The NBA games are already in full swing, so it’s time to start looking at the Rookie entries and deliberating who will earn the Rookie of the Year award. Every new player in the games will be trying to prove themselves. This isn’t just because of the award dangling above their heads. It’s also to show their team that the right choice was made.
These games will put a lot of pressure on these fresh-faced players, but as you can tell, some are already starting to show their worth.
1) Scottie Barnes – Toronto Raptors
Although the Toronto Raptors aren’t doing well this season so far, their new player Scottie Barnes is holding them together. Just by looking at Fanduel.com’s NBA betting odds, you can see that the Raptors are considered a type of underdog at the moment. So with Toronto not doing well, it can be easy for fans to ignore the wonderful performance by Barnes. This rookie player is holding down his team, with a 15.1 points per game average and 8.0 rebounds too.
Barnes’ abilities are sharpening as well. If you were to look at his last four games alone, you’d see his averages climbing to 16.3 points per game and 9.0 rebounds. Barnes is the Raptors’ only saving grace at the moment, and that is more than enough to put him in line for a Rookie of the Year contending spot.
2) Evan Mobley – Cleveland Cavaliers
Even though Evan Mobley started this season with an injury to his elbow, the delay in play hasn’t slowed down his momentum. After a sprain to his right elbow, the Cleveland Cavaliers benched their rookie star to help him heal, and we can safely say that they made the right decision. Mobley only missed 4 games in total, but his stats are still riding high.
Averaging 14 points per game, Mobley is still managing to hold his own. His 8.1 rebounds per game are also something to be watched. If Mobley can stay away from injury for the rest of the season, he might even overtake Barnes in his quest for the title.
3) Cade Cunningham – Detroit Pistons
A couple of months ago, Cunningham would have been most bettors’ top pick for the Rookie of the Year award, but the pressure seems to have reached this fine player. During the beginning of the season, Cunningham wasn’t showing off the amazing skills that everyone saw in his college days. This was a massive disappointment to the Pistons. It got to the point where many people dismissed this player as a one-shot-wander.
But as the season continues and fewer people have been watching the lad, Cunningham has been able to gear up on rebounds and even produce an average of 14.9 points per average. Admittedly, Cunningham’s shooting score leaves much to be desired as only 38% of his attempts land, but he is climbing back up the ladder to success.
4) Alperen Sengun – Houston Rockets
So far, Sengun hasn’t been on the court for a long time. He has only played for around 18 minutes per game. However, whenever this Turkish man enters the court, he lights up the game and boosts the Rocket’s scores. Just looking at his stats alone, you might think that his 8.6 point per game average means that he isn’t a player to be concerned about. But remember that tiny amount of time he has spent on the court. Instead, focus on Sengun’s shooting average, which is an impressive 83%.
Sengun has proven himself to be a solid player and reliable teammate, which could be perfect for the Rookie of the Year award.
5) Josh Giddey – Oklahoma City Thunder
Josh Giddey has proven himself to be an amazing all-around player. This new kid on the block has even shown that he could become one of the greats if the fates continue on their path. Giddey has become the third-youngest player to catch 100 rebounds and create 100 assists during his first 20 games with the NBA. The two people who beat him were both LeBron James and LaMelo Ball.
This alone could be a tell-tale sign that Giddey is on the road to greatness, but only time can tell if this is just a coincidence. Ignoring the signs of history repeating itself, Giddey has created 10.4 points per game this season along with 6.8 rebounds per game. These stats are steady enough to be considered for the Rookie awards alone, but with the fates telling their story, too, we could expect more before the season is up!
6) Chris Duarte – Indiana Pacers
Duarte is another rookie that started with a ton of promise, but his game weakened as the season went on. Chris began with a bang and created an average of 15 points per game, but after November, that average score dipped down to 7.8 per game.
The dip was so bad that Duarte was benched! We all thought that was the end for this rookie, but after rejoining the squad, his numbers are starting to reach a higher score again, with an impressive 13.1 points per game average!