NBA Survey: Minnesota Timberwolves will have 3rd-straight Rookie of the Year

Photo: Michael Tipton via Flickr.com

Photo: Michael Tipton via Flickr.com

The Minnesota Timberwolves have it good.

Really good, if you look at the future of the franchise.

After years of finishing in the lottery, they’ve put together a team of youngsters that have as good a chance as any to turn the table on the NBA, even in a competitive Western Conference.

The team’s expected starting five for the 2016-17 season includes Ricky Rubio, Gorgui Dieng, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns. The latter three are under 21 years old and considered rising superstars in the league.

As if that weren’t exciting enough, the Wolves drafted 20-year-old Kris Dunn with the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft to eventually take Rubio’s spot at point guard.

Dunn flew under-the-radar a bit at Providence, but is now getting major recognition particularly from other NBA players in his class.

According to an NBA.com survey of the 2016 rookie class, Dunn will win the KIA Rookie of the Year Award when this year’s campaign ends.

If the rookies’ premonition comes true, Dunn would be the third-straight Rookie of the Year to wear Minnesota’s jersey, following Towns and Wiggins.

Each year’s rookie class is asked to predict which of their classmates will win the prestigious award at the end of the season, but neither Towns nor Wiggins were expected to win before their respective debut seasons began.

Last year’s rookies overwhelmingly predicted Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor would take home the prize. Okafor, who took more than 41 percent of the vote, finished the season averaging 17.5 points and seven boards in 53 games.

Towns, who only got 12.9 percent of the vote, finished the year averaging 18.3 and 10.5, starting all 82 games.

The year prior, Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker led the Rookie of the Year predictions with more than half the vote (52.8 percent). He finished his rookie year with 12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists, playing in only 25 games.

Wiggins, who only got 8.3 percent of the vote, finished his Rookie of the Year campaign averaging 16.9/4.6/2.1, starting all 82 games.

Unfortunately for Dunn, if history means anything, the rookies are wrong.

They haven’t correctly predicted the Rookie of the Year since 2010-11 when Blake Griffin took home the award.

Dunn’s biggest competition for the hardware seems on the surface to be Philadelphia’s No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons and Lakers’ No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram.

Both have the tools to be dynamic and, unlike Dunn, are expected to be starters on their respective teams when the season begins.

The other two players drafted ahead of Dunn were Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Phoenix’s Dragan Bender. Both were highly-touted and could contribute in unique ways for their teams.

The NBA season doesn’t start until the end of October, but every year a rookie seems to take the league by storm.

Will it be Dunn like the rookie class predicts? We will just have to wait and find out.

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