October 20, 2021
Rookie of the Year
Corpuel: Cam Thomas
When considering a rookie for ROTY, I consider two factors: Are they good at basketball, and are they going to get enough playing time to warrant consideration?
Thomas absolutely checks the first box. His natural scoring ability was on full display in college, as he averaged 23 points per game in college and looked every bit an NBA scorer. His range is legitimately inside of half court, and his dribble toolbag is a mile deep. Simply put, Cam Thomas is a bucket with arms and legs, and his game should translate nicely from college to the pros.
The second factor is a little dicey, considering that there are two guards ahead of Thomas on the depth chart who are also pretty good at basketball themselves in Kyrie Irving and James Harden. There are also other rookies who, as of now, are projected to get far more playing time than Thomas. However, considering Kyrie and Harden’s injury and off-court history — more so Kyrie with the latter — combined with the lack of on-ball scoring threats behind KD, Kyrie and Harden, Thomas will likely have an increased role in the Brooklyn rotation and more opportunities to show off his scoring prowess. The Nets are also going to be on national television a lot — 38/82 games are on TNT/ESPN/ABC/NBA TV — and the Nets are on the East Coast, so Thomas will get plenty of exposure to the national media.
Kotelanski: Jalen Green
This definitely isn’t a hot-take nor an original one, but there’s no need for novelty. Jalen Green really is that guy. I questioned his ability to score in the NBA considering his slim frame, but he has proved me and many others wrong in his performance in the NBA Summer League and Preseason. Outdueling #1 pick Cade Cunnigham in Summer League, Green proved that he could be one of the best young offensive talents in the league within a matter of months.
Weinstein: Jalen Green
Jalen Green has the sauce. He’s going to immediately become a fan favorite among not only NBA fans, but House of Highlights. Green is representative of what the future of the NBA is going to look like. He’s a freakishly athletic wing who possesses the handles, touch and IQ of a franchise player. He can score in so many different ways, and I’m eager to see him on a Rockets squad that will be doing a lot of losing this season. He’s going to be their primary option on offense, which will give him more chances than probably any other rookie in contention to show why he deserves the award. While his draft class is filled with tough competition and future stars, Jalen Green easily gets my pick.
Rice: Jalen Green
Boy, was it tough to pick a rookie of the year. I could make a legit ROTY case for Cade, Mobley, Barnes, Giddey, Kuminga, Mitchell, Moody and Cam Thomas, just to name some players I love. But at the end of the day, Jalen Green is who I have to pull out with the award. Green’s pure scoring talent is unlike that of not just any other rookie, but almost any other player. He has Bradley Beal-like scoring and Zach Lavine-like explosiveness. I see him coming in and averaging over 20 points per game immediately in Houston.