NBA Rookie of the Year Candidate Rankings

LaMelo Ball Charlotte Hornets NBA Rookie of the Year Getty Images
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

LaMelo Ball was supposed to be Charlotte’s first NBA Rookie of the Year since Emeka Okafor in 2005 and their third-ever Rookie of the Year (Larry Johnson, 1992). He was supposed to be the fifth-ever unanimous Rookie of the Year, joining the quintet of Ralph Sampson, David Robinson, Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard, and Karl-Anthony Towns.

Instead, LaMelo Ball, who sat atop NBA odds for Rookie of the Year throughout the first half of the season, will miss the entire second half of one of the most impressive rookie seasons of NBA history. A fractured wrist, suffered in last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, will end his season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

While Ball isn’t eliminated from the Rookie of the Year race, his chances have plummeted and opened the door for Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards, and others. Updated NBA Rookie of the Year candidate rankings (also: NBA MVP Rankings and NBA Coach of the Year Rankings):

James Wiseman Rookie of the Year

One year after his selection as the second overall pick in the 1954 NBA Draft, Milwaukee Hawks’ center Bob Pettit won 1955 NBA Rookie of the Year. Fifteen years later, Pettit was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He’s one of 29 former NBA Rookies of the Year in the Hall of Fame, a list most recently expanded last year with Tim Duncan, the 1998 Rookie of the Year. And that doesn’t include several active future Hall of Famers. 

Most Rookies of the Year don’t land in Springfield, Mass., and others wander through pedestrian careers. Most, however, have long, illustrious careers as some of the best players in NBA history. Will LaMelo Ball or another rookie atop Rookie of the Year odds join Pettit, Allen Iverson, and LeBron James as a future Hall of Famer? 

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