Sports

All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked 

Ranker NBA
Updated November 5, 2019 14.7k votes 1.4k voters 7.8k 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

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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

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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

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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

 

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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 

#22 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #132 of 262 Celebrities Who Should Run for President #4 of 872 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

 

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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 

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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 

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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

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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 

#551 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #39 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #5 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History

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 

#1,033 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #19 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #7 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

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

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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

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#1,921 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #10 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #41 of 872 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

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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

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#2,157 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #6 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #28 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

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

 

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17
Lew Alcindor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Lew Alcindor

1969–70

 

18
Jason Kidd is listed (or ranked) 18 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 

#36 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #14 of 160 The Greatest Point Guards in NBA History #131 of 343 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

19
Grant Hill is listed (or ranked) 19 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

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20
Elgin Baylor is listed (or ranked) 20 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 

#513 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #11 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #206 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

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

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#21 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings #66 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #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

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23
Karl-Anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked
Karl-Anthony Towns

Number: 32

Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves

2015–16

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#148 of 872 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #10 of 320 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today #3 of 148 The Greatest Kentucky Basketball Players of All Time

24
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 24 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

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