There’s exactly one month remaining in the regular season, and the Rookie of the Year race is far from over. Cade Cunningham & Evan Mobley are most likely going to be the two top vote-getters, but you can’t count out Scottie Barnes, Franz Wagner, and Josh Giddey just yet.
- The 2021-22 NBA regular season is now coming to an end, which means I can definitely say that Detroit’s Cade Cunningham (#1 pick), Houston’s Jalen Green (#2 pick), Cleveland’s Evan Mobley (#3 pick), Toronto’s Scottie Barnes (#4 pick), Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey (#6 pick), Golden State’s Jonathan Kuminga (#7 pick), and Orlando’s Franz Wagner (#8 pick) all have the potential to become All Stars one day. To me right now, the other remaining picks in the top ten such as Orlando’s Jalen Suggs (#5 pick), Sacramento’s Davion Mitchell (#9 pick), and Memphis’ Ziaire Williams (#10 pick) look more like winning role players for the future. So yes. I’d say that’s quite the talent by looking at the first ten picks alone, and it doesn’t stop there. Later picks like Indiana’s Chris Duarte (#13 pick), Houston’s Alperen Sengun (#16 pick), New Orleans’ Herb Jones (#35 pick), and Chicago’s Ayo Dosunmu (#38 pick) are already players that can be trusted in big games.
- The 2021 draft also featured a number of guards who can get it going on offense like San Antonio’s Josh Primo (#12 pick), Golden State’s Moses Moody (#14 pick), Washington’s Corey Kispert (#15 pick), Oklahoma City’s Tre Mann (#18 pick) & Aaron Wiggins (#55 pick), Houston’s Josh Christopher (#24 pick), Denver’s Bones Hyland (#26 pick), Brooklyn’s Cam Thomas (#27 pick), Utah’s Jared Butler (#40 pick), Toronto’s Dalano Banton (#46 pick), the LA Clippers’ Brandon Boston Jr. (#51 pick), Indiana’s Duane Washington Jr. (undrafted), New Orleans’ Jose Alvarado (undrafted), and the LA Lakers’ Austin Reaves (undrafted). Defensively, I’d say Primo, Banton, and Reaves are the best defenders of the group I mentioned.
- Quick note: Moody has exploded for 13.6 PPG/62.5% FG/55.0% 3-PT during his last 5 games after starting out the season averaging 3.3 PPG/36.9% FG/30.0% 3-PT in his first 36 contests.
- Notable transactions: Keon Johnson (#21 pick)- Traded from the LA Clippers to Portland Trail Blazers on February 4th. Javonte Smart (undrafted)- Signed a two way contract with the Miami Heat on February 15th. Brandon Williams (undrafted)- Signed a two way contract with the Portland Trail Blazers on February 22nd (12.9 PPG on 44.4% FG in 8 games). Moses Wright (undrafted)- Signed a two way contract with the Dallas Mavericks on February 24th. DJ Stewart (undrafted)- Signed a two way contract with the San Antonio Spurs on March 4th.
- Injury updates: Charlotte’s James Bouknight (#11 pick)- Out with neck injury (13.0 PPG in games where he’s played over 15 minutes). Indiana’s Isaiah Jackson (#22 pick)- Back from right ankle sprain (11.4 PPG/6.3 RPG/2.9 BPG in 7 games since returning). Houston’s Usman Garuba (#23 pick)- Making progress from left wrist surgery. New York’s Quentin Grimes (#25 pick)- Nearing return soon from right patella injury. Oklahoma City’s Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (#32 pick)- Recovering from third metatarsal fracture in right foot. Detroit’s Isaiah Livers (#42 pick)- Back from rehabbing right foot injury.
- Quick note: Josh Giddey missed the Thunder’s last seven games with a hip injury and will be reevaluated in the next week or two. Hopefully he can get back at full strength before the season ends to keep up his case for Rookie of the Year.