NBA

Who will win 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year?

The 2021 NBA Draft class is one of the most highly rated in recent years, with a host of potential superstars selected in the lottery.

With a mix of players from college basketball, the G League and overseas, this incoming class of rookies has taken different paths to get here, but which player will hit the ground running?

As training camp approaches, our NBA.com Staff give us their early predictions for Rookie of the Year.

BenyamKidane ( @BenyamKidane ): My Rookie of the Year is Jalen Green

He's consistently said he's the best player in the draft class...and I agree.

Green is the purest scorer of the incoming freshmen and when it comes to winning Rookie of the Year, putting points on the board goes a long way.

We got a glimpse of how comfortable he is scoring the ball at the NBA level during Summer League, averaging 20.3 points on 51.4 percent from the field and 52 percent from three and I don't think it will be too long before he establishes himself as the primary option on offence.

A lot of that depends on the usage of John Wall and Kevin Porter Jr., but I expect head coach Stephen Silas to quickly give Green the keys to the offence.

In the last 10 seasons, Luka Doncic is the only player to win Rookie of the Year averaging over 20 points per game and Green has a great chance at being the next.

Yash Matange ( @yashmatange2694 ): I'm going to go with Jalen Suggs .

Obviously, Summer League and the regular season are different beasts but going off his performance in Vegas in the summer, there was no shortage of energy from the high-flying guard. He averaged 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks in two-and-a-half games.

From his shots - outside and inside - to playmaking to defensive energy, Suggs looked like a complete package.

A lot of times, for the first-year players to win Rookie of the Year, it's also about minutes they receive on their team. Going by the Magic's depth chart, Suggs is sure to get the playing time required to make a more all-round impression than any of the other rookies from the 2021 Draft classes, in my opinion.

Kyle Irving ( @KyleIrv_ ): I'm going with Jalen Green .

The 19-year-old is the most prolific scorer in his draft class and as the cornerstone of a rebuilding Houston Rockets team that will certainly cater to their youth, Green will have the entire offence ran through him with an opportunity to put up huge scoring numbers.

Playing against professional competition all last season in the G League will have Green prepared to succeed from Day 1, and we already saw a glimpse of that poise in Summer League, scoring with ease in all three exhibition games.

Benyam already touched on Doncic being the only rookie in the last 10 years to win Rookie of the Year and average over 20.0 points per game, but I believe Green will surpass that benchmark with ease. I don't see why he can't flirt with a scoring average closer to Blake Griffin's 22.5 points per game during his Rookie of the Year season in 2011, or even Allen Iverson's 23.5 points per game during his Rookie of the Year season in 1997.

Those are lofty goals for Green, but he's out to prove he's the best player in this draft class and winning Rookie of the Year will be the first step in doing so.

Gilbert McGregor ( @GMcGregor21 ): I'm a little surprised to be the first to say it, but give me Cade Cunningham.

Everything that was said about Cunningham ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft has held true, evidenced by his impressive showing at the Summer League in Las Vegas. While Green is in a position to put up numbers and Suggs can be the guy right away, I think Cunningham has an opportunity to elevate his Detroit Pistons team to another level with his play.

Led by Cunningham, Detroit has one of the more intriguing young cores in the NBA with Saddiq Bey, Killian Hayes, Frank Jackson, Josh Jackson, Saben Lee and Isiah Stewart. They range in age, but they're young enough to be comfortable with Cunningham running the show.

Then, there's an established veteran in Jerami Grant, who will remain as the Pistons' No. 1 option, taking some of that pressure off of Cunningham.

I can see Cunningham having an impact similar to that of LaMelo Ball last season, which, as we know, resulted in Rookie of the Year hardware. If things shake favourably for the Pistons, they can be a Play-In Tournament team, and Cunningham has a good chance to lead all rookies in assists while putting up impressive scoring and rebounding numbers.

That's Rookie of the Year-calibre.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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