Sports

All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked 

Ranker NBA
Updated November 5, 2019 14k votes 1.3k voters 7.3k views 69 items

List Rules Vote 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. 

list ordered by
1
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Shooting guard and Small forward from New York City, New York, United States of America

Age: 56

Teams: Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls

1984–85

More Michael Jordan 

Ranking Every Air Jordan Sneaker Ever Made #2 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #461 of 523 The Best Baseball Players NOT in the Hall of Fame

2
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Small forward and Power forward from Akron, Ohio, United States of America

Age: 35

Number: 23

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers

2003–04

More LeBron James 

The Best LeBron 16 Colorways, Ranked #248 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #16 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time

3
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Center from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 63 (1936-1999)

Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Warriors, San Francisco Warriors

1959–60

More Wilt Chamberlain 

18 Unbelievable But True Stories from the Buckwild Life of Wilt Chamberlain #357 of 529 Things That Are Not As Cool As People Think They Arelisted on Famous Black Conservatives List

4
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Center from Newark, New Jersey, United States of America

Age: 47

Teams: Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat

1992–93

 

More Shaquille O'Neal 

#770 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1,213 of 2,828 The Most Influential People of All Time #669 of 771 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures

5
Larry Bird is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Small forward and Power forward from West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana, United States of America

Age: 63

Teams: Boston Celtics

1979–80

More Larry Bird 

#56 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #13 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

6
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Power forward and Center from Christiansted, United States Virgin Islands

Age: 43

Number: 21

1997–98

 

More Tim Duncan 

#1,325 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #9 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
Allen Iverson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Point guard and Shooting guard from Hampton, Virginia, United States of America

Age: 44

Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets

1996–97

 

More Allen Iverson 

#1 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #24 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #1 of 22 The Greatest Georgetown Basketball Players of All Time

8
Derrick Rose is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Point guard from Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Age: 31

Number: 1

Teams: Detroit Pistons

2008–09

More Derrick Rose 

#150 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #3 of 87 The Most Likable Players In The NBA Today

9
Kevin Durant is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Small forward from Washington, D.C., United States of America

Age: 31

Number: 35

Teams: Brooklyn Nets

2007–08

More Kevin Durant 

The Best KD 10 Colorways, Ranked #28 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #61 of 175 The Greatest Power Forwards in NBA History

10
Oscar Robertson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Point guard and Shooting guard from Charlotte, Tennessee, United States of America

Age: 81

Teams: Cincinnati Royals, Milwaukee Bucks

1960–61

More Oscar Robertson 

#7 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #7 of 55 The Best No. 1 Overall NBA Draft Picks of All Time, Ranked

11
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Center from Key West, Florida, United States of America

Age: 54

1989–90

More David Robinson 

#990 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #57 of 175 The Greatest Power Forwards in NBA History

12
Kyrie Irving is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Point guard from Melbourne, Australia

Age: 27

Number: 2

Teams: Brooklyn Nets

2011–12

More Kyrie Irving 

The Best Kyrie 5 Colorways, Ranked #86 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #28 of 132 The Best Boston Celtics of All Time

13
Vince Carter is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Shooting guard and Small forward from Daytona Beach, Florida, United States of America

Age: 42

Number: 25

Teams: Atlanta Hawks

1998–99

More Vince Carter 

#1,590 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #47 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

14
Damian Lillard is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Point guard from Oakland, California

Age: 29

Number: 0

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers

2012–13

More Damian Lillard 

#120 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #8 of 87 The Most Likable Players In The NBA Today

15
Patrick Ewing is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Center from Kingston, Jamaica

Age: 57

Teams: Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics, New York Knicks

1985–86

More Patrick Ewing 

#2,158 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #26 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #6 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings

16
Chris Paul is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Point guard from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America

Age: 34

Number: 3

Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder

2005–06

 

More Chris Paul 

The Best Jordan CP3.XII Colorways, Ranked #14 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #44 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

17
Jason Kidd is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Point guard from California, United States of America

Age: 46

Number: 5

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets

1994–95

More Jason Kidd 

#8 of 158 The Greatest Point Guards in NBA History #7 of 27 The Best '90s Point Guards

18
Elgin Baylor is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Small forward from Washington, D.C., United States of America

Age: 85

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers

1958–59

More Elgin Baylor 

#11 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #7 of 107 The Greatest Lakers of All Time

19
Lew Alcindor is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Lew Alcindor

1969–70

 

20
Grant Hill is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Small forward from Dallas, Texas, United States of America

Age: 47

Number: 33

Teams: Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons

1994–95

More Grant Hill 

#19 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #2 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90slisted on Mormon Politicians

21
Chris Webber is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Power forward and Center from Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

Age: 46

Teams: Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons

1993–94

More Chris Webber 

#17 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #10 of 175 The Greatest Power Forwards in NBA History #42 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

22
Blake Griffin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Power forward from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Age: 30

Number: 32

Teams: Detroit Pistons

2010–11

More Blake Griffin 

The Best Blake Griffin Dunks #147 of 878 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #70 of 87 The Most Likable Players In The NBA Today

23
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Power forward and Center from Barcelona, Spain

Age: 39

Number: 16

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers

2001–02

More Pau Gasol 

#15 of 239 The Best White Players in NBA History #10 of 107 The Greatest Lakers of All Time

24
Ben Simmons is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
25
Karl-Anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Karl-Anthony Towns

Number: 32

Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves

2015–16

More Karl-Anthony Towns 

#3 of 148 The Greatest Kentucky Basketball Players of All Time #77 of 80 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today