2013 NBA Rookie of the Year: Top 5 Candidates

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Lebron James and Kyrie Iving: Two Former NBA Rookie Of The Year Trophy Winners

Lebron James and Kyrie Iving:  Two Former NBA Rookie Of The Year Trophy Winners
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Eddie Gottlieb Trophy is handed out to the NBA Rookie of Year. 120 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada vote at the end of the regular season to decide which rookie wins the trophy.

Last year’s winner, Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving, has gone on to have an outstanding second year in the association. Irving ranked first in scoring, field goal percentage, second in assists and in three point field goal percentage among all first year players. Among all players he was ranked as the forth in forth quarter scoring.

He has added to his trophy collection winning this year three point shoot-out and being voted to the Eastern conference all-star team. He has not only become a building block for the Cavaliers but also on of the top point guards in the association.

Lebron James also won rookie of the year when he was with the Cavaliers. He has gone on to a stellar career with the Miami Heat accepting many awards and even winning the NBA championship. His name is now mentioned as possible best ever.

This year’s crop doesn’t have a James-type of player, but does have a few that could make the type of impression Irving has. The accolade of rookie of the year usually goes to someone on a bad team, and this year is no different. That means Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors isn’t on my list.

The following five players all have had outstanding first year campaigns, but only one really has a chance to win the rookie of the year trophy.

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5. Andrew Nicholson

5. Andrew Nicholson
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Nicholson is the sleeper in this list, and has used the Orlando Magic's injuries to launch himself into the discussion for rookie of the year. He plays a man's game and is the only only on this list to play all four years in college at St. Bonaventure. Drafting him at 19 was a steal for the Magic.

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4. Anthony Davis

4. Anthony Davis
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The pressure of being the first overall draft pick can get to anyone, let alone a 19 year old. The New Orleans Hornets have had a rough year, but Anthony Davis has been a bright spot and the franchise is right to build around him.

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3. Dion Waiters

3. Dion Waiters
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of another rebuilding year. Pairing rookie Dion Waiters with last year's rookie of the year Kyrie Irving in their back court is definitely the fastest way to get back to the top.

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2. Bradley Beal

2. Bradley Beal
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs won his rookie of the year award in 1998 and has gone on to a magnificent career.

It took a little bit of time for Bradley Beal to adjust to life in the NBA with the Washington Wizards, but they hope his career will turn out much like Duncan's. The Florida Gators star has overcome nagging injuries to win two Eastern conference rookie of the month honors. In any other season, he would be favored to win most of the rookie accolades, but not this year.

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1. Damian Lillard

1. Damian Lillard
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is the hands-down favorite to win this year's NBA Rookie of the Year Trophy. He has won every single Western conference rookie of the month honor this season with his 18 points, six assists and three rebounds per game averages. General manager Neil Olshey won't be looking for a point guard for the next ten years.

Shahab Khan is a Basketball and NBA Columnist with Rant Sports focusing on the Toronto Raptors

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