The future that the 2020-2021 All-Rookie Team shows off once again delivered with its picks. With several players that were making themselves known as candidates, it caused several challenges for voters to decide who deserved the honors.
LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards were both unanimous picks for the first team. Two of the three Rookie of the Year candidates, Ball and Edwards consistently showed how they were the best of the new players for this past season. Ball lit up the court with the Charlotte Hornets, while Edwards scored point after point for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tyrese Haliburton from the Sacramento Kings was the third Rookie of the Year candidate and made himself into a well-established player. Keeping the Kings in contention was just par for the course with Haliburton’s antics game after game.
Saddiq Bey from the Detroit Pistons was a consistent three-point shooting machine. Nearly breaking the rookie three-point record, Bey’s sharpshooting kept him as a consistent threat for teams to deal with regardless of the situation. Jae’Sean Tate from the Houston Rockets is a unique case compared to other rookies. Tate had gone undrafted in 2018 and didn’t make his debut until this season. Signing with the Rockets, he exploded onto the scene as a rotation player.
The second team has plenty of deserving stars as well. Immanuel Quickley from the New York Knicks was the closest to making the first team out of these five. As a solid role player for the Knicks, Quickley established himself as someone they could easily rely on. Desmond Bane from the Memphis Grizzlies surprised fans by becoming a solid shooter for the team. Bane set a franchise rookie record with a .432 3-point percentage, leading all rookies in the NBA.
Isaiah Stewart, also from the Detroit Pistons, was a fantastic all-around player through the season. His win shares made sure that the Pistons had someone who’d be reliable regardless of the situation. Isaac Okoro from the Cleveland Cavaliers became a solid player for his team over the course of the year. Okoro appeared in the most games for the team and led all rookies in minutes played.
Patrick Williams from the Chicago Bulls took the last spot on the Rookie teams and seems to have deserved it from his stats. Williams consistently shined on defense, staying at a 0 in +/- efficiency which is surprising for a rookie. Even if it’s small contributions, it still means he found his place with the team.
While Williams votes came in at 50, there were two players who barely missed out on the second team. Facundo Campazzo from the Denver Nuggets was eight behind Williams after a stellar season. Campazzo’s stats saw him become a solid role player, keeping the team in play while never scoring too many points.
Cole Anthony was ten votes behind Williams and may be the more controversial snub of the two. With the Orlando Magic, Anthony blossomed into a star for the middling team. Consistently hitting points for the Magic, he kept them in the game even when things looked grim.
Regardless of who did and didn’t make the teams, one thing is clear. This season’s rookie class was packed to the brim with talent no matter where you looked. There’s plenty of potential for these players to improve and grow into superstars, and show their teams they made the right call. That’s one of the best things that can happen with rookies, and fans are going to be along with them every step of the way.