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All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked

Updated November 5, 2019 19.2k votes 1.6k voters 8.8k 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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  • Michael Jordan1
    903
    248

    Michael Jordan

    Shooting guard

    Age57

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    TeamsChicago Bulls, Washington Wizards

    1984–85

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  • Wilt Chamberlain2
    658
    207

    AgeDec. at 63 (1936-1999)

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    TeamsPhiladelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Warriors, San Francisco Warriors

    1959–60

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  • Tim Duncan3
    506
    152

    Tim Duncan

    Power forward

    Age44

    BirthplaceChristiansted, United States Virgin Islands

    Number21

    TeamsSan Antonio Spurs

    1997–98

     

    More Tim Duncan 

    #98 of 227 The Greatest Offensive Players in NBA History#24 of 35 Famous People with Literal (and Hilarious) Names

  • Larry Bird4
    581
    185

    Larry Bird

    Small forward

    Age64

    BirthplaceWest Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana, United States of America

    Number33

    TeamsBoston Celtics

    1979–80

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  • Shaquille O'Neal5
    622
    213

    Age48

    BirthplaceNewark, New Jersey, United States of America

    Number33

    TeamsLos Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics

    1992–93

     

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    #1020 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time#27 of 178 The Best Hot Ones Guests Ever

  • LeBron James6
    805
    302

    LeBron James

    Power forward

    Age36

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio, United States of America

    Number23

    TeamsLos Angeles Lakers

    2003–04

    More LeBron James 

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  • Oscar Robertson7
    403
    127

    Oscar Robertson

    Point guard

    Age82

    BirthplaceCharlotte, Tennessee, United States of America

    TeamsCincinnati Royals, Milwaukee Bucks

    1960–61

    More Oscar Robertson 

    #12 of 175 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History#3 of 25 The Best NBA Point Guards of the 1970s

  • Allen Iverson8
    501
    178

    Allen Iverson

    Point guard

    Age45

    BirthplaceHampton, Virginia, United States of America

    Number1

    TeamsPhiladelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons

    1996–97

     

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

  • David Robinson9
    354
    127

    Age54

    BirthplaceKey West, Florida, United States of America

    1989–90

    More David Robinson 

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  • Kevin Durant10
    448
    180

    Kevin Durant

    Small forward

    Age32

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., United States of America

    Number35

    TeamsBrooklyn Nets

    2007–08

    More Kevin Durant 

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  • Patrick Ewing11
    297
    120

    Age57

    BirthplaceKingston, Jamaica

    Number33

    TeamsNew York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics

    1985–86

    More Patrick Ewing 

    #107 of 124 The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time#58 of 68 The Best Current College Basketball Coaches

  • Vince Carter12
    318
    133

    Vince Carter

    Shooting guard, Small forward

    Age43

    BirthplaceDaytona Beach, Florida, United States of America

    Number25

    TeamsAtlanta Hawks

    1998–99

    More Vince Carter 

    #64 of 85 Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire#1 of 26 The Best Dunkers In NBA History

  • Derrick Rose13
    519
    251

    Derrick Rose

    Point guard

    Age32

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    Number1

    TeamsNew York Knicks

    2008–09

    More Derrick Rose 

    #4 of 73 The Greatest Chicago Bulls of All Time#33 of 76 The Best Point Guards Currently in the NBA

  • Damian Lillard14
    315
    135

    Damian Lillard

    Point guard

    Age30

    BirthplaceOakland, California

    Number0

    TeamsPortland Trail Blazers

    2012–13

    More Damian Lillard 

    #5 of 102 The Most Likable Players In The NBA Today#468 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time

  • Chris Paul15
    294
    137

    Chris Paul

    Point guard

    Age35

    BirthplaceWinston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America

    Number3

    TeamsPhoenix Suns

    2005–06

     

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  • Elgin Baylor16
    217
    89

    Elgin Baylor

    Small forward

    Age85

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., United States of America

    TeamsLos Angeles Lakers

    1958–59

    More Elgin Baylor 

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  • Lew Alcindor17
    281
    135

    Lew Alcindor

    1969–70

     

  • Kyrie Irving18
    377
    217

    Kyrie Irving

    Point guard

    Age28

    BirthplaceMelbourne, Australia

    Number2

    TeamsBrooklyn Nets

    2011–12

    More Kyrie Irving 

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  • Jason Kidd19
    244
    125

    Jason Kidd

    Point guard

    Age47

    BirthplaceCalifornia, United States of America

    Number5

    TeamsDallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets

    1994–95

    More Jason Kidd 

    #8 of 27 The Best '90s Point Guards#65 of 66 The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

  • Grant Hill20
    213
    105

    Grant Hill

    Small forward

    Age47

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas, United States of America

    Number33

    TeamsPhoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons

    1994–95

    More Grant Hill 

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  • Chris Webber21
    197
    95

    Chris Webber

    Power forward, Center

    Age46

    BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan, United States of America

    TeamsWashington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons

    1993–94

    More Chris Webber 

    #2 of 46 The Greatest Michigan Basketball Players of All Time#27 of 78 The Best Philadelphia 76ers of All Time

  • Blake Griffin22
    210
    127

    Blake Griffin

    Power forward

    Age31

    BirthplaceOklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Number32

    TeamsDetroit Pistons

    2010–11

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  • Pau Gasol23
    178
    107

    Pau Gasol

    Power forward, Center

    Age40

    BirthplaceBarcelona, Spain

    Number16

    TeamsPortland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs

    2001–02

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    #34 of 54 The Most Hated Active NBA Players#27 of 165 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

  • Rick Barry24
    136
    75

    Rick Barry

    Small forward

    Age76

    BirthplaceElizabeth, New Jersey, United States of America

    TeamsNew York Nets, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Warriors

    1965–66

     

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    #136 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#2 of 23 The Best Small Forwards of the 60s

  • Bob Pettit25
    142
    82

    Bob Pettit

    Power forward

    Age88

    BirthplaceBaton Rouge, Louisiana

    Number9

    TeamsMilwaukee Hawks, St. Louis Hawks

    1954–55

    More Bob Pettit 

    #17 of 232 The Best White Players in NBA History#3 of 58 The Greatest LSU Basketball Players of All Time