New era of NBA rookies lead to a race for the Rookie of the Year award
The annual NBA Draft brings in a new generation of players that each wants to make their mark on the league like their idols before them.
Each player gets a unique opportunity depending on the city they get drafted to, and in a cutthroat league like the NBA, it’s all about making the most of those opportunities.
Here are the top three rookies who have taken the league by storm and are the frontrunners to win the Rookie of the Year award.
Giddey was the first international player taken off the board in the 2021 NBA Draft by the Thunder at No. 6 overall.
The Australian-born guard was honored as the Rookie of the Year award in 2021 in Australia’s National Basketball League
Now, Giddey looks to repeat his feat but this time in a more competitive and star-studded association.
The guard is averaging 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 53 games played so far this season.
The Thunder’s offense seems to flow through Giddey as his playmaking ability and tall stature give him the ability to do just about anything on the hardwood.
Giddey set an NBA record for the youngest player to ever record a triple-double in the Thunder’s contest against the Mavericks on Jan. 2, recording 17 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds.
The triple-double machine has recorded three more since then, all in a streak of consecutive games, and is looking like the latest international player to take the NBA by storm.
The 6-foot-11-inch center Mobley was taken No. 3 overall by the Cavaliers in the 2021 NBA Draft.
The USC product is a part of one of the best big-man duos in the NBA as he and Jarrett Allen tower in the paint.
Mobley is averaging 14.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 50 court appearances this season, with the rebounds and blocks statistics being the best among rookies.
The center is also shooting the ball at a 50.3% clip this season.
The Cavalier has been the best rookie big man this year, but considering Giddey’s performance lately, he’ll need a strong finish to the season after the All-Star Break ends.
Yes, Barnes’ appearance in the Clutch Challenge during the Rising Stars game was embarrassing, but don’t let his All-Star debut mask what he’s done this season.
After being drafted No. 4 overall by the Raptors, Barnes has started every game that he’s appeared in this season.
Barnes is averaging 14.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals in the 49 games he’s played this year.
The forward out of Florida State is third among rookies in rebounds, trailing only Giddey and Mobley, and is fifth in points scored.
In terms of impact on the team, Barnes might be at the top as he plays the most minutes per game of any rookie this season, playing an average of 35.4 minutes.
Barnes’ ability to stay healthy and to constantly have an impact on the floor, whether it’s on offense or defense, propels him up the list.
Zach Allen is a second-year majoring in digital & print journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org