The NBA rookie ladder 2022 continues to get more interesting as the year goes by. Following the trade deadline and some transactions, the young’uns are getting more and more minutes and starting to feel more comfortable in an NBA offense.
Even though some were skeptical at first, the class of 2021 has been one of the most impressive. With some players coming out of the blue to take a top 10 spot in the Rookie of the Year ladder, it seems like this class will give us multiple All-Star players.
But as it usually happens, the ROY race has been dynamic and changing throughout the year. The best rookies this season have been consistently at the top, but it doesn’t seem like their spot is secure for now. Anything can happen before the end of the season.
NBA rookie ladder 2022
The NBA rookie ladder 2022 after the All-Star Game features mostly familiar names. But after some recent outbreaks and given how they’ve performed of late, we find a couple of first-timers in this edition. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best rookies this season.
10. Cam Thomas
Everybody knew that the Brooklyn Nets had landed a steal in Cam Thomas. And even though it took him a while to get his groove, he’s finally getting more time with Kevin Durant out with injury and James Harden shipped out to Philadelphia.
He helped the Nets cap off an epic 24-point comeback at Madison Square Garden and looks like a prolific scorer from all three levels. Thus far, he’s averaging 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game but those numbers will only trend up.
9. Jonathan Kuminga
Golden State Warriors’ forward Jonathan Kuminga makes his first appearance on the NBA rookie ladder 2022. Following a slow start to the season due to injury and some time in the G-League, the Dubs’ first-rounder is finally putting it together.
Subbing in for Draymond Green and even starting, Kuminga has shown flashes of great defense and efficient scoring. With averages of 8 points and 2.8 boards on 51.1% shooting, he’ll only get better as the year goes by, and figures to have a role in the Dubs’ playoff rotation as well.
8. Chris Duarte
No one ever mentioned Chris Duarte and people doubted his ability to make a long-term impact given his age. But the Indiana Pacers rookie has shut down his doubters with intelligent play, great offensive displays and lights-out shooting skills.
While not the youngest, he’s been one of the best rookies this season; posting averages of 13.4 points, 4.1 boards, and 2.2 dimes per game. He’s also shooting nearly 37% from beyond the arc. Clearly, his time in college made him a serviceable, often-improving, team-first kind of contributor.
7. Ayo Dosunmu
The Chicago Bulls didn’t have any first-round picks last year due to the Nikola Vucevic trade so they had to be quite cautious with who they picked. Needless to say, they couldn’t feel any better about what they’re getting from hometown guard Ayo Dosunmu.
Dosunmu has been asked to do some heavy lifting with most of the Bulls out with injury and he’s lived up to the task. With averages of 8.1 points and 3.1 assists on 40% from the three-point range, he’s making his first appearance on the NBA rookie ladder 2022.
6. Jalen Green
Even though he was favored to earn Rookie of the Year honors at the beginning of the year, Jalen Green has been unable to live up to that hype. He’s fallen off in the ROY race because of multiple injuries and inconsistent shooting, but he’s still shown glimpses of historically great scoring ability.
Throughout his first season in the league, the former G-League standout has posted averages of 14.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game on 38.3% shooting. The Houston Rockets are playing for draft picks so they will allow him to roll through his slumps, so he can only get better as the regular season winds down.
5. Franz Wagner
Most Orlando Magic fans raved about Jalen Suggs and for very good reason, as he was one of the top prospects in the nation. Fast-forward to today, and Franz Wagner is the one who’s spent the whole campaign near the top of the NBA rookie ladder 2022.
Wagner has been one of the best rookies this season, serving as the only efficient scoring option on an ever-struggling Magic team. Throughout the year, he’s averaged 15.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game on 46.4% from the floor. He’s the best shooter in his class and has proven able to lead an offense as a primary scorer.
4. Cade Cunningham
The first overall pick is an obvious name among the Rookie of the Year candidates. However, Cade Cunningham still needs to do a little more to jump to the top of the ROY race. When healthy, he’s been nothing short of spectacular and as good as advertised, but the Detroit Pistons have been extremely cautious with him thus far.
Over the season, the Oregon State product has averaged 15.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game but that 39.2% shooting has left a lot to be desired. He can fill up the stat sheet any given night and is only a consistent three-point shot away from being the ultimate menace.
Read more: Best rookie seasons in NBA history
3. Josh Giddey
Back on Draft day, some scouts and experts claimed that Josh Giddey was a couple of years away from cracking a rotation. They pointed out multiple flaws that haven’t showed up to this day. If anything, the Aussie guard continues to climb his way to the top of the Rookie of the Year ladder in 2022 thanks to his playmaking and rebounding skills.
Giddey has become the youngest, second youngest, and third youngest player to record triple-doubles in the league. He’s averaging 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game on 41% shooting. Also, he’s been a much better defender than most of his doubters predicted him to be early in his career.
2. Scottie Barnes
Scottie Barnes is just a treat to watch. He’s ranked near the top of the best rookies of the NBA season in nearly every major category and he looks like a superstar in the making. Barnes’ NBA-ready defense has been quite impactful for the resurging Toronto Raptors and his offense looks far ahead of schedule.
He’s becoming more comfortable as a spot-up shooter and only needs to bulk up a little to be a more consistent finisher around the rim. So far, the rookie out of Florida State is averaging 14.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game on 47% shooting.
1. Evan Mobley
Evan Mobley has been as good as advertised, if not better. He looks like a combination of a young Kevin Garnett and Anthony Davis and has played a major part in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ impressive season. Mobley has all the traits to become a generational defender as he can protect the paint or guard all the way to the perimeter. He’s got a sweet shooting stroke and has been a better scorer than projected early on as well.
Throughout the course of the season, the USC product has shined with averages of 14.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game on 50.3% from the floor. Barring injury, Mobley is sure to be a perennial MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate for many, many years to come.
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