Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Who will be the best NBA player in five years among rookies?
Steve Aschburner: Ricky Rubio. Kyrie Irving is the safe, logical pick and Derrick Williams seems like the type of player who may be appreciated most by hardcore basketball fans. But I think Rubio has the court vision, the skills, the pass-first sensibility and the charisma to become a star. He’ll certainly get the proper nurturing and training wheels from a Minnesota franchise that can hardly bear to have him fail. Ole, indeed.
Fran Blinebury: Kyrie Irving. It’s a point guard’s world in the NBA today and Irving will have all the opportunity to excel.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Kyrie Irving. Williams is my pick for Rookie of the Year, but Irving will become the centerpiece of whatever progress the Cavaliers hope to make. Not just on the court, either. The No. 1 pick stepped forward as a leader as a freshman on a Duke team with several veterans. That is very promising for the Cavs.
Shaun Powell: With a sharper understanding of how the game is played on this side of the Atlantic and a stronger body, Ricky Rubio does have a long-term upside appeal to him. He’s still young and his outside shot is under construction, and those twin obstacles can be minimized or eliminated. So yes, in five years, with a game made for Broadway, Rubio will look awfully good throwing no-looks in front of Spike Lee as a member of the Knicks.
John Schuhmann: I think it could be Rubio. He’s definitely got weaknesses to address, but his passing is a special gift that will set him apart from other young point guards. Iman Shumpert is my dark horse pick, and I think Jonas Valanciunas, who won’t join the Raptors until next season, could be better than any of this year’s rookies.
Sekou Smith: Folks doubted him foolishly in the weeks leading up to the June draft and they will pay for it for years to come. Because Kemba Walker is going to be the one player in this class that far exceeds expectations and establishes himself as the steal of the 2011 Draft. Walker has the ideal skill set for the position in today’s NBA, where scoring point guards can thrive in most any situation.