NBA Rookie of the Year Rankings: Why Cavaliers’ Evan Mobley Has a Grip on Mid-Season Awards

We’ve reached the midpoint of the 2021-22 NBA season, so it’s only right to register for the Rookie of the Year race to see who our top 5 contenders are. This rookie group is filled with promising talent from around the world, and with COVID ramping up across the league, we could see more freshmen shine in bigger roles. Players like Omer Yurtseven, Duane Washington Jr. and Cam Thomas both made the most of the extra minutes in their teams while key players were sidelined.

While this year’s Rookie of the Year rankings will only focus on the top five players right now, there are a few who just slipped off this list who still deserve attention. Houston Rockets rookie Alperen Sengun, and Jalen Green both have impressed this season, with the latter showing his All-Star potential as the season goes on. Chris Duarte continue to be a steady presence for Pacers at both ends of the floor, and Jalen suggested showed improvement in Orlando.

Moving on to the top five rookie group halfway through, these boys have stood out from the rest of their peers, and will be finalists for Rookie of the Year at the end of the season.

You pop any Thunder game and you’ll most likely leave thinking Giddey is the most exciting rookie to watch this season. That’s not a misnomer, by the way, because when this boy throws unseemly passes or absurdly missed passes to the other side of the field, it’s hard not to get hooked on watching him. we play.

Giddey leads all rookies in assists per game (6,3) and ranks third behind Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley in the number of bounces per game (7.3). He’s the latest in a new wave of jumbo guards, who can pass these crazy passes to teammates, while also getting low to scramble for the board.

His shooting efficiency needs some work, as he converts only 40% from the pitch and 29% from the deep, but it’s not like he’s incapable of knocking down shots. Every night he’ll be on pace, finding openings to pull up from the middle range or leaving open on the 3-point arc, he’s not hitting them right now. When that happens, he will be a complete piece of equipment in terms of attack, which will be very interesting for this young Thunder team.

Given that Cunningham started the season with injury, and got off to an incredibly slow start as he made his debut with his lowest overall No 1 score since Anthony Bennet in 2013, he are in great form halfway through the season. The Pistons don’t win the game, but who really thinks they will? Crucially, Cunningham displayed all the traits that made him a top pick in 2021 NBA Drafts, which is important to Detroit’s future.

What’s even better is that Cunningham is positively impacting the Pistons when he’s on the floor. Detroit’s point difference is better plus-4.8 when Cunningham is on the floor than when he’s on the bench, every time Wiping the Glass, as his offensive command helps Detroit. The rookie’s ability to control the defense and see the floor before his perfect cross was one of his biggest highlights throughout the first half of the season.

Like this:

Cunningham’s IQ as a passer is nothing short of outstanding on the charts, and his ability to stay calm when surrounded by defenders is an ability not many rookies have. He attracts so much attention when he has the ball in his hand that leaves you dumbfounded when he makes a pass like this past two defenders for a buck.

There are doubts about Cunningham’s ability to get to the belt with his methodical approach to speed rather than lightning speed – think Luka Doncic – but he has no problem getting there because 26% of the shots come at the rim. His effectiveness once was not to the extent necessary, but that will come with time.

Cunningham also displayed the defensive traits that made him a solid defender in the league. Despite being a 6-foot-6 guard, the previous Oklahoma State product showed a knack for deflecting blows or on our outer rims. He comes in at 83rd out of the flanks by block percentage, and his hands are always active to make steals or just mess up opposing teams.

Don’t let Barnes’ obsession with scoring fool you into believing he’s not one of the best rookies this season. It’s not his fault, but rather speaks to the talent surrounding him in Toronto. Now then Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby has returned to the squad, which means Barnes will make fewer fouls, which has resulted in his scoring average dropping.

But Barnes is on a team built to make it to the knockout stages and he’s a perfect fit for what Toronto is trying to accomplish. He remains a tough defender, capable of defending all five positions, is a terror in transition and can hurt you when needed as a goalscorer, especially especially in mountainous areas.

What do you notice in common about all three of these possessions? Perhaps it’s the fact that none of the teams in those clips are aware of how dangerous Barnes is as an offensive counterattacker. He’s averaged 2.8 goals this season, topping all rookies and 15th in the league as a whole. Barnes’ aggressiveness as a rebounder was the main reason the Raptors placed second in the league in second-chance points (16.8). He absolutely does not stop breaking boards, whether it is his own miss or after a teammate’s miss.

While Toronto’s demand for Barnes to be the first goalscorer has dwindled with the number of players in the starting lineup that could give them a buck, he’s grown significantly as a player. an extra player in the back Fred VanVleet. He moves the ball, makes smart plays and chooses his position as a goalscorer wisely because his place in Toronto’s attacking system is different now than it was back then. early season. But that’s not to say Barnes isn’t capable of excellence for a 20-point game, which would come in handy if the Raptors sneak into the post-season.

Consistency is the word associated with Wagner’s name this season. Whether we’re talking about scoring, breaking the board or always being given the toughest defensive task, Magic asked a lot of their rookies during the first half of the season. The crazy thing is that he delivers whatever Orlando asks of him. Honestly, you could call him the glue of this team on both ends of the floor because he has so much impact on the game. Magic’s point difference is better plus 10.4 when Wagner is on the floor than when he’s sitting, ranked in the 90th percentile in the league, according to CTG.

When you look at how he impacted the game, it’s easy to see why. Despite being a striker, and not having much of the ball in his hand compared to the defenders in his team in Cole Anthony, Jalen Hints and Gary Harris, Wagner has the second most assists on the team. He doesn’t often throw out lightning passes like Giddey and Cunningham, but he does make smart passes that lead to assists.

Wagner’s passing is something that has seen huge improvement throughout the season. Not only does he want to score goals himself, but he also wants to make a match with the highest percentage of scoring across the board. Like this:

In addition to his passing ability, Wagner’s versatility as a goalscorer and defender also shines when you watch him play. He can score with dribbles, move easily without the ball in his hand to leave room for openings and act as a focal point shooter when needed. On defense, here’s a great example of what he delivers at that end of the floor:

Representative Mile Bridge There was no problem using his strength to get under the defenders, but Wagner made it difficult for him. Wagner cuts off Bridges when the front Hornet thinks he has an angle to land another ferocious throw, but he’s tied up by the Magic rookie at the belt instead. It’s just the latest example of Wagner showing how important he is in defence.

Honestly, I don’t think anyone will catch Mobley in the Rookie of the Year race, he’s just as good. Even better, he plays incredibly well on a team that actually wins games where he will impact that outcome at both ends of the ring. He’s easily become a frequently mentioned guy in the future Defensive Player of the Year race, and he’s already among one of the best young defenders in the league. As a 7-legged man, Mobley moves easily in defense, allowing him to break free and protect those in siege and not get killed like most adults usually do.

Just look at the way he denies Kyrie Irving space even as the defender of the Nets goes into the endless pocket of his cunning handle. Even if Irving catches Mobley with a cross-court hit, his absurd length allows him to recover well and have a face-to-face hand with Irving.

Mobley’s ability to change as a defender makes him extremely valuable to what the Cavaliers do at that bottom end, and he played a key role in Cleveland’s defense from the 25th in the game. NBA a season ago, third in the league now.

But while Mobley’s defense has been the standout factor since the start of the season, what really started to come was his versatility in attack. There’s a reason Washington Wizards front Kyle Kuzma compare him to George Gervin after this play:

Mobley moved gracefully and lightly for someone his size, which was absurd. Cleveland is calling his numbers a bit more on attack, and he is acting as both goalscorer and passer. With half a season in the book, Mobley secured the top spot for Rookie of the Year. But that doesn’t mean one of the players mentioned can’t challenge him for that, we’ll just have to wait and see how the second half plays out. NBA Rookie of the Year Rankings: Why Cavaliers’ Evan Mobley Has a Grip on Mid-Season Awards

Charles Jones

Charles Jones is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Charles Jones joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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