Breaking down ROY candidates

Why Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist or Lillard will or will not become top NBA rookie

Updated: August 22, 2012, 12:29 PM ET
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider
Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-GilchristJennifer Pottheiser/Getty ImagesAnthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were drafted No. 1 and 2, and either could be Rookie of the Year.'s Summer Forecast poll of experts recently suggested NBA Rookie of the Year voting will come down to the following three players: the New Orleans Hornets' Anthony Davis, the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard and the Charlotte Bobcats' Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

As individuals, each of these guys had college seasons ranging from good to fantastic last season. They all have significant upside, but will be expected to contribute pretty quickly so none of them should be considered a "project" at all like the Detroit Pistons' Andre Drummond is.

All three guys can play and will put up numbers, as they proved that to some degree during the NBA summer leagues. So how accurate will the Summer Forecast be?

When deliberating on how to vote for an MVP, Rookie of the Year, etc., the play of the individual must be considered in context with the success of his team. If this trio of players all post similar PER scores and overall game productivity, their teams' success will carry more weight, which gives a guy like Lillard an advantage. However, if a player produces far more than any other rookie, then he'll win even if he shines for a horrible team, which is what could happen to Kidd-Gilchrist. Davis is indeed the favorite, but he isn't a lock.