Who Are the Contenders for the Nba Rookie of the Year Award?
Posted: Feb 18, 2021
The season is chugging along, the divisions are taking shape and players have had plenty of time to show off their skills.
So, who are the contenders for the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2021?
Number 5. Immanuel Quickley
There is an argument to be made that Quickley has performed well above what anyone thought he would. It sounds crazy given he was the coaches’ SEC Player of the Year in 2020 but at 25th overall he was considerably further down the draft pecking order than the other names on this list. Despite the fact he's yet to start a game, the Kentucky graduate has been impressing with the Knicks.
His shooting skills have long been part of his arsenal. His 12.4 points per game is proof of that too but it's his all-round play that is catching the eye. What has particularly stood out is his early relationship with Derrick Rose. Will he win rookie of the year? Probably not. The Knicks aren't having the best season; Quickley deserves plenty of plaudits though.
Number 4. James Wiseman
There was always a good chance that Wiseman would form part of the rookie of the year chatter. The center had a disjointed college career but his talent was clear to see, then the Golden State Warriors took him at number two in the draft. Why's that significant? They've had more rookie of the year winners than any other franchise in the NBA.
Wiseman had been getting on well too. He'd been a regular starter until injury ripped him out of the team. A points haul of 12.2 points per game with just over a 50% field goal conversion is pretty solid. He also leads all other rookies in blocks at 1.3 per game. He could be back in the frame as soon as Thursday. The Warriors will hope so; they've lost four of the seven he's missed.
It’s still too soon, but let’s hope Wiseman can soon join this list and become one of the best NBA centers in history: https://edge.twinspires.com/nba/the-best-centers-in-nba-history/
Number 3. Anthony Edwards
Everybody knows that Edwards was the man who arrived with the most hype around him this season; that’s what happens when you’re the number one pick.
It’s easy to look past him in the rookie of the year running though but don’t write him off just yet. The Timberwolves got off and running with two wins from two but since then, it’s been atrocious. They sit rock bottom with the second worst points differential.
As a result, some point the finger at Edwards having expected miracles. He’s not been bad at all; if anything, he’s just found it hard to be consistent. His season averages read as 3.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 14.3 points per game.
Timberwolves fans shouldn’t be concerned about Edwards being good enough because recent performances suggest the Georgia graduate is finding his feet. His last five games have seen him post 5.4 rebounds and a massive step up in points to 18.4; if he keeps that up, the only thing they’ll need to look out for all the trade rumours.
Number 2. Tyrese Haliburton
You cannot deny the impact Halliburton is having during his debut season with the Sacramento Kings. The 12th overall pick is averaging the second most minutes from all the draft class - second only to Isaac Okoro of the struggling Cavs - and he stacks up well across the other stats too.
His points per game of 12.5 sees him third of all rookies with his three pointers of 2.3 is the best. Add to the mix 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals and it's no wonder Luke Walton speaks so highly of his young recruit. If he can deliver more numbers like the 22 points he registered against Memphis at the weekend then he’ll push our number one choice hard over the remainder of the season.
Number 1. LaMelo Ball
To be honest, when thinking of rookie of the year nominees there was one name that stood out from the rest; LaMelo Ball. He arrived in the draft with an enormously high ceiling but with several doubts over his ability to actually deliver the goods. Well, we might only be a few months in but already there will be plenty of ‘experts’ eating their words because Ball is not only a regular for the Hornets but starring for them.
The Point Guard, who was the third overall pick in the draft, has chipped in with respect of scoring with a game average of 14.6 but it’s his ability to create that has made him a critical part of the roster in North Carolina. He leads the team in assists (6.1) and steals (1.5). Based on what we’ve seen so far, he’ll be heading into the post-season too. The Hornets won’t win the Championship but Ball looks good value to walk away with an individual award.
There you have it, the names in the frame for the NBA Rookie of the Year award.
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