In the latest edition of the annual survey amongst National Basketball Association general managers, Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving heads the rookie class in terms of forecasted accolades.
In the survey which was conducted prior to a single game being played, 63 percent of the league’s GM’s said Irving, the first-overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, would bring home the Rookie of the Year award with Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio slotting in second with 18.5 percent of the vote. For good measure, when asked which rookie would be the best player in five years, Irving once again led his pack of peers with 51.9 percent of the vote. Rubio, Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas and Minnesota’s Derrick Williams tied for second, each with 11.1 percent of the vote.
Also receiving votes for the “five years” category was Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson. The fourth-overall pick also tied for fourth with 10.7 percent of the vote amongst the “which rookie is most athletic?” category.
Former Cavaliers assistant coach Mike Malone, currently with the Golden State Warriors, was the winner of Best Assistant Coach in the NBA. With Malone in tow, the Cavaliers made five-consecutive playoff appearances. The Loyola product has long been considered one of the more likely future head coaches within the league.