Basketball is by far one of the most universal sports games to ever be played. With such highly dynamic gameplay, league drama, and unmatched athletic prowess, the NBA sits atop the basketball throne unrivaled. Not to mention the financial allure that NBA betting has because like many team-based games, the key to a lucrative wager in the NBA is largely dependent on the stats of the players in each team. We can’t mention NBA players’ stats without dwelling on Rookie stats.
While LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards are most likely to win NBA Rookie of the Year in 2021, numerous names were not even included in lottery picks. For example, point guard Immanuel Quickley, who has been instrumental in the New York Knicks’ revival, or Saddiq Bey, who has developed as a reliable double-digit scorer in Detroit.
Now that the NBA Draft for 2021 is over, let’s look at our early NBA Rookie of the Year rankings for the 2021-22 season.
1. Scottie Barnes, forward, Toronto Raptors
With a 6-foot-8, 225-pound physique and a nearly 7-foot-3 wingspan, the Florida State product was the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. His charisma and charismatic demeanor have already begun to shine (plus Drake and Toronto have already welcomed him in with open arms). In Las Vegas, his versatility as a large man with the ability to play all positions will be fascinating to see. With the fourth overall choice, Toronto surprised everyone by selecting this defensive-minded forward over Jalen Suggs. Despite his perceived reach, Barnes has a good chance of succeeding right away. This will be amplified if Toronto does indeed trade Pascal Siakam this summer. The only issue was Florida State’s lack of scoring last season.
2. Jalen Green, guard, Houston Rockets
Green, like Kuminga, decided to forego college basketball to play in the G-League. What was his response? For the Ignite, the Orlando bubble was nearly perfect. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 20.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per 36 minutes. Against NBA-level competition, he also hit 46% from the field and 37% from long range. Jalen Green, who skipped college to play for the G League Ignite, had the opportunity to play against NBA-caliber opponents. As a result, he was prepared for the NBA competition. Green averaged 17.9 points per game in 15 NBA G League games, demonstrating his exceptional athleticism. The upside for the ultra-confident No. 2 overall choice is enormous. This season, he’ll be paired with talented guard Kevin Porter Jr. in Houston, making for an exciting backcourt. Green will have the opportunity to show the NBA world what to expect this season this week in Las Vegas.
3. Jalen Suggs, guard, Orlando Magic
Dominant. A stud that can be used in both directions. That best describes what we saw from Suggs as a freshman for Gonzaga last season. The former top-seven recruit averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. He was also stopping the opposing team’s top offensive player regularly. Jalen Suggs, the man behind one of the best shots in NCAA tournament history, is perhaps the best all-around player in this class and the most NBA-ready prospect. Suggs has a rare feel for the game, as he demonstrated all year in Spokane as the West Coast Conference Rookie of the Year with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Suggs is a fantastic distributor, which will be a huge help to the Magic, who ranked 28th in the league in assists per game last season. After being drafted, Suggs declared, “The sky’s the limit.” Suggs will compete for the starting point guard position on another youthful club in rebuild mode. In Summer League action, keep an eye out for these dazzling passes from Suggs.
- Chris Duarte, Pacers
Having won the Jerry West Award for a top shooting guard in the country last season, Duarte was reportedly pursued by teams such as the Lakers and Warriors, but he ended up with the Pacers with selection No. 13. He’ll be a rookie at the age of 24, therefore he’ll have more experience than other rookies. He’ll know how to adapt to the NBA and recently hired veteran coach Rick Carlisle after being taught by Dana Altman at Oregon. He’ll most likely be a 3-and-D player who could get directly into the Pacers’ rotation. During the action in Las Vegas, his 3-point shot will be the one to watch.
- Cade Cunningham, Pistons
Cunningham was named the No. 1 overall choice player of the year. He intends to bring his isolation talents and great scoring prowess to the Pistons in the 2021-22 NBA season. The Pistons only made the playoffs two times in the last 11 seasons, and they are in desperate need of a face for the team, which Cunningham is. Cunningham is a scoring machine and a talented defender, but he’s also a leader who knows how to win, which is a great combination for a franchise’s cornerstone. In Detroit, he’s already known as ‘MotorCade,’ and in Las Vegas, he’ll have the opportunity to live up to that moniker with Detroit’s great rookie class from last season.
In the end, all the talent mentioned serves to guarantee one thing, we’re in for an unmatched NBA season. Get your head in the game early this season, and place all the right bets with the in-depth knowledge mentioned. May the NBA odds be ever in your favor.