The Pistons drafted Luke Kennard out of Duke with the 12th pick for his shooting ability. His draft peers agree that he brings it.
Kennard took 48 percent of the vote for best shooter in this rookie class in the annual NBA.com Rookie Survey. The runner up was Malik Monk with 13 percent and Terrance Ferguson with 11 percent.
Kennard also received votes for the category of which rookie will have the best career, but so did about half of the draft class.
Interestingly, the rookies seemed to think shooting was mighty important for success, even though they apparently didn’t see much of a correlation between those who are currently excellent shooters and long term success. When asked what the most important skill they need to develop, shooting was the top response at 38 percent.
The rookie survey tends to produce some pretty good gaffes - for instance, when they put Jahlil Okafor and Stanley Johnson ahead of Karl-Anthony Towns for their Rookie of the Year prediction in 2015. But they usually are accurate with their best shooter predictions. Past winners include Devin Booker, Buddy Hield, and Doug McDermott.
A few answers raised an eyebrow. Dennis Smith Jr. was voted most likely to win Rookie of the Year despite being the fifth point guard taken in the draft. Smith was electric in the Summer League where he averaged 17 points per game, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Him going one spot after Frank Ntilikina went to the Knicks at pick eight could be a last blow from Phil Jackson that haunts the organization for a while. For what it’s worth, Ntilikina didn’t show up on any of the survey’s responses.
Meanwhile responses for the top draft pick Markelle Fultz were rather underwhelming. He was third in most likely to be Rookie of the Year and only received a few votes for most likely to have the best career, best shooter, or best playmaker.
The Donovan Mitchell Fan Club of DBB got a little more ammunition for their grievances against the Pistons passing on the shooting guard. Mitchell finished fourth for most likely to win Rookie of the Year and was voted as the biggest steal of the draft. He also had votes for most athletic, most likely to have the best career, best shooter, and best defensive player.
But hey, the Pistons desperately needed to add shooting this offseason. Even if these surveys aren’t the most accurate things in the world, it’s at least nice to note that they accomplished that goal to an extent.