevor Ariza this summer in hopes that he can pass on his knowledge and experience to these younger players.

With the Suns, their success hinders on how quickly they develop a strong chemistry. The talent is there, but the younger players need to make sure they fill their roles and do whatever it takes to win. If that means taking a backseat role, then so be it.

Only time will tell if Sexton and Ayton will fulfill their draftee’s predictions. But as long as they’re both ready to take a leadership position and are dedicated to winning and improving, then the predictions may very well turn to reality.

My name is Matthew Geyman. I am a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Baltimore Ravens, but really just enjoy watching and playing any sports (although I'm best at golf and basketball). I play electric guitar and my genre of choice (both for listening and playing) is heavy metal. In my free time, I like to read and play video games. My favorite books tend to be those of Greek mythology, although any book that is captivating is certainly going to interest me. As for video games, I delve into a wide spectrum, from sports games to adventure games to racing games. I also have a great passion for American history and enjoy reading primary documents or sources whenever given the opportunity.

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