With over two-thirds of the NBA season officially complete, the rookies from the 2020 NBA draft are fully comfortable with their role on their teams. There have been some surprises, disappointments and heartbreak.
LaMelo Ball was taking the NBA by storm before his season ending injury. James Wiseman was doing his thing for the Warriors before he too had a season ending injury. Clearly, it’s been a difficult season for rookies.
Since the injuries to Ball and Wiseman, eyes have turned to first overall pick Anthony Edwards. Edwards, who’s having himself a solid season, might now be the runaway frontrunner to win the award.
Is Edwards the clear favorite?
Since Wiseman and Ball got injured, eyes have shifted to Edwards, but he wasn’t the clear first choice.
Ball seemed to be running away with the award until his season ending wrist injury. Ball was balling out in his rookie season too. He came into Charlotte and has resurrected an abysmal franchise. The Hornets are above the .500 mark and hold the sixth seed in the East. Not to mention, since becoming a starter, Ball just made the whole Hornets team better.
There’s a chance Ball can still win ROTY, but the fact that Edwards is still playing helps his odds. What isn’t helping him, however, is that he’s playing for the worst team in the league. The Timberwolves are 14-40, and they just flat-out suck.
One thing that’s working for Edwards is that he’s one of the top rookies in statistical categories. He’s the leading rookie in points per game (17.6), while chipping in a decent number of assists (2.6) and rebounds (4.4) per game.
So, Edwards could be the clear favorite, but according to the NBA’s recent upload of the rookie ladder, there’s some other rookies in close competition.
Trailing Edwards is surprise rookie Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton, guard for the Sacramento Kings, was the 12th pick in the 2020 draft. He wasn’t a highly sought-after recruit coming into the draft, but many teams regret passing on him now.
Haliburton has been a huge boost for the Kings. Give him some time to develop, and Sacramento might have a big three with him, De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. Not to mention, Haliburton is averaging the same minutes per game as Edwards, with less turnovers and more assists per game. Also, the Kings have a better record that the Timberwolves.
Looking to the Future
Edwards is the favorite right now to win rookie of the year, however, it’s only because LaMelo Ball is out for the year.
Don’t forget about Haliburton because he could be a dark horse that could rival Edwards.
One key factor to consider is that just because a player wins rookie of the year, that doesn’t mean they’re destined for greatness in the future. Just look at Malcolm Brogdon, Andrew Wiggins and Michael Carter-Williams. All solid players, but aren’t great like Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving or Ben Simmons, who’re all former winners.
It takes time to develop, and although Edwards may be the favorite now, the future is still uncertain for the rookie class of 2020.
All stats were taken from ESPN.com and basketballreference.com.
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