The 2022 NBA Draft is over, and talk has already begun about who will win the 2022-2023 Rookie of the Year award. The Summer League gave us a glimpse into what we can expect next season. Let's dive in and look at the current top-five NBA ROY candidates.
1. Paolo Banchero
Banchero is a 6'9" power forward who the Orlando Magic—in a surprising turn of events— drafted with the No. 1 overall pick. He's a strong and physical player who can finish around the basket and has a nice touch from mid-range. He's also a good rebounder and defender. Some scouts have compared him to a young Draymond Green or bigger David West.
Paolo is a creative and confident player who can get his shots in whenever he wants. He has excellent handles that allow him to create offense for himself or others and the passing skills needed at the NBA level (3 assists per contest). The potential of Paolos' passing ability could make it one major weapon, along with scoring, and will certainly help the Orlando Magic put points on board!
If Banchero can come in and make an immediate impact, he will stay in the running for Rookie of the Year. He's got all the tools to be a successful player at the NBA level; 6'10, 250-pound shooters are few and far between. The only question is whether or not he can put it all together and play consistent minutes. Right now, Paolo Banchero comes in as the betting favorite at +375 BetOnline.ag.
2. Chet Holmgren
The 7-foot center from Minneapolis, who some have called the next big thing out of the city that established Kevin Garnett. Chet Holmgren is long, athletic, and skilled. He's got a nice shooting touch for a big man, which gives him the potential to be a real stretch-5 at the next level. He's also a good passer and has shown the ability to put the ball on the floor and make plays for others.
On defense, Chet is a shot-blocking machine (4.5 blocks per contest) that can also switch out onto smaller players and defend them adequately. He's still raw and needs to add some muscle to his frame, but the potential is certainly there.
Like Banchero, Chet Holmgren will need to come in and make an immediate impact to take home Rookie of the Year honors. He's got the size and skill that NBA teams covet these days, which is why he's tied with Banchero this preseason as the most likely candidate to win the ROY award.
3. Jaden Ivey
Ivey is a 6'4" shooting guard from Purdue who some have compared to a young Dwyane Wade. He's an explosive scorer who can get to the basket at will and has a nice outside shot as well. He's also a solid defender and rebounder.
Ivey is one of the most complete players to come out of the draft and should be able to come in and contribute right away. He's got the skill set, size, and athleticism to compete at the NBA level. The only thing that might hold him back is the depth of the Pistons roster.
If Jaden Ivey can find a way to get consistent minutes, he will be in the mix for Rookie of the Year. He's got all the tools to be a successful player in the NBA and should be able to immediately positively impact the Pistons.
4. Jabari Smith Jr.
The 6'10" power forward from Auburn is one of the most talented players in the draft. He's a gifted scorer who can shoot from anywhere on the court and has a soft touch around the basket. He's also a solid defender and finds himself in the right spot to recover rebounds.
Smith could have the highest ceiling of all the players in the draft, but he may need a smidge more development time than players like Banchero or Holmgren. Still, he's not in the Top 4 on the ROY odds boards for no reason. We should expect big things out of him over in Houston.
5. Keegan Murray
Murray is a 6'7" wing from Iowa who many have pegged as a potential lottery pick. He's got great size and length for his position and is an above-average athlete. He's also a very good shooter, especially from three-point range.
Murray is one of the more polished prospects in the draft and would be my dark horse pick to win the 2022-2023 Rookie of the Year award. After all, he just won the NBA Summer League Rookie of the Year title.
I believe that he will continue to perform once the regular season starts and will get the playing time needed over in Sacramento to make a strong push for the coveted award. On top of that, winning the Summer League version of the award will give him the confidence to build on stepping into his first regular-season games at the NBA level.