This season’s rookie race is one of the closest in years. Typically there are one or two players who separate themselves from the group and they usually play for a lottery-bound team. For OKC Thunder top pick Josh Giddey that would normally bode well for his chances to win Rookie of the Year. Not this season.
Likewise, top draft pick Cade Cunningham is in that group. Cunningham is getting much more opportunity to run the Pistons show, orchestrating the offense often as the primary playmaker and shot taker.
His usage increased with the injury to Jerami Grant. Intentions recent article reviewed where every team stands now that the unofficial trade window opened as of December 15th. And with regard to the Pistons situation, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Wizards were to move on from Grant.
OKC Thunder: Intentions week 8 rookie ladder recognizes definitive top 5
This season Cunningham could end up with substantially more points per game and perform well in all the key categories and still lose Rookie of the Year. Likewise, with the OKC Thunder tanking effort it sort of removes any opportunity for Giddey to ascend to the top rung.
The clear direction this season is many pundits are crediting winning as carrying the most weight. Defense is also factoring this season more than any rookie race in recent memory.
Although Mobley is winning those two categories at the moment it’s worth noting no one has removed Scottie Barnes from the equation. That’s because the Raptors haven’t had their core healthy for the majority of the season. Once they do there could be a shift and if Toronto were to ascend into a playoff berth Barnes’ contributions will carry more weight.
Something of note is while the Cavaliers have played incredibly well, they aren’t necessarily feasting against the top teams. Of the seven other home court seeds, the Cavs are 1-8 although the Raptors haven’t done much better (2-7).
If the votes for RoY occurred today Mobley would be the winner and Barnes would likely be second. Yet, lots can happen between now and the end of the season. The Cavs could go on a losing streak, Cunningham or Giddey could light up the stat sheet with triple-double performances. Let’s just hope they all avoid the injury bug because the race this year is the most exciting in years.