Sometimes, being the first overall pick doesn’t mean much.
The NBA conducted their annual rookie survey, and Simmons wasn’t picked as the best in any category. Instead, Minnesota’s Kris Dunn was showered with love from his classmates and was voted first in three categories: Most Likely to Win Rookie of the Year (29.0 percent of votes); Best Defender (23.5 percent of votes); Best Playmaker (29.4 percent of votes); Funniest Rookie (15.2 percent of votes).
Out of the four that Dunn won, Simmons fell to third on the ROY voting and wasn’t listed on the latter three.
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Dunn, who was selected fifth overall by the Timberwolves, did get his due with being named the best defender, and it’s arguable that he is both the funniest rookie and best playmaker, but him winning the Rookie of the Year is a stretch.
If Dunn were to play ahead of Ricky Rubio–something I’d strongly consider–he’s not in the same position as Simmons where he will have full control of the team. There’s a pecking order, and, despite being a near-elite defender, Dunn still needs to polish his game before he’s given a hefty load on offense.
When you break down his game, he’s phenomenal, and he has ROY-level talent, but the situation he’s in will suffocate him. Minnesota’s super-young core is now complete with Dunn, but he’ll be lucky to be the third option on that team. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are the go-to guys–that’s not debatable–and Zach LaVine is also making progress and is a better offensive player than Dunn, but leaves something to be desired on defense.
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When you look at the situation in Philadelphia with Simmons, he’s their guy. Brett Brown will look for him to get the offense going, whether that’s scoring himself or setting up teammates; Thibs will look at KAT and Wiggins.
Still, Dunn can make a splash by showcasing his decision-making and passing ability as Minnesota runs Wiggins off screens and puts Towns in the pick-and-roll.