Last season saw LaMelo Ball beat out Anthony Edwards for the NBA Rookie of the Year award. One year prior, Ja Morant earned the top individual honor. The moral of this story? Simply because a player is picked No. 1, it doesn’t guarantee him the award.
Now that the 2021-22 season is upon us, it’s time to look at our top-10 NBA Rookie of the Year candidates around the Association.
NBA Rookie of the Year: The top 10
10. Moses Moody, guard, Golden State Warriors (Last week: 10)
The only thing potentially holding Moody back is the presence of stud third-year guard Jordan Poole ahead of him in the rotation. Will he have an opportunity to play enough minutes? Over the course of the preseason, Moody averaged 5.0 points in just over 10 minutes while shooting 46%% from distance. If he’s given a chance to play, the former Arkansas standout will perform at a high level.
9. Chris Duarte, guard, Indiana Pacers (Last week: 9)
This sharpshooter from Oregon finished his final season with the Ducks averaging 17.1 points and 4.6 rebounds on 42% shooting from distance. He should be a tremendous fit under new Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, too. It’s something we saw come to fruition during the preseason with Duarte averaging 13.8 points on 45% shooting from the field. The guard should see enough time to continue appearing in our NBA Rookie of the Year rankings.
8. Davion Mitchell, guard, Sacramento Kings (Last week: 7)
Per 36 last season, Mitchell averaged 15.3 points and 6.0 assists while shooting 45% from distance. The only lingering question here is whether Mitchell will see time initially with Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox already on the Kings’ roster. What we do know is that Mitchell proved his worth during Summer League action, averaging 10.8 points on a resounding 47% shooting from distance.