2022 NBA Rookie of the Year Predictions, Picks, & Betting Odds

  • The 2022 NBA Season projects to have one of the best rookie classes in recent NBA history!
  • Top picks Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs hope to be the fifth straight guard to win the prize.
  • Top pick Cade Cunningham leads incoming rookies as the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award!

With the NBA schedule returning to its usual plan, we’re taking a look into which NBA newcomer will be the most impressive for this coming season. All eyes are on number one overall pick Cade Cunningham to take home the ultimate prize. However stellar players like Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, and Scottie Barnes will certainly be up for consideration.

The NBA Rookie of the Year Award is expected to be presented at the annual NBA Awards show. Presented by the NBA in partnership with Turner Sports, the NBA Awards are held in late June after the NBA Playoffs. The NBA Awards have not occurred for the past two years due to precautions around the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re going to be giving odds and predictions for the 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year Award! A peak into the future of the NBA, these rising talents will be the foundation for the NBA in years to come.

Odds to Win the 2022 Rookie of the Year Award

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Player Team Odds
Cade Cunningham Detroit Pistons +275
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Jalen Green Houston Rockets +300
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Jalen Suggs Orlando Magic +700
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Evan Mobley Cleveland Cavaliers +800
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Alperen Sengun Houston Rockets +1000
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Scottie Barnes Toronto Raptors +1200
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Who is the Favorite to Win Rookie of the Year in 2022?

(G-F) Cade Cunningham – 6-8, 220lb (203cm, 99kg) – USA/Oklahoma State

Season Team Age Games MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P%
20-21 Oklahoma State 19 27 35.4 20.1 6.2 3.5 1.6 0.8 .438 .400


There’s no question as to why Cade Cunningham is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year after the 2022 NBA season. Not only is he a fantastic basketball player, who has shown NBA-level talent since college, but the Pistons are the perfect location for him to begin his NBA career.

The Detroit Pistons were one of the worst teams in the NBA last season, a big reason why they won the first overall pick. Despite solid players like Jerami Grant and Saddiq Bey, they lacked the individual offensive force that Cunningham projects to be.

A do-it-all guard/forward who is more than likely going to be initiating the Pistons offence, Cunningham will have more than enough opportunity to fill the stat sheet. As an all-around contributor, the only questions for Cunningham’s projected season will be about his ability to earn the Pistons victories.

Who Was the 2021 Rookie of the Year?


The winner of the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year award was LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets. The point guard joined Larry Johnson (1992) and Emeka Okafor (2005) as the only Charlotte players to earn the Eddie Gottlieb trophy.

From a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, Ball received 84 first-place votes and collected a total of 465 total points. Second to him was Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, while Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton came third.

Ball posted averages of 15.7 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game and 51 total games played. Ball was drafted third overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, being selected after playing for the Illawara Hawks of the NBL through the 2019-2020 season.

Does the NBA Rookie of the Year Receive A Prize?

The NBA Rookie of the Year receives the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy in recognition of their accomplishment. The trophy is named after the former coach of the Philadelphia Warriors. In terms of cash or bonuses for the Rookie of the Year award, there are none.

Unlike other NBA contracts, rookie-scale contracts have very few built-in bonuses. However, some rookie-scale contracts have built-in rewards for fulfilling certain tasks throughout the season. For example, in 2016 Karl-Anthony Towns earned an additional $50,000 for attending a skills and conditioning program over the summer.

Of course the greatest reward for winning the Rookie of the Year award is the exposure, opportunity for endorsements, and improved broadcast distribution for his team. Having their name etched into NBA history as the best of their class is the true reward.

Is the NBA Rookie of the Year Determined by Fan Vote?

No, NBA fans do not have an impact on who wins the Rookie of the Year award. Unlike All-Star voting, the Rookie of the Year award is entirely voted upon by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters across the United States and Canada.

The voting process for the Rookie of the Year award is split into three sections. First-place votes, second-place votes, and third-place votes. Each is worth five, three, and one point, respectively. The player with the highest points total is named Rookie of the Year.

Has There Ever Been a Unanimous Rookie of the Year?

With such a deep pool of players and various votes available, seeing a unanimous Rookie of the Year winner doesn’t occur often. In the history of the NBA Rookie of the Year award, there have been five unanimous winners.

  • 1983-1984: Ralph Sampson – Houston Rockets
  • 1989-1998: David Robinson – San Antonio Spurs
  • 2010-2011: Blake Griffin – LA Clippers
  • 2012-2013: Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers
  • 2015-2016: Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves

When Will the NBA Rookie of the Year Winner Be Announced?

In 2021, the NBA Rookie of the Year winner was announced on June 16th. This ran differently from previous seasons, as the shortened schedule and social distancing protocols forced the NBA to forego their NBA Awards show.

There is no set date for when the 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year will be named. However, with the NBA schedule seemingly back to normal and the playoff schedule in place, you can expect the Rookie of the Year to be announced at the resumed NBA Awards.

Who Won the First NBA Rookie of the Year Award?

The first-ever winner of the NBA Rookie of the Year Award was Don Meineke in 1953. Meineke was a 6-7 forward/center out of Dayton, who played for the Fort Wayne Pistons. Meineke led the league in personal fouls (334) and disqualifications (26) in his rookie season.

Despite Meineke being named the first-ever NBA Rookie of the Year, the award was unofficially given by various newspapers and media groups from 1948 to 1952.

The first unofficial winner of the Rookie of the Year award was Paul Hoffman, of the Baltimore Bullets in 1948.

Which Position Wins the Most Rookie of the Year Awards?

Position in the NBA has a fluid definition over the course of NBA history. As times have changed, styles have changed. As such, certain players were highlighted in eras where they wouldn’t have been in others. The positional success of players in relation to the Rookie of the Year award greatly represents this.

Guard (27)

Past Winners: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Allen Iverson, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving

Point Guards and Shooting Guards generally have an excellent chance to win the Rookie of the Year award. Not only do they have the opportunity to make a massive tangible impact on their team, depending on their situation, but a guard-heavy focus in today’s NBA has also made them more involved than ever.

Some guards make their name on their traditional success like playmaking and defense – Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, and Chris Paul are fine examples. Other guards are pure scoring threats as soon as they enter the league, like Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Vince Carter.

Forward (30)

Past Winners: Larry Bird, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol

The forward position is likely the most versatile of positions in the NBA. Whether they are traditional interior bruisers who can move over to center, or pseudo-wings who can double as guards, forwards and their impact generally leave a lasting impression.

More traditional, low-post big men found themselves coveted highly throughout the NBA’s history until the mid-2000s. Players like Chris Webber, Tim Duncan, and Pau Gasol found their way to the Rookie of the Year award due to their immediate presence in their team’s gameplan.

Nowadays, you see forwards who can do a little bit of everything. Whether it is playing inside like a big man or running the wings like a guard, their unique size and speed make them difficult matchups. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Larry Bird were some that presented that all-around threat and were locks for Rookie of the Year.

Center (15)

Center is one of the most dominant positions in the NBA but has found itself on a downturn as the league modernizes. Once the key to every NBA team’s offense and defense, today’s NBA centers are much less of a focus. Still, there are some talents that will always find their way to the top.

Some of the best centers of all-time have won the Rookie of the Year award. In fact, 11 of 15 Rookie of the Year award-winning centers found their way to the NBA Hall of Fame. The likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, and David Robinson are counted among the best to ever play.

The most recent center to win the Rookie of the Year award was Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves who broke an 11-year drought for centers looking to claim the title of top rookie.

Who is the Youngest Ever NBA Rookie of the Year Award Winner?

The youngest-ever winner of the NBA Rookie of the Year award actually still plays in the league as of the 2020-2021 season. In 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted LeBron James at 18 years old. He would go on to win the Rookie of the Year award at 19, setting the record for the youngest-ever winner of the Eddie Gottlieb trophy.

James is one of two players drafted out of high school to win Rookie of the Year. The other being Amar’s Stoudemire in 2002.

Who is the Oldest Ever NBA Rookie of the Year Award Winner?

Three players are tied for the record as the oldest Rookie of the Year award winner at 24 years old. Due to commitments with the US Navy, David Robinson made his debut four years after his draft year. Elgin Baylor went on to spend five years in college, after dropping out of school in his senior year of high school. Malcolm Brogdon would also win the award at 24 years old, as he committed to a year of post-graduate education before entering the NBA.

Which NBA Franchises Have Won the Most NBA Rookie of the Year Awards?

Number of Awards Team Years
6 Golden State Warriors

 

San Francisco Warriors

Philadelphia Warriors

1994, 1989, 1975

 

1966

1960, 1958

5 LA Clippers

 

Buffalo Braves

San Diego Clippers

2011

 

1973, 1974, 1977

1983

Sacramento Kings

 

Kansas City Kings

Cincinnati Royals

Rochester Royals

2010

 

1979

1961, 1964

1956

4 Washington Wizards

 

Chicago Packers

Chicago Zephyrs

Baltimore Bullets

 

 

1962

1963

1968, 1969

Portland Trail Blazers 1971, 1972, 2007, 2013
3 Boston Celtics 1957, 1971, 1980
Chicago Bulls 1985, 2000, 2009
Detroit Pistons

 

Fort Wayne Pistons

1967, 1995

 

1953

New York Knicks 1965, 1986, 1988
Philadelphia 76ers  

 

1997, 2014, 2018

Phoenix Suns 1976, 1978, 2003
Charlotte Bobcats

 

Charlotte Hornets

1992

 

2005, 2021

2 Cleveland Cavaliers 2004, 2012
Dallas Mavericks 1995, 2019
Houston Rockets 1984, 2000
Memphis Grizzlies 2002, 2020
Milwaukee Bucks 1970, 2017
Minnesota Timberwolves 2015, 2016
Brooklyn Nets

 

New Jersey Nets

 

 

1982, 1991

Orlando Magic 1993, 2001
San Antonio Spurs 1990, 1998
Toronto Raptors 1996, 1999
1 Atlanta Hawks

 

Milwaukee Hawks

1955
Indiana Pacers 1987
Minneapolis Lakers 1959
New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets 2006
Seattle SuperSonics 2008
Utah Jazz 1981

Which NBA Franchise Has Never Won a Rookie of the Year Award?

There are only two NBA franchises that have failed to produce a Rookie of the Year winner through their history.

  1. Denver Nuggets
  2. Miami Heat

Due to the natural ups and downs of an NBA franchise’s history, it is normal to find teams go through periods of success and failure. It isn’t to say that the Nuggets and the Heat have failed to produce singularly talented rookies, but they haven’t quite been impressive enough to win the vote.

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2022 Rookie of the Year Winner Predictions

The 2022 Rookie of the Year award race projects to be one of the most competitive in recent history. Not only does this year’s draft class boast some of the brightest young talents, but each of the top prospects also own a very unique game.

Cade Cunningham is the top pick and favorite to win the award. However, there are others like Jalen Green, Scottie Barnes, and Jalen Suggs who will make it competitive.

The Contenders

(G) Jalen Green – 6-6, 178lb (198cm, 80kg) – Houston Rockets

Season Team Age Games MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P%
20-21 GLI 18 15 32.0 17.9 4.1 2.8 1.5 0.3 .461 .365


Jalen Green seemed to be the consensus second pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and he went exactly there to the Houston Rockets. An aggressive scorer, Green has the game that excites the voting panel for the Rookie of the Year award.

Green is sure to thrive on the rebuilding Houston Rockets. He can score from anywhere on the court, while also having the handle and athleticism to get to his preferred spots. Likely to be the leading scorer of this rookie class, Green has a great chance of taking home the Rookie of the Year Award.

The biggest challenge for Green entering this season will be how he adapts to the NBA. Not boasting the prototypical NBA body while also having skipped NCAA opportunities, Green faces a gigantic jump in player quality. Should he adjust quickly, Green could quickly overtake Cunningham as the favorite.

(G) Jalen Suggs – 6-4, 205lb (193cm, 92kg) – Orlando Magic

Season Team Age Games MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P%
20-21 Gonzaga 19 30 28.9 14.4 5.3 4.5 1.9 0.3 .503 .337


Jalen Suggs will have an excellent opportunity to win the Rookie of the Year Award. More of an all-around guard than draft-mate Jalen Green, Suggs projects to fill the stat sheet with a more rounded effort.

Rumors around the league suggested that Suggs failed to impress in a number of workouts, resulting in him dropping to fifth overall. However, in the NBA Summer League, he is more than prepared for the upcoming competition.

Suggs’ ability to score, distribute, and defend are key to his Rookie of the Year challenge. Whether or not he can put up the numbers to compensate for what projects to be a weak Orlando Magic team is another question.

(F/C) Evan Mobley – 7-0, 210lb (213cm, 95kg) – Cleveland Cavaliers

Season Team Age Games MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P%
20-21 USC 19 33 33.9 16.4 8.7 2.4 0.8 2.9 .578 .300


Evan Mobley is the top big man prospect of his draft class, justifying his selection third overall. The Cavaliers look to pair Mobley in an ultra-big frontcourt along with Jarrett Allen. While scoring won’t be his strong suit, being the most talented frontcourt player in his draft class will bring on a lot of attention.

Mobley didn’t get as far into the NCAA Tournament as he wanted to, but he projects to make a big impact for the Cavaliers. Owning a slighter frame than your prototypical NBA big man, Mobley has shown that his athleticism and length make him a game changer on the defensive side of the ball.

How Mobley handles the strength of the NBA will directly affect his production. If he can compete against the size of NBA-level competition, Mobley is in a perfect spot to make a run for the Rookie of the Year trophy. Improving Cleveland’s backline will also help them improve their win rate, as scoring is not their issue.

(F) Alperen Sengun – 6-9, 235lb (206cm, 106kg) – Houston Rockets

Season Team Age Games MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P%
20-21 Besiktas 18 29 28.3 19.2 9.4 2.5 1.3 1.7 .646 .190


The Houston Rockets seem to have gotten the steal of the draft when they were able to select Alperen Sengun from Besiktas. A young forward who was named the Turkish League MVP at just 18 years old, Sengun shows great promise as a modern NBA forward.

In his last season with Besiktas, Sengun was unbothered by the increased pressure after winning the Turkish Junior League in 2019. He averaged a near double-double while also collecting a block and steal per game.

Sengun’s Summer League performance is what launched him up many sportsbooks. He showed great composure on offense, a decent touch from three, and he looked undaunted by NBA-level athleticism. Paired with Christian Wood, Sengun could put up some excellent numbers for the Rockets’ frontcourt.

(F) Scottie Barnes – 6-9, 227lb (206cm, 102kg) – Toronto Raptors

Season Team Age Games MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P%
20-21 FSU 19 24 24.8 10.3 4.0 4.1 1.5 0.5 .503 .275


The Toronto Raptors shocked the world when the chose to select 6-9 forward Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. While many believed they would go with Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs, Barnes has shown that he’s more than worthy of the selection and an early spot in the Rookie of the Year race.

Despite coming off the bench for most of his freshman season, Barnes flashed the potential of a future NBA star. An all-around threat on the defensive side of the ball and lacking just shooting on the offensive side, it becomes easy to see why Barnes is in the running for Rookie of the Year.

The biggest hindrance to Barnes’ Rookie of the Year chances is the quality of the players around him. Playing behind established veterans like Siakam, Anunoby, Vanvleet, and Trent Jr., Barnes will usually be the fifth option on the court. His statistical output will likely undervalue his true contributions on the court.

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NBA Rookie of the Year by Year

Here is a list of the NBA Rookie of the Year winners by year:

Year Player Nationality Team Draft Pick Draft Year
2021 LaMelo Ball United States Charlotte Hornets 3rd Overall 2020
2020 Ja Morant United States Memphis Grizzlies 2nd Overall 2019
2019 Luka Doncic Slovenia Dallas Mavericks 3rd Overall 2018
2018 Ben Simmons Australia Philadelphia 76ers 1st Overall 2016
2017 Malcolm Brogdon United States Milwaukee Bucks 36th Overall 2016
2016 Karl-Anthony Towns Dominican Republic Minnesota Timberwolves 1st Overall 2015
2015 Andrew Wiggins Canada Minnesota Timberwolves 1st Overall 2014
2014 Michael Carter-Williams United States Philadelphia 76ers 11th Overall 2013
2013 Damian Lillard United States Portland Trail Blazers 6th Overall 2012
2012 Kyrie Irving United States Cleveland Cavaliers 1st Overall 2011
2011 Blake Griffin United States LA Clippers 1st Overall 2009
2010 Tyreke Evans United States Sacramento Kings 4th Overall 2009
2009 Derrick Rose United States Chicago Bulls 1st Overall 2008
2008 Kevin Durant United States Seattle SuperSonics 2nd Overall 2007
2007 Brandon Roy United States Portland Trail Blazers 6th Overall 2006
2006 Chris Paul United States New Orleans/Oklahoma City Thunder 4th Overall 2005
2005 Emeka Okafor United States Charlotte Bobcats 2nd Overall 2004
2004 LeBron James United States Cleveland Cavaliers 1st Overall 2003
2003 Amar’e Stoudemire United States Phoenix Suns 9th Overall 2002
2002 Pau Gasol Spain Memphis Grizzlies 3rd Overall 2001
2001 Mike Miller United States Orlando Magic 5th Overall 2000
2000 Elton Brand/Steve Francis United States Chicago Bulls/Houston Rockets 1st Overall/2nd Overall 1999
1999 Vince Carter United States Toronto Raptors 5th Overall 1998
1998 Tim Duncan United States San Antonio Spurs 1st Overall 1997
1997 Allen Iverson United States Philadelphia 76ers 1st Overall 1996
1996 Damon Stoudamire United States Toronto Raptors 7th Overall 1995
1995 Grant Hill/Jason Kidd United States Detroit Pistons/Dallas Mavericks 3rd Overall/2nd Overall 1994
1994 Chris Webber United States Golden State Warriors 1st Overall 1993
1993 Shaquille O’Neal United States Orlando Magic 1st Overall 1992
1992 Larry Johnson United States Charlotte Hornets 1st Overall 1991
1991 Derrick Coleman United States New Jersey Nets 1st Overall 1990
1990 David Robinson United States San Antonio Spurs 1st Overall 1987
1989 Mitch Richmond United States Golden State Warriors 5th Overall 1988
1988 Mark Jackson United States New York Knicks 18th Overall 1987
1987 Chuck Person United States Indiana Pacers 4th Overall 1986
1986 Patrick Ewing United States New York Knicks 1st Overall 1985
1985 Michael Jordan United States Chicago Bulls 3rd Overall 1984
1984 Ralph Sampson United States Houston Rockets 1st Overall 1983
1983 Terry Cummings United States San Diego Clippers 2nd Overall 1982
1982 Buck Williams United States New Jersey Nets 3rd Overall 1981
1981 Darrell Griffith United States Utah Jazz 2nd Overall 1980
1980 Larry Bird United States Boston Celtics 6th Overall 1978
1979 Phil Ford United States Kansas City Kings 2nd Overall 1978
1978 Walter Davis United States Phoenix Suns 5th Overall 1977
1977 Adrian Dantley United States Buffalo Braves 6th Overall 1976
1976 Alvan Adams United States Phoenix Suns 4th Overall 1975
1975 Jamaal Wilkes United States Golden State Warriors 11th Overall 1974
1974 Ernie DiGregorio United States Buffalo Braves 3rd Overall 1973
1973 Bob McAdoo United States Buffalo Braves 2nd Overall 1972
1972 Sidney Wicks United States Portland Trail Blazers 2nd Overall 1971
1971 Dave Cowens/Geoff Petrie United States Boston Celtics/Portland Trail Blazers 4th Overall/8th Overall 1970
1970 Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) United States Milwaukee Bucks 1st Overall 1969
1969 Wes Unseld United States Baltimore Bullets 2nd Overall 1968
1968 Earl Monroe United States Baltimore Bullets 2nd Overall 1967
1967 Dave Bing United States Detroit Pistons 2nd Overall 1966
1966 Rick Barry United States San Francisco Warriors 2nd Overall 1965
1965 Willis Reed United States New York Knicks 8th Overall 1964
1964 Jerry Lucas United States Cincinnati Royals Territorial Pick 1962
1963 Terry Dischinger United States Chicago Zephyrs 8th Overall 1962
1962 Walt Bellamy United States Chicago Packers 1st Overall 1961
1961 Oscar Robertson United States Cincinnati Royals 1st Overall/Territorial Pick 1960
1960 Wilt Chamberlain United States Philadelphia Warriors Territorial Pick 1959
1959 Elgin Baylor United States Minneapolis Lakers 1st Overall 1958
1958 Woody Sauldsberry United States Philadelphia Warriors 60th Overall 1957
1957 Tom Heinsohn United States Boston Celtics Territorial Pick 1956
1956 Maurice Stokes United States Rochester Royals 2nd Overall 1955
1955 Bob Pettit United States Milwaukee Hawks 2nd Overall 1954
1954 Ray Felix United States Baltimore Bullets 1st Overall 1953
1953 Don Meineke United States Fort Wayne Pistons 12th Overall 1952

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Christian Jope

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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.

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