Luka Doncic has set the basketball world on fire from Day 1. The pre-draft hype he received was defintely wanrranted as he has lived up to the bill. He is averaging over 20 points per game to go along with five dimes.
With the immediate asuccess Doncic has shown thus far, let’s take a look back and rank the best rookie seasons in the last 15 years. Unfortunately, we will be excluding Doncic due to the current season being incomplete.
15) Malcom Brogdon (10.2 PPG, 45% FG, 40% 3P 26.4 MPG, 2016-17 Rookie of the Year)
The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Brogdon with the 36th overall pick back in 2016. That year’s draft class lacked stars, but has now featured many young talents who have been integral parts to their team’s overall success.
particularly star-studded, but has now featured many young talents who have been integral parts to their team’s overall success.
Brogdon averaged just over 10 points per game while shooting 45% from the field and even won the 2016-17 Rookie of the Year over guys like Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown. The Bucks even made the postseason during his rookie campaign, albeit on the back of Giannis Antetokounmpo. By the way, Brogdon was a starter in the playoffs for them.
14) Victor Oladipo (13.8 PPG, 41.9% FG, 32.7% 3P, 31.1 MPG)
While he was beat out for ROY by 76ers’ Michael-Carter Williams, Oladipo showed true promise for the Orlando Magic in 2013. He had highlights galore that year as an explosive guard while averaging just under 14 points per game.
The ROY runner-up started over half of the games that year in Orlando while playing over 31 minutes a game. Neither MCW or Oladipo helped their teams make a postseason run. However, looking back, Oladipo was clearly the better investment as an overall NBA guard.
13) Andrew Wiggins (16.9 PPG, 43.7% FG, 31% 3P, 36.2 MPG, 2014-15 Rookie of the Year)
Wiggins was touted to be one of the best players coming out of college in 2014. That’s why the Cavs took him first overall. That didn’t last long as he was traded due to the Cavs championship aspirations.
Wiggins started all 82 games for the T’Wolves in his rookie year. He averaged over 16 points per game on a shooting clip of 43.7% from the field and 31% from beyond the arc, which would garner him 110 out 113 first-place votes for the 2014-15 ROY award.
12) Jayson Tatum (13.9 PPG, 47.5% FG, 43% 3P, 30.5 MPG)
Even though Ben Simmons won last year’s ROY, many people felt Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell should have won it. Choosing between Mitchell, Tatum, and Simmons was by far the most difficult choice regarding this list, seeing as how all three players were clearly integral pieces for each respective team.
Tatum gets the nod seeing as the 20-year-old from Duke helped lead a Boston Celtics team to one game shy of the NBA Finals, all without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
11) Brandon Roy (16.8 PPG, 45.6% FG, 37.7% 3P, 35.5 MPG, 2006-07 Rookie of the Year)
In Roy’s rookie year, “The Natural” showed us everything, averaging just under 17 points per game while shooting over 45% from the field as well as shooting 37.7% from three.
Roy won the 2006-07 rookie hardware and gave many Portland fans hope that they found their new superstar. However, Injuries derailed Roy’s career.
10) Anthony Davis (13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 51.6% FG, 28.8 MPG)
The two best rookies of the 2012-13 season came down to a point guard in Portland by the name of Damian Lillard and Davis.
While Lillard eventually won the big award, Davis showed flashes of the NBA superstar that he would soon become. In “The Brow’s” rookie campaign, he posted stat lines of 17 points and 15 rebounds, 20 points and 18 rebounds (career-high), as well as having 20 double-doubles that season.
While neither Lillard or Davis made the postseason that year, Davis showed he was the true centerpiece of his franchise.
9) Ben Gordon (15.1 PPG, 41.1% FG, 40.5% 3P, 24.4 MPG)
Many eyebrows may be raising right now seeing Gordon on this list. Yet, he accomplished something that no other player on this list can claim.
Gordon became the first rookie in NBA History to win the 6th Man of the Year Award. Also, he was important to the Chicago Bulls’ turnaround that season as they made the playoffs as a 4th seed after finishing with a 23-59 record the year before.
8) Steph Curry (17.5 PPG, 46.2% FG, 43.7% 3P, 36.2 MPG)
While he is a buzz word around the basketball world, Curry was already showing signs of superstardom back in 2009. The Davidson alum, and son of former NBA player Dell Curry, averaged over 17 points per game his freshman year in the NBA. Curry shot over 43% from three as well as setting a record at that time for most three-pointers made in a season by a rookie.
7) Karl-Anthony Towns (18.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 54.2% FG, 32 MPG, 2015-16 Rookie of the Year)
Despite the drama surrounding Minnesota’s highly-touted big man, KAT’s rookie campaign was one of the best by an NBA big man in quite some time. KAT averaged a double-double his while shooting over 54% from the field, eventually winning the 2015-16 ROY award.
6) Chris Paul (16.1 PPG, 7.8 APG, 43% FG, 36 MPG, 2005-06 Rookie of the Year)
Coming out of Wake Forest, CP3 was hyped up to be one of the best incoming rookies in NBA History. His 2005-06 Rookie of the Year campaign solidified this notion. Paul put up true point guard numbers at the young age of 20-years-old, racking up 16 points and just under eight assists per game.
5) Kyrie Irving (18.5 PPG, 46.9% FG, 39.9% 3P, 30.5 MPG, 2011-12 Rookie of the Year)
The Duke product, Irving, had an incredible rookie year. “Uncle Drew” averaged 18.5 points per contest while averaging over 30 minutes a game for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not to mention, he was shooting 46.9% from the field and 39.9% from three.
During the Rising Stars Challenge—an All-Star event showcasing the top NBA rookies and sophomores—Kyrie had one of best moments. He dropped Brandon Knight with his now world-renowned, ankle-breaking handles.
4) Kevin Durant (20.3 PPG, 43% FG, 28.8% 3P, 34.6 MPG, 2007-08 Rookie of the Year)
Regardless of how you may feel about him, KD showed incredible talent as a rookie out of Texas. Standing just under seven tall, Durant averaged over 20 points a game and shot over 43% from the field, while playing over 34 minutes a game for the then Seattle Supersonics. It was clear the NBA had a new type of superstar forward as KD won ROY.
3) LeBron James (20.9 PPG, 5.9 APG, 5.5 RPG, 41.7% FG, 39.5MPG, 2003-04 Rookie of the Year)
James was arguably one of the most highly touted and hyped up players coming out of high school. The young kid from Akron, Ohio proved those rumors right winning the prestigious rookie award. He averaged over 20 points a game to go along with just under six dimes and over 5 boards. LeBron showed an overall grasp of the game and had one of the most watched and followed rookie seasons in NBA history.
2) Blake Griffin (22.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 50.6% FG, 38 MPG, 2010-11 Rookie of the Year)
Even though Griffin was drafted in 2009 with the number one overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers, the Sooner had to sit out with an injury. Griffin would come back with a vengeance the following year averaging over 22.5 points per game—most by any rookie on this list. By the way, he vacuumed over 12 boards per game while shooting over 50% from the field. He was the first Clipper to win ROY since Terry Cummings when the Clips were back in San Diego in the 80’s.
1) Derrick Rose (16.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 47.5% FG, 37 MPG, 2008-09 Rookie of the Year)
With the revival of Rose’s career, let’s take a look at the best rookie season in the last 15 years. Rose’s rookie year showed constant highlights in the 2008-09 NBA season. He would go on to average 16.8 points per contest as well as dishing out over six assists. He even shot over 47% from the field. Rose even lifted Chicago into the postseason.