With the NBA season in its final stretch, there are six rookies to keep an eye on because they have enough talent to become future All-Stars including Cade Cunningham (Detroit Pistons), Josh Giddey (OKC Thunder), Franz Wagner (Orlando Magic), Chris Duarte (Indiana Pacers), Ayo Dosunmu (Chicago Bulls), and Rookie of Year leader Evan Mobley (Cleveland Cavs).
With a quarter of the season remaining, Mobley emerged as the front runner to win the 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year. He’s the betting favorite at -750 odds according to a recent update by DraftKings.
|2022 NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR ODDS
- Evan Mobley -750
- Cade Cunningham +800
- Scottie Barnes +800
- Josh Giddey +1000
- Franz Wagner +2500
- Ayo Dosunmu +6000
- Chris Duarte +10000
Cunningham, the #1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft out of Oklahoma State, is the top rookie in scoring average with 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game. Cunningham is closest competition for Mobley to win Rookie of the Year at +800 odds, but he’s is a long shot at this point.
Cunningham had a slow start to the season after he sprained his ankle in the preseason. He missed several preseason games, so when he made his pro debut, he was slightly behind his peers. It took him a couple of weeks to get the swing of the NBA, but he’s thrived in the second half of the season averaging 17.9 ppg in December and 17.3 ppg in January. The Pistons might be one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, but Cunningham’s performance this season proved to the front office that he was worthy of the top pick in the draft. Now, it’s left to be seen if the Pistons actually try to build a playoff-caliber teams around Cunningham, or just sell him off to the highest bidder in a couple of seasons.
We’ve took a shine to Giddey, who was the #6 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft out of Australia. he 6-foot-8 swingman bypassed the American college route and played prob ball in Australia for a season during his gap year. It seemed like Giddey came out of nowhere because a lot of Americans do not follow the NBL.
Giddey had the opportunity to start and get a lot of playing time with a bad team like the Oklahoma City Thunder. He averages 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game. He set an NBA record with the youngest triple-double in history. Then he made history again as the youngest player to notch back-to-back triple-doubles. Giddey’s only weakness is his 3-point shooting with a 26.3% clip. Once he improves his long-range shot, Giddey had the chance to become a legit All-Star.
Mobley impressed everyone early in his rookie campaign with his basketball IQ, which charts more like a veteran than a 20-year old. Even after missing a couple of weeks with an elbow injury, Mobley pretty much locked up the Rookie of the Year. He averages 14.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game for the upstart Cleveland Cavs. Mobley has drawn comparisons to Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett, which is pretty impressive considering those were superstars.
If the Wagner name sounds familiar, it’s because the rookie from Germany has an older brother in the NBA. Franz is the younger brother of Mo Wagner, and the two Germans both played at Michigan before heading to the NBA. Mo Wagner signed a deal to play with the Orlando Magic after they selected Franz with the #8 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The big brother wanted to watch out for this little brother, but Franz didn’t need any assistance. The youngest Wagner earned a starting position and he has not squandered the opportunity averaging 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. Sure it’s a lazy comparison to link any German-born player to Dirk Nowitzki, but Wanger is deserving of the nod.
The Indiana Pacers decided to trade Caris LeVert because rookie Chris Duarte has played great with the team. Durate is the oldest rookie in this year’s class at age 24, but he had a long road from the Dominican Republic to the NBA. He spent two seasons with the Oregon Ducks, where he honed his shooting skills. Duarte averages 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game this season, while shooting 36.4% from 3-point range. He began the season off the bench, but has since earned a promotion as the starting shooting guard.
Sometimes, it’s better for young players to stay in school another season. In the case of Ayo Dosunmu, he could’ve left Illinois after his sophomore season, but he returned to school for a junior season and worked on his ball handling, shooting, and defense. He lucked out when his hometown Chicago Bulls drafted him the second round in the 2021 NBA Draft.
He spent the first half of the season coming off the bench, but he’s started 21 games in the second half due to injuries and teammates out with COVID-19. He’s been a valuable replacement for Billy Donovan after they lost Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso to injuries. Dosunmu averages 8.1 points, 3.1 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per games with the Bulls this season. However, in February Dosunmu averaged 11.0 points, 74 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game.