Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant favorite players of 2015 rookies despite injuries

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant had injury-marred seasons to forget in 2014-15, but this year's rookie class still counts the stars of theOklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakersas its favorite players.

Durant, at 21.2 percent, won the vote, edging out Bryant, at 18.2 percent, in an annual survey of rookies conducted by

LeBron James finished third at 15.2 percent to complete a top three that was identical to the choices of the 2014 rookie class. Reigning league MVP and NBA champion Stephen Curry finished tied with Dwyane Wade in fourth, each earning 9.1 percent of the vote.

The voting was conducted at the Panini Rookie Photo Shoot at the New York Knicks' practice facility earlier this month.

In addition to being asked questions about their expectations entering the league, the rookies were asked to evaluate their fellow 2015 draftees.

According to the rookies, No. 3 overall pick Jahlil Okafor is No. 1 when it comes to this year's class; the Philadelphia 76ers center was voted most likely to be named rookie of the year and most likely to have the best career.

Okafor, who was drafted behind Karl-Anthony Townsof theTimberwolvesand D'Angelo Russellof the Lakers, earned 41.9 percent of the vote for rookie of the year predictions. The vote for best overall career was closer, with Okafor, at 24.1 percent, winning by just 6.9 percentage points over Towns, who got 17.2 percent of the vote.

Among the other survey winners, Russell was voted the best playmaker in the draft, andBrooklyn'sRondae Hollis-Jefferson (44.3 percent) was considered the funniest by a wide margin over Charlotte'sFrank Kaminsky (25.7 percent).

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