The 2021 NBA Draft class was not the most hyped group beyond top prospect Cade Cunningham, but this season saw a number of first-year players play well and make important contributions to their teams.
Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes took home Rookie of the Year honors for his work as a two-way presence in Toronto, edging out Evan Mobley and Cunningham’s production in Cleveland and Detroit respectively. Elsewhere, Herbert Jones became one of the league’s best wing defenders in New Orleans, and plenty of others showed their skills making this year’s All-Rookie team races quite interesting considering the quality production from debutants across the league.
On Wednesday night, the 10 players to earn All-Rookie honors were announced on TNT, with the three finalists for Rookie of the Year headlining the first team, joined by Houston’s Jalen Green and Orlando’s Franz Wagner.
First team: Scottie Barnes, Evan Mobley, Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Franz Wagner
Second team: Ayo Dosunmu, Chris Duarte, Josh Giddey, Bones Hyland, Herbert Jones
The second team features three players who emerged as important rotation pieces for playoff teams in Dosunmu (Chicago), Hyland (Denver), and Jones (New Orleans), with Duarte having a terrific shooting year in Indiana and Giddey emerging as a bright spot in OKC. Jones and Giddey were the two from the second team to also receive first team votes, while the three ROY finalists were all unanimous selections.