The NBA’s Rookie of the Year race is heating up, and as there are nearly five weeks left in the regular season, now is a good time to revisit the Rookie of the Year ladder.
Here are five rookies that could become the 2022 Rookie of the Year.
1.) Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers
Evan Mobley has been the most talked-about rookie this season, and rightfully so. Mobley and the Cavaliers are having a solid season, and despite losing four of their last five games, there is a good chance they’ll make the playoffs. And Mobley plays a big part in their success.
Mobley averages 14.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 blocks.
In their recent string of losses, Mobley has had three double-doubles. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds against the Atlanta Hawks, 14 points and 11 rebounds against the Washington Wizards and 15 and 10 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Mobley remains the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, but the race is getting close.
2.) Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors
Scottie Barnes is another rookie that’s been in the race from the beginning. He and Mobley have traded the one and two positions, and as the season nears its end, they’ll probably continue the trend.
Barnes averages 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals. Barnes and Mobley’s stats are nearly identical, and with both of their teams exceeding expectations, the Rookie of the Year race gets tighter.
Unlike Mobley (who is considered a two-way player), Barnes came into the league with a reputation for defense. His offensive game is much better than expected (this early), and it’s helped the Raptors succeed.
The race may come down to Mobley and Barnes, but there are other players creeping up on the list.
3.) Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Cade Cunningham was the first pick of the 2021 draft class, and after a rough start, he’s showing what he’s truly capable of.
Cunningham averages 16.2 points (the highest of all rookies this season), 5.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.2 steals. If Cunningham started the season this way, he would have been the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. But Barnes and Mobley’s consistency is what sets them apart.
Cunningham is playing well, despite Detroit’s lackluster season. And if he continues to play this way, the Pistons have a star on their hands.
4.) Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder
Josh Giddey is another player with a bright future. He’s the youngest player to get a triple-double and followed it up with two more the following games.
Giddey averages 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists this season and quietly has been in the Rookie of the Year race for most of the season. Cunningham surpassed him, and as Giddey sits out with a hip injury, there’s a good chance he slips down the list.
5.) Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic
Franz Wagner is another player who’s quietly been in the race. He averages 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Wagner’s been one of the positives for Orlando this season, and his play shows the Magic have someone (along with Jalen Suggs) to build around. So, even if Wagner doesn’t win, he has a great career ahead of him.
The Rookie of the Year race is getting more exciting, and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.