You Decide: Andre Drummond or Jared Sullinger as Distant Favorite for Rookie of The Year

There is no question that Anthony Davis is the favorite to be the 2012-13 Rookie of the Year.

Sports Illustrated goes on to talk about the other possible candidates for No. 1 Rook. Here is a summary:

The Consensus Challenger

Damian Lillard — Portland Trail Blazers — Las Vegas Odds: 5/1
6-foot-3, 195 pounds; age 22
Las Vegas Summer League Stats: 26.5 points, 5.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds in 32.8 minutes per game in four games
Preseason Stats: 17.0 points, 6.0 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 3.6 turnovers in 30.2 minutes per game in five games

Lillard is well positioned to push Davis hard for this honor for three reasons. First, he’s already been named Portland’s starting point guard and will be asked to play a ton of minutes. Second, he can shoot the rock, knocking down 40 percent of his preseason threes while shooting 50 percent overall. Third, he’ll be put in enough pick-and-roll situations with shooters surrounding him that he’s virtually assured of posting a solid assist total. In terms of return on potential investment based on the listed odds, Lillard is the best bet.

The Fringe Contender

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — Charlotte Bobcats — Las Vegas Odds: 9/1
6-foot-7, 232 pounds; age 19
Las Vegas Summer League Stats: 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 4.0 steals in 22.0 minutes per game in 1 game
Preseason Stats: 6.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals in 22.0 minutes per game in five games
Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 pick and the player besides Davis most likely to have a long-term impact in the league, simply doesn’t fit a known profile for winning Rookie of the Year. Kidd-Gilchrist’s game is built on energy, ferocity and creating and then cashing in on turnovers. That, coupled with his shaky shooting percentages, is a perfect formula for being overlooked in this race. 

The Overlooked Long Shot

Andre Drummond — Detroit Pistons – Las Vegas Odds:30/1
6-foot-10, 270 pounds; age 19
Las Vegas Summer League Stats: 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.2 steals in 24.2 minutes per game in five games
Preseason Stats: 9.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks in 17.5 minutes per game in six games
Drummond produced plenty of reasons for doubt after his one season at UConn — his free-throw shooting, foul trouble and questions about his love of the game generally occupying the top spots on that list — Drummond on the outside of this race looking in. But the early returns suggest that he’s the most undervalued player in this class.

S.I. goes on to talk about the expected choice:

Prediction: Anthony Davis

Betting against Davis can prove hazardous to your health. I’ll take him over Lillard in a tight one.

What gets me here is that S.I. has Andre Drummond as a dark horse favorite to win over Jared Sullinger.  The same Andre Drummond whose motor is questioned and whether or not he truly wants to be great.  Boston has no such problem when it comes to Sullinger.  Sully has been praised by Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo and the only person whose opinion matters about other bigs, Kevin Garnett.  They all rave about the rooks high basketball IQ.  

His averages: 26 mn/gm; 56% shooting; 2.5 offensive caroms/gm 4 defensive caroms/gm; 10.9 ppg.

In spite of his perceived back issues, and ground game, his numbers are comparable to Drummond, who is a full seven-foot to Sully’s 6’9’’ frame. Doc Rivers has flirted with the notion of starting him. Sully has a more complete game than Gilchrist, and has a mid-range shot to draw bigger defenders out of the paint. Yet Boston’s rookie is once again dismissed and disrespected by the sports media world.  We will see Sully in the mid-season rookie game and I do believe his name will surface as more of a contender as the season goes on.