With a star-studded NBA draft and the 2021 Summer League in our rear view, it’s high time for a still-way-too-early Rookie Of The Year Community Shootaround! The three top picks this season are widely considered to be the players with brightest long-term futures in the NBA, but that doesn’t preclude someone else from swooping in for 2021/22 Rookie Of The Year award honors.
Top pick Cade Cunningham, selected by the Pistons out of Oklahoma State, is a lead ball-handler with the size of a forward (6’8″), beloved by scouts for his shooting ability and passing acumen.
Long-term, the Rockets are hoping No. 2 selection Jalen Green can replace ex-Houston All-Star James Harden as an All-NBA caliber shooting guard with a versatile offensive portfolio. Green opted to spend his post-high school season with the NBA’s G League Ignite rather than in a collegiate program. How much Green produces during his inaugural NBA season remains an open question, though he at least will see plenty of looks for a presumably lottery-bound Houston team.
Though the Cavaliers frontcourt is crowded between $100MM man Jarrett Allen, pricey former All-Star Kevin Love (owed $60.2MM over the next two seasons), and new addition Lauri Markkanen (signed to a four-year, $67MM deal), exciting USC big man Evan Mobley, the third pick in the draft, is a good bet to get major rotation minutes.
The top five selections were rounded out by two other intriguing prospects this season. 6’8″ FSU forward Scottie Barnes, selected with the No. 4 pick, will join a seasoned Raptors team loaded with forward depth and should have ample time to develop as a bench player.