In the thick of the Las Vegas Summer League, a lot of the rookies from the 2022 draft class have impressed already, so I thought it would be a fun exercise to rank how I think these 10 rookies will finish in the Rookie of the Year (ROTY) voting at the end of the season.
I’ll also drop a couple names at the end for second-year players that have stood out in Vegas as well.
1. Paolo Banchero, forward, Orlando Magic (via Duke): +400 to win
A lot of the ROTY voting comes down to opportunity, and Banchero will have all the opportunity in the world to shine in the way he’s been doing the entire trip in Vegas. Through two games (his only two games, after Marc Stein reported he’d be shut down following those two), he’s averaging 20.0 points (50.0% on 2.0 3PA) and 6.0 assists. Bonus points for his case if second-year Magic guard Jalen Suggs can make a leap as a playmaker as well.
Carmelo An— Paolo Banchero with the tough fadeaway jumper in the post. Special offensive talent. pic.twitter.com/EVVo4Zf6AV
— Global Scouting (@GlobalScouting_) July 9, 2022
2. Chet Holmgren, big, Oklahoma City Thunder (via Gonzaga): +350
It seems Holmgren’s development curve may be a little steeper than it initially looked because his rim protection has already been elite, and I’m not one to shy away from a little Summer League overreaction when it leans positive. Similarly to Banchero, Holmgren’s quickly-formed chemistry with point guard Josh Giddey has a big impact on his chances to win the award.
Chet Holmgren with one of the most impressive halves in Summer League history. pic.twitter.com/rjfSnWr4KV
— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) July 6, 2022
3. Jaden Ivey, guard, Detroit Pistons (via Purdue): +500
After maybe the most impressive 5-minute stint that I’ve ever seen at Summer League (11 points on 4-4 shooting and 2 assists), Ivey turned his ankle on a three-point shot and could possibly be done with his playing time in Vegas. His athleticism is needle-moving, especially when paired with other young talents like Cade Cunningham and Jalen Duren.
4. Keegan Murray, forward, Sacramento Kings (via Iowa): +750
In addition to the “opportunity” point, another big aspect to ROTY voting is counting stats. As rudimentary as it is, it always makes a difference. Points, rebounds, assists, and even games played in the case of 2021’s award will all play into consideration.
Murray, being a player that just straight up produces at a high level and consistently, has a very projectable case and could average something like 14 points and 8 rebounds per game next to De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.
This was an impressive sequence late in the game yesterday by Sacramento Kings rookie Keegan Murray:
– Three to take the lead for good
– Tough drive in traffic to extend lead
– And-1 off a cut to put the game away pic.twitter.com/C4x0m4v1zE
— Cameron Salerno (@cameronsalerno1) July 11, 2022
5. Jabari Smith Jr., forward, Houston Rockets (via Auburn): +650
Smith Jr. is where these voting considerations start to work against players. He’s playing alongside high-usage offensive players like Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, and Alperen Sengun, meaning touches won’t come as easy for Smith Jr. I’m still high on him as a prospect, though; this just isn’t the right situation for an award like that.
Jabari Smith blocks Chet then drains a 3-point shot at the other end
What a sequence pic.twitter.com/Z7xJCZ4B1z
— ً (@arxanii) July 10, 2022
6. Blake Wesley, guard, San Antonio Spurs (via Notre Dame): +4000
A good longshot choice, Wesley impressed as a shotmaker in his time at Summer League. With the recent departures of guards like Derrick White, Lonnie Walker IV, and Dejounte Murray from San Antonio, Wesley should have a good bit of leash to showcase his skills next to another young guard, Josh Primo.
Blake Wesley showed his speed, stride length & handle along with his finishing, shooting, vision & passing on the way to 20 PTS (7/16 FG) & 5 ASTS in his Summer League debut with the Spurs. The 25th pick proved he was a big time talent as an 18-year-old freshman at Notre Dame pic.twitter.com/3KxXUaN40S
— DraftExpressContent (@DXContent) July 9, 2022
7. Johnny Davis, guard, Washington Wizards (via Wisconsin): +2000
Another longshot option, Davis fits like a glove within the personnel that Washington already had. Aside from Bradley Beal, who is now locked in long-term (with a no-trade clause somehow), they don’t have a lot of manufacturable offense, especially on the perimeter.
They do, however, have lots of long defenders already. These ingredients should combine to make Davis’s life really easy in providing offense and fitting in on defense, a solid recipe for ROTY. While he hasn’t looked great so far in Vegas, the only Summer League overreacting we do is positive.
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) July 10, 2022
8. Dyson Daniels, wing, New Orleans Pelicans (via G League Ignite): +1500
Another guy that hasn’t played much in Vegas due to injury, Daniels is just an excellent fit on the Pelicans, and I believe he’ll make a really strong impact toward them having a chance to make a leap from this past season and build off of last year’s playoff run. Not to mention he fits well alongside each of their star players too with how positionally versatile he is.
Terrific on ball defense from Dyson Daniels here as he slides his feet with the ball handler, seamlessly moves over the pick, and forces a tough shot at the rim. pic.twitter.com/qC3hR8oJYG
— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) July 10, 2022
9. Jaden Hardy, guard, Dallas Mavericks (via G League Ignite): +3500
The lone second-rounder on the ladder, Hardy profiles as a perfect fit off the Mavs’ bench as well as in spot minutes next to Luka Doncic. It’s like in the bubble when Trey Burke looked awesome as a microwave guard for them, but with a lot more talent, because Hardy was at one point a top 5 talent before he hit a big-time wall in the form of the G League season. Operating in an open system like Jason Kidd’s should give him plenty of shine.
Jaden Hardy aggressively attacked the hoop, showed his dynamic shot-making + made plays for his teammates to the tune of 28 PTS (9/19 FG + 8/11 FT), 4 REBS, 3 ASTS + 1 STL in his Dallas debut. Hardy just turned 20 earlier this week + was a projected top-5 pick a year ago pic.twitter.com/md4I4EIQJg
— DraftExpressContent (@DXContent) July 8, 2022
10. Shaedon Sharpe, wing, Portland Trail Blazers (via Kentucky): +1200
Another unfortunate Vegas injury guy, Sharpe is the kind of guy that could be awesome right off the bat, especially playing alongside guys like Damian Lillard, Jerami Grant, and Jusuf Nurkic. He has all the talent in the world, but it’s just hard to tell where his development stands given that he’s been away from competitive basketball for so long. A home run swing in every sense of it.
Shaedon Sharpe got into his 💼 for his first NBA bucket.
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) July 8, 2022
- Moses Moody, wing, Golden State Warriors (via Arkansas)
- Trey Murphy III, wing, New Orleans Pelicans (via Virginia)
- Cam Thomas, wing, Brooklyn Nets (via LSU)
Depending on how the race plays out during the season, this may be a recurring piece where I break down the ladder at the time.