In what seems equal parts peer evaluation and popularity contest, the results of NBA.com’s annual Rookie Survey can range from predictable to flat out bizarre.
This is a questionnaire which asks the league’s freshmen for their thoughts on who will win Rookie of the Year and who might have the best NBA career, but also prioritizes ’funniest rookie’ among the few questions to make the cut, so that should sort of give you an indication in terms of the weight here.
Nonetheless, this year’s edition of the survey should be of interest for Raptors fans with three rookies on the roster and all of Terrence Ross, Quincy Acy and Jonas Valanciunas were notable among the survey results.
Acy is the Raptor who probably fared best — tying OKC’s Perry Jones to win the “Most Athletic” category and receiving votes for “Best Defender” and “Most Overlooked”. Not bad for the senior out of Baylor, who was among the second-round standouts on the questionnaire.
Ross may have surprised a few people as the eighth overall selection on draft night, but his peers clearly think highly of him. The swingman out of the University of Washington was viewed as the third-most athletic rookie, tied for fifth in the “Best Shooter” category and also received consideration for “Most Overlooked”.
Then there’s Jonas Valanciunas, who doesn’t appear anywhere among responses. This seems odd given the amount of media attention he’s received of late, but may not be all that surprising. Valanciunas is one of few rookies this season drafted in 2011 and one that has played his entire career to date overseas, so there’s possibly a lack of familiarity at play among a draft class that’s dominated by NCAA prospects. Factor in the survey doesn’t allow for current teammates to vote for one another and the absence of Valanciunas’ name starts to make a little more sense.
Either way, we’ll assume the big guy won’t lose too much sleep over these results as he prepares for his much-anticipated NBA debut.