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All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked

Updated November 5, 2019 18.9k votes 1.6k voters 9.1k views69 items

List RulesVote up the ROTY winners based on their overall NBA careers.

Of all the NBA Rookie of the Year winners, there has to be a single best. Sure, each and every winner of the sought-after award can be considered the best in their own right, even if it's just for their rookie season, but how do they all stand up against each other? Year after year, we see the top rookies fight for the title, whether that's by being a leading point scorer or a powerhouse on defense (or both). But do they get better each year? Does the ROTY from 50 years ago compare to any of the top current NBA players? That's up to you fans to decide. 

From first winner Don Meineke in 1953 to 2017 ROTY Malcolm Brogdon, who are the best NBA Rookie of the Year winners? While Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have proved themselves far past rookies, you still have to consider other all-time NBA greats who won the award, such as Larry Bird and Wilt Chamberlain—lest we forget the GOAT Michael Jordan. Clearly, determining the best ROTY of all time is certainly no easy decision. 

Nevertheless, here's a list of NBA Rookie of the Year award winners, ready to be ranked by you. Vote up the best players and keep in mind, someone is going to take the last spot as the worst ROTY, so vote accordingly. 

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  • 1
    885
    246

    Michael Jordan

    Shooting guard

    1984–85

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    Wild Stories And Rumors About Michael Jordan#598 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021

  • 2
    643
    202

    1959–60

    More Wilt Chamberlain 

    18 Unbelievable But True Stories from the Buckwild Life of Wilt Chamberlain#6 of 269 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

  • 3
    576
    185

    Larry Bird

    Small forward

    1979–80

    More Larry Bird 

    #32 of 105 The Most Influential Contemporary Americans#1 of 135 The Best Small Forwards of All Time

  • 4
    494
    155

    Tim Duncan

    Power forward

    1997–98

     

    More Tim Duncan 

    #1 of 168 The Greatest Power Forwards in NBA History#11 of 96 The Best Rebounders in NBA History

  • 5
    796
    295

    LeBron James

    Power forward

    2003–04

    More LeBron James 

    The Best LeBron 16 Colorways, Ranked#234 of 244 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities In The World

  • 6
    604
    211

    1992–93

     

    More Shaquille O'Neal 

    #1188 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time#77 of 213 Celebrities Who Should Run for President

  • 7
    394
    126

    Oscar Robertson

    Point guard

    1960–61

    More Oscar Robertson 

    #3 of 25 The Best NBA Point Guards of the 1970s#1 of 22 The Best NBA Point Guards of the 60s

  • 8
    491
    175

    Allen Iverson

    Point guard

    1996–97

     

    More Allen Iverson 

    #1 of 22 The Greatest Georgetown Basketball Players of All Time#3 of 53 The Best NBA Players Who Played Overseas

  • 9
    347
    126

    1989–90

    More David Robinson 

    #2 of 30 The Best NBA Centers of the '90s#25 of 116 The Greatest Left-Handed Athletes of All Time

  • 10
    434
    178

    Kevin Durant

    Small forward

    2007–08

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    The Best KD 10 Colorways, Ranked#137 of 185 The Best Hot Ones Guests Ever

  • 11
    315
    130

    Vince Carter

    Small forward

    1998–99

    More Vince Carter 

    #54 of 85 Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire#27 of 77 US Men’s Olympic Basketball All-Time Dream Team

  • 12
    507
    245

    Derrick Rose

    Point guard

    2008–09

    More Derrick Rose 

    #2 of 46 The Greatest Memphis Basketball Players of All Time#19 of 26 The Best Dunkers In NBA History

  • 13
    288
    119

    1985–86

    More Patrick Ewing 

    #73 of 100 The Best Current College Basketball Coaches#106 of 124 The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

  • 14
    311
    133

    Damian Lillard

    Point guard

    2012–13

    More Damian Lillard 

    #99 of 100 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today#7 of 264 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today

  • 15
    215
    88

    Elgin Baylor

    Small forward

    1958–59

    More Elgin Baylor 

    #8 of 161 The Best NBA Players With No Championship Rings#8 of 107 The Greatest Lakers of All Time

  • 16
    284
    133

    Chris Paul

    Point guard

    2005–06

     

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  • 17
    278
    131

    Lew Alcindor

    1969–70

     

  • 18
    194
    91

    Chris Webber

    Power forward, Center

    1993–94

    More Chris Webber 

    #28 of 78 The Best Philadelphia 76ers of All Time#1 of 46 The Greatest Michigan Basketball Players of All Time

  • 19
    237
    122

    Jason Kidd

    Point guard

    1994–95

    More Jason Kidd 

    #5 of 27 The Best '90s Point Guards#41 of 66 The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

  • 20
    362
    211

    Kyrie Irving

    Point guard

    2011–12

    More Kyrie Irving 

    The Best Kyrie 4 Colorways, Ranked#33 of 133 The Best Boston Celtics of All Time

  • 21
    206
    103

    Grant Hill

    Small forward

    1994–95

    More Grant Hill 

    #43 of 71 Mormon Politicians#27 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

  • 22
    205
    125

    Blake Griffin

    Power forward

    2010–11

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  • 23
    136
    72

    Rick Barry

    Small forward

    1965–66

     

    More Rick Barry 

    #136 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#3 of 23 The Best Small Forwards of the 60s

  • 24
    173
    104

    Pau Gasol

    Power forward, Center

    2001–02

    More Pau Gasol 

    #27 of 165 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time#25 of 73 The Greatest Chicago Bulls of All Time

  • 25
    139
    79

    Bob Pettit

    Power forward

    1954–55

    More Bob Pettit 

    #18 of 232 The Best White Players in NBA History#3 of 59 The Greatest LSU Basketball Players of All Time