NBA Award Watch: 2021 Rookie of the Year | CLOSING

The 2020-21 NBA season is about a third of the way as we move into February. At this point in the season, there have been quite a few rookies who have performed at levels above their peers.

Last season, Ja Morant won the NBA Rookie of the Award for his amazing rookie season. While he and the 2019 rookie class had a ton of talent, this new class in 2020 has had a huge impact on their respective teams this season. With a unique mix of guards, wings and big ones coming out of the 2020 NBA Draft, it’s been a wide open race so far.

A third of the 2020-21 season, we’ve broken down our top five Rookie of the Year candidates.

LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)

No. 3 choice – 14.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.5 SPG

Ball has been off the bench for most of the season, but he was a quality producer when given his chances. Ball shows himself to be a consistent triple-double player and is an above average rebounder for a guard as well as an excellent passer.

Once he became a starter on the team, his grades only got better, making him look like arguably the best player in his class. With his defensive height, Ball also leads the Hornets in steals per match.

Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)

No. 1 Choice – 14.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.7 SPG, .316 3P%

Edwards has spent most of his time as a spark plug scorer this season and has shown just how high his attacking ceiling is. While his shot splits weren’t great, some of the moves he showed were impressive.

If he keeps getting more time, there’s no reason why he couldn’t score the most points from a rookie this season. As he adjusts to the professional pace of play, his efficiency should increase.

Tyrese Haliburton (Sacramento Kings)

No. 12 Pick – 12.5 PPG, 5.3 APG, 3.6 RPG, .452 3P%

While on tour night it looked like the Kings might have gotten a bargain at Haliburton at number 12, he has proved it with his high production level. While he doesn’t have the most exciting playing style, he gets the job done in every way possible.

When it comes to stuffing the stat sheet, Haliburton is by far the best rookie. He has shown that he can do anything in both offense and defense and plays well beyond his years from an IQ standpoint.

Immanuel Quickley (New York Knicks)

No. 25 Pick – 12.4 PPG, 2.6 APG, .942 FT%, .370 3P%

The Knicks got an absolute bargain at Quickley late in the first round and may have gotten their point guard from the future. With one of the purest floaters in the entire NBA, he’s been tough to guard all season.

Quickley has also been exceptionally efficient, both from the free-throw line and outside the arc. He was a key part of New York’s solid start to the 2020-2021 season.

James Wiseman (Golden State Warriors)

No. 2 Choice – 12.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.3 BPG, .409 3P%

Many were skeptical about setting up a center with the modern NBA style of play this early in the design, but the Warriors should be happy with their selection in Wiseman. Although he was recently benched, flashes have shown that he is great in this league down the road.

While he’s sized to dominate in the paint and pull down on rebounds, Wiseman has also shown his shooting touch and ability to run across the floor. Expect Wiseman to continue to improve as the season progresses and eventually be among the best in this beginner class.


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