Watching young talent come through the ranks is one of the best things about following a sport. The NBA has been blessed with star youngsters over the years and 2021 has been no different.
Here we look at five picks for Rookie of the Year in 2021.
Number 5. Jae’Sean Tate
We kick off our five picks for Rookie of the Year with a long shot in Jae’Sean Tate. The Houston Rockets are probably the worst team in the entire league but Tate has emerged as a bright spot. Quite surprising, since Tate was undrafted in 2018. The Ohio-born small forward joined Milwaukee Bucks for the 2018 NBA Summer League, but failed to play for them due to a broken finger.
Next year he moved to Belgium, to play for the Antwerp Giants, before moving continents again to play for the Sydney Kings in the Australian League.
You would think that Tate would never make it back to the US professional leagues and definitely not to the NBA, but Jae’Sean proved us all wrong. He joined Houston Rockets in November 26, 2020, and he has been one of the standouts of the team.
He’s averaging 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and, since February, has a mighty impressive 50% shot conversion from the floor.
Tate has also shown himself to be solid at the other end of the court too; that’s been important for a team that cannot boast anything like the best defensive players in the NBA. If we’re being realistic, Tate probably isn’t going to win this award. He does, however, have the potential to be a top player in the NBA if he continues to develop.
Number 4. Saddiq Bey
We’re note sure anybody was expecting the drafts number 19 pick to put up the sort of numbers he has been. Not only that, but Bey, who is from Charlotte, North Carolina, was actually traded by the team that picked him – the Brooklyn Nets – ending in the Detroit Pistons.
Despite the Nets doing pretty good so far, we can fairly say that the Pistons should be satisfied with the recruit. Bey emerged from nowhere getting a ton of unexpected playing time due to Blake Griffin sitting out and then leaving the Detroit Pistons – being traded to the Nets – early on in the season.
His performances were recognized with the Eastern Conference Player of the Week award back in February and game averages of 15.4 points and 5.8 rebounds are not half bad. Bey arrived to the party slightly late and may not be able to make up enough ground to win the Rookie of the Year honor but he has burst onto the scene to position himself nicely in the top five.
Number 3. Tyrese Haliburton
If Bey wasn’t expected to feature in this conversation, then Tyrese Haliburton was – and he does. Haliburton was the 12th pick on the 2020 NBA draft. He was picked by the Kings and he signed by the team officially on November 27. Tyrese has been having an incredible first season with incredible stats next to his name.
He’s remained in the top three of this race for almost the entire campaign. The Iowa State grad has not only been putting up averages of 12.7 points and 5.3 assists but has impacted games in every area for the Sacramento Kings.
It’s his all-round game that has really brought the watchful eyes of fans and experts alike to him throughout the season.
Unfortunately, there is one stumbling block to him fighting harder for the prize; he recently suffered a knee injury that is expected to sideline him for the rest of the season. If the award was given now, Haliburton deserves to be at three but his absence could see him slip behind the likes of Bey and even Tate.
Number 2. LaMelo Ball
For a long time LaMelo Ball looked a shoo-in for the Rookie of the Year award. Then the a cruel twist of fate struck; on March 20th Ball he went down with a wrist injury and ever since he’s been flipping and flopping with the player we currently rank in top spot.
There is no doubting that Ball is one of the most electric rookies in his draft class though. He has some very big shoes to fill, since he is the son of LaVar Ball and his two older brothers also play in the NBA.
After spells in Lithuania and Australia, LaMelo was the third pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, chosen by the Charlotte Hornets.
He does pretty much everything for the Hornets averaging 16 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game since coming back from that injury that hampered his campaign. With plenty of action still to take place, don’t count Ball out of the race just yet.
Number 1. Anthony Edwards
We’ve just touched on the fact that Ball and another are fighting for the Rookie of the Year award and that other man is Anthony Edwards. He was the number 1 pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves and he has been proving to be worthy of the choice.
Nobody can question that he has done enough to get his name among the top of his class and, if we were to wager on it now, he’d be our pick.
Along with having excellent durability on one of the worst teams in the entire league, Edwards has averaged 23.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. His ceiling is someway off too.
A look at his shooting percentage from the first to the second half of the campaign is proof of his development as he’s found an additional 6%. Who knows, we might be looking at a future candidate to figure among the Top 5 best shooting guards in NBA history. Click here to find out more: https://edge.twinspires.com/nba/the-best-shooting-guards-in-nba-history/
There you have it, five names who should be in the frame for the Rookie of the Year award. Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.