Pre-season doesn’t even start for another month but already there is plenty of attention on who will be the stars of the season.
Here we look at the new boys as we review the early contenders for the NBA Rookie of the Year award.
Number 5. Scottie Barnes
The Toronto Raptors surprised a lot of people when drafting Scottie Barnes over Jalen Suggs with the fourth overall pick. Barnes isn’t a flashy player but can do everything to a decent level. If that transfers into the NBA then it is something that may end up winning him this award.
In our view, Toronto are a couple of pieces short from contending again; if, however, Barnes can show some decent scoring ability alongside his elite perimeter defense then he could be one of the big pieces they are missing. Team success is important to winning this award and the player and team could help one another out for Barnes to see his name up in lights.
Number 4. Davion Mitchell
Davion Mitchell is a winner; plain and simple. No matter where he ends up, Davion Mitchell carries his team to success. He led Baylor to a national championship and led the Sacramento Kings Summer League team to a championship right after he was drafted.
Mitchell is without a doubt the best defender in the class and has all the tenacity and leadership you want in a guard. He may not get much playing time at the start due to the backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton, De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield but when he does, he will show the world how talented he really is.
From there on out, he’ll be a mainstay and could easily compete for the Rookie of the Year award.
Number 3. Jalen Green
It’s little surprise that the number two overall pick in the draft, Jalen Green, features on our list of the early contenders for the Rookie of the Year award. He comes straight out of the G-League and we expect he will quickly become one of the best offensive players in the game.
In the Houston Rockets he is joining a team that is in desperate need of a quality scorer now that James Harden moved onto the Brooklyn Nets.
In just limited time in the G-League and the Summer League, Green averaged over 20 points per game and shot the ball at a high clip. The Rockets might have found their next Harden; if that’s how things work out, Green will make strides towards the number on spot on this list.
Number 2. Jalen Suggs
Jalen Suggs could end up surprising people in the Rookie of the Year race. He fell down a couple spots to the Orlando Magic despite being rumoured to go in the top three; he may have just found himself a perfect spot to set up camp though.
The Magic have a lot of young talent on their roster but really don’t have a leader to bring it all together. Suggs is going to bring just that. He averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals at Gonzaga last year. Combine those stats with an unmatched leadership quality and this Magic team could take a huge leap. If they are able to do it will set up Suggs perfectly for this award.
Number 1. Cade Cunningham
It isn’t a surprise that Cade Cunningham was selected with the number one overall pick in the recent NBA Draft. The young guard/forward combo can do pretty much everything on the floor at a high level. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists on 40% shooting from behind the arc in just one year in college.
At 6’8 he’ll be far from one of the tallest players in the NBA but he will have the height and length to defend every position; that’s a further string to his bow. With Detroit needing all the help they can get; Cunningham has the perfect opportunity to become a star in just his inaugural season.
There you have it, the early contenders for the NBA Rookie of the Year. Check out how the youngest players in NBA history performer and whether one of these rookies can achieve these records: https://edge.twinspires.com/nba/the-youngest-players-in-nba-history/