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Charles Barkley picks Dennis Smith Jr. and De’Aaron Fox as Rookie of the Year favorites

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley has weighed in on who he thinks will come away with the Rookie of the Year award this season, and he sees the award coming down to a couple of point guards.

However, the Hall of Famer and TNT analyst didn’t pick either Markelle Fultz or current favorite Lonzo Ball, who were the top two picks in the draft. Instead, Barkley went with the Dallas Mavericks’ Dennis Smith Jr. and the Sacramento Kings’ De’Aaron Fox as the top two contenders for the award, per Eddie Sefko of SportsDay.

“I think Dennis Smith is a stud,” Barkley said. “I picked him for Rookie of the Year. I think it’s going to come down to him and De’Aaron Fox [of Sacramento]. I think they’re both terrific.

“I love what the Mavs did drafting him. I had to flip a coin between him and De’Aaron Fox for Rookie of the Year. It could go either way.”

Smith and Fox both played well during summer league, are clearly very talented, and figure to be the long-term point guards for their respective franchises. However, they’re not guaranteed to receive as much usage as Lonzo Ball on the Lakers, which could hamper their chances of winning Rookie of the Year.

Mavericks president Donnie Nelson said last month that Smith must earn the right to start at point guard ahead of Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell. Meanwhile, Fox will face stiff competition from George Hill, whom the Kings signed to a three-year, $57 million deal in free agency this offseason.