NBA Rookie Ladder: Did Scottie Barnes end the year on top?

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 18: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 18: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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NBA Rookie Ladder, Davion Mitchell
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 19: Davion Mitchell #15 of the Sacramento Kings looks on in the first half against the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors are one of the many teams who have benefitted from the excellent play of a sensational first-round rookie. Scottie Barnes is helping Toronto win just as much as Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham and bolstering Cleveland and Detroit this season.

The Rookie of the Year race is starting to heat up. With some of the favorites for the award entering the league’s health and safety protocols, some of the mid-tier ROY candidates have made impressive charges to the top with the goal of unseating the two favorites.

There is still a ton of games left to play, but the Rookie of the Year favorites are starting to distance themselves. As these young stars continue to grow, they will start to prove their worth as long-term stars in this league.

With 2021 about to finally draw to a close, which players are starting to climb up this NBA Rookie Ladder? Barnes and Mobley have been at the top for most of the season. Will they be there once again?

NBA Rookie Ladder: Is Toronto Raptors star Scottie Barnes on top?

84. . . Previous: 10th. Davion Mitchell. 10. player

Mitchell has been his usual self over the course of December, but that’s helped make him one of the more consistent bench players in Sacramento. Mitchell’s perimeter defense makes him a perfect counterpart to De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton amid a chaotic situation in northern California.

Mitchell may have seemed like an odd pick to some given the logjam at point guard, but he’s done more than enough to cement himself as someone that should stay on the roster after the Kings remake it once again. Improving his interior finishing should be a goal for the rest of the season.

NBA Rookie Ladder: Alperen Sengun keeps impressing.

Alperen Sengun. 9. player. 169. . . Previous: 7th

Sengun is only down this far on the list because of some standout showings from other rookies. Sengun’s 9.1 points per game is a very robust average, as his ability to consistently maneuver for easy points has helped Houston put up some more respectable offensive performances.

Sengun has already exceeded expectations, beating out an experienced veteran in Daniel Theis for a spot in the rotation. Sengun’s defense isn’t amazing right now, but he’s been good enough to help him in the starting lineup as he tries to mesh with Christian Wood in the Rockets’ frontcourt.