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
|Cade Cunningham||Detroit Pistons||+250 |
|Scottie Barnes||Toronto Raptors||+250 |
|Evan Mobley||Cleveland Cavaliers||+250 |
|Jalen Green||Houston Rockets||+700 |
|Jalen Suggs||Orlando Magic||+3500 |
|Alperen Sengun||Houston Rockets||+10000 |
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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
The @DetroitPistons get their new star. 🤩
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 30, 2021
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?
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 16, 2021
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.
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.
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 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
|1994, 1989, 1975 |
|5||LA Clippers |
San Diego Clippers
1973, 1974, 1977
|Sacramento Kings |
Kansas City Kings
|4||Washington Wizards |
|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 |
|New York Knicks||1965, 1986, 1988|
|Philadelphia 76ers|| |
1997, 2014, 2018
|Phoenix Suns||1976, 1978, 2003|
|Charlotte Bobcats |
|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
|Orlando Magic||1993, 2001|
|San Antonio Spurs||1990, 1998|
|Toronto Raptors||1996, 1999|
|1||Atlanta Hawks |
|New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets||2006|
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.
- Denver Nuggets
- 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.
(G) Jalen Green – 6-6, 178lb (198cm, 80kg) – Houston Rockets
The best of #2 overall pick Jalen Green at Summer League 🚀 pic.twitter.com/3Ha7jXW9K3
— NBA UK (@NBAUK) September 17, 2021
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
Jalen Suggs did it all in his Summer League debut:
✨ 24 PTS
✨ 9 REB
✨ 3 BLK
✨ 2 STL pic.twitter.com/lQKppClkOk
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 10, 2021
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
EVAN MOBLEY ON HIS HEADTOP 🤯 pic.twitter.com/MBFTfVOOEM
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 29, 2021
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
— NBA (@NBA) August 9, 2021
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
The Scottie Barnes Summer League debut Raptors fans were hoping for. 👀
👉 18 points
👉 10 rebounds
👉 5 assists
👉 2 steals
👉 1 block
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) August 8, 2021
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 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.
Email: [email protected]