The NBA rookie ladder 2021-22 has been as exciting as predicted. While not many rookies have been NBA Rookie of the Year candidates, more than a dozen of them have made a big impact on their teams already.
NBA rookie ladder 2021-22
This Draft class features strong defenders, sharpshooters, and versatile players who can guard and play multiple positions. More than that, it’s not too often that you see players drafted lower or even outside of the lottery taking over the NBA rookie rankings.
Two months into the season, it already looks like some of these youngsters are going to have long and successful careers in the league. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 10 leading candidates to win ROY this season.
10. Cam Thomas
Plenty of people were in awe of how they let the already overpowered Brooklyn Nets get Cameron Thomas. Now, we’re starting to see why.
While he may not win NBA Rookie of the Year, he’s already shown glimpses of outstanding scoring ability. Thomas claims to have beaten Kevin Durant in one-on-one. And while we may never know the truth about that story, he’s still been a bucket. His numbers are trending up as the Nets are undermanned due to Covid-19.
9. Davion Mitchell
Offense wins games but defense wins championships. At least, that’s what coaches like to say. Davion Mitchell has been one of the few bright spots for the Sacramento Kings and the only player on the roster who can actually get a stop.
Mitchell has even thrived next to Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox. While not a big offensive factor, he continues to find ways to impact the game. He could be in for a big breakout if the Kings trade Fox.
8. Jalen Green
Jalen Green was one of the leading candidates to win NBA Rookie of the Year. However, his hamstring injury has him rapidly dropping the NBA rookie ladder 2021-22. He was finally starting to find his shot before suffering that injury and the Houston Rockets won’t rush him back into action.
Green has the upside to be one of the league’s leading scorers in no time, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s back out there getting buckets.
7. Chris Duarte
Chris Duarte isn’t your average rookie, yet he continues to climb the NBA rookie rankings. He’s been one of the few bucket-getters for the sluggish Indiana Pacers, showcasing his sharpshooting ability night in and night out.
He’s a rare case that could make an All-NBA rookie team at 24 years old. But hey, it’s never too late when you’re good enough.
6. Alperen Sengun
Now, he’s finally starting to blossom as one of the most intriguing and exciting prospects in the league. He has incredible ball-handling and playmaking skills. He can score from all three levels and is a better rim protector than people credit him for. Sengun drew contrasting takes from scouts but the talent seems undeniable.
5. Josh Giddey
Not many people expected to see Josh Giddey so high on the NBA rookie ladder 2021-22. Scouts claimed that Giddey was raw and that he’d need a couple of years before being able to make a true impact on the court.
That hasn’t been the case, as he’s leading all rookies in assists.
While not an efficient shooter, he’s made great strides as a team defender as well, so it seems like he wasn’t that behind schedule after all.
4. Franz Wagner
Jalen Suggs drew most of the attention and the praise during Draft night. Nonetheless, it’s the other rookie who’s been lighting it up for the Orlando Magic.
He posted back-to-back 20-point games against the Lakers and Clippers and has vastly improved as a passer as well. The Magic won’t be good for a very, very long time; but Wagner definitely brings a shed of light for their future.
3. Cade Cunningham
Cade Cunningham keeps climbing the NBA rookie ladder 2021-22 at a very fast pace. It took him a while to find his shot and his groove but now that he’s healthy, he’s been filling up the stat sheet night in and night out.
The Detroit Pistons will likely pick in the top-3 again next season but Cunningham has shown superstar potential. He might well finish the season on top of the NBA rookie rankings if he keeps it up.
2. Evan Mobley
Evan Mobley has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s shown that the comparisons with Anthony Davis weren’t that far-fetched at all. He swats shots, owns both sides of the glass, and has shown a sweet scoring touch, even from the perimeter.
Mobley is a big part of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ surprising turnaround. He’s been comfortable sharing the floor with another seven-footer in Jarrett Allen and looks like a generational talent.
1. Scottie Barnes
It wasn’t easy but we have to give Scottie Barnes the NBA Rookie of the Year award for now. Unlike most of the previous ROY winners, Barnes is an already impactful defender that can guard multiple positions.
He’s guarded James Harden and Kevin Durant with great success this season and continues to improve as a scorer. A Kawhi Leonard 2.0, if you will, he’s improved as a three-point shooter and the sky seems to be the limit for him.
[spreaker type=player resource=”show_id=4112709″ width=”100%” height=”200px” theme=”light” playlist=”false” playlist-continuous=”false” chapters-image=”true” episode-image-position=”right” hide-logo=”false” hide-likes=”false” hide-comments=”false” hide-sharing=”false” hide-download=”true”]