Every year, a new class of high-end prospects enters the NBA, many of whom make an immediate impact for their new teams.
Last season, we saw players like LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards make their mark for their respective clubs right away. Heading into the 2021/22 NBA season, there may be a few more rookies capable of repeating the performances of those young stars.
Here is a look at the top seven rookies in NBA 2K22, along with a list of the best first-year players.
Cade Cunningham (OVR 80)
Overall Rating: 80
Team: Detroit Pistons
Archetype: Offensive Initiator
Best Stats: 98 Hands, 95 Potential, 85 Shot IQ
It’s no surprise that the first overall pick of the 2021 NBA draft tops this list. Despite only playing one year in college, Cade Cunningham made his mark at that level, capturing prestigious awards including “Consensus First-Team All-American” and the “NABC Freshman of the Year Award”.
In his solitary year in college, Cunningham averaged an impressive 20.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.6 steals for Oklahoma State. Heading into his first NBA season, the Detroit Pistons hope that Cunningham is the franchise star capable of lifting them back to prominence in the near future.
At 6’8” and 220 lbs, Cunningham possesses above average size at the guard position. Considered a great ball-handler (86 ball handle), he could come in and be the Pistons’ best offensive initiator almost immediately.
With Detroit’s lack of backcourt depth, Cunningham might get a great opportunity to see northwards of 25 minutes a night to help develop his game in his first season. Don’t be surprised to see him become a strong candidate for the Rookie of the Year award.
Jalen Green (OVR 79)
Overall Rating: 79
Team: Houston Rockets
Archetype: Well-Rounded Guard
Best Stats: 95 Hands, 92 Vertical, 88 Speed
Cade Cunningham aside, Jalen Green might be the best prospect to come out of the 2021 NBA draft. Taken second overall by the Houston Rockets this year, many believe Green will be a key franchise piece for years to come.
Despite the small sample size, he had an impressive showing in the NBA Summer League, being named to the “All-Summer League Second-Team” after averaging 20.3 points per game.
Unlike other young prospects in his draft class, Green did not take the college route, but instead spent his first year out of high school honing his game in the NBA G-League Ignite.
Even though he is only a rookie, he already boasts a 79 overall rating, and is one of the fastest rookies in the game with 88 speed. Without any NBA games under his belt, Green already has 11 badges, three of which are Silver finishing badges.
Green is heading into a great situation in Houston and should be getting lots of playing time to develop his game from the outset, so don’t be surprised to see him with some Gold badges by the end of the season.
Evan Mobley (OVR 78)
Overall Rating: 78
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Archetype: Glass Cleaner
Best Stats: 88 Stamina, 85 Standing Dunk, 85 Hustle
Heading into the 2021/22 NBA season, Evan Mobley is widely viewed as the best big man to come out of his draft. He was selected third overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers after only playing one season at the University of Southern California and capturing the Pac-12 Player of the Year award.
At 7’0” and 210 lbs, Mobley is considered a special talent in the paint with the potential to be a franchise center in the NBA. For a big man, he isn’t a bad shooter either, and with a 72 mid-range shot he can be a reliable finisher in a pick-and-pop roll.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Mobley’s game is his athleticism at his size. With an 85 standing dunk, 80 driving dunk, and 72 speed, he is already one of the most athletic 7’0” players in the game. Add that to a 93 potential, and there is plenty to like about Mobley and his ceiling at the NBA level.
Jalen Suggs (OVR 77)
Overall Rating: 77
Team: Orlando Magic
Best Stats: 90 Vertical, 88 Speed, 88 Acceleration
Jalen Suggs, the fifth overall pick for the Orlando Magic, is one of many high-end prospects to join the organization over the past few years. The 6’4” guard caught the attention of many at the NCAA tournament, leading the Gonzaga Bulldogs to the championship game.
Considered a traditional point guard, Suggs’ greatest strength is his ability to facilitate the basketball and run the offense. An unselfish player, Suggs demonstrated elite playmaking and passing ability at the college level.
It remains to be seen whether his playmaking abilities can translate at the NBA level. If they can, the Orlando Magic might have found their franchise point guard for the next several years.
He already has an 86 ball handle, 82 playmaking, and five playmaking badges to start off his NBA career. Look for him to fight for starting minutes on the Magic’s rotation, or at least be one of the key players to come off the bench.
If you are looking for an underrated floor general to build your team around, Jalen Suggs might be a great player to pick up on 2K22 before his career takes off in the next few years.
Scottie Barnes (OVR 76)
Overall Rating: 76
Team: Toronto Raptors
Archetype: Well-Rounded Four
Best Stats: 92 Vertical, 88 Stamina, 85 Hustle
Perhaps one of the most well-rounded rookies on NBA 2K22, Scottie Barnes is also one of the more unique first-year players in the game. The fourth overall selection, the new Toronto Raptor has a rare archetype (Well-Rounded Four) and may be a matchup problem for some players at his position.
At 6’9” and 225 lbs, Barnes has the size and physique to play and guard multiple positions. If the Raptors decide to go small, Barnes will give them plenty of speed at the four or five position. Meanwhile, if they decide to go bigger, the rookie can fill in at the three, and give them an athletic wing with good speed (82) and athleticism (85).
With a 92 vertical and 82 acceleration, Barnes can be used as a transition scorer and is excellent in defensive schemes with a lot of rotations. He also has an 80 driving and standing dunk, and might be a very effective slasher who can penetrate the paint and create open shot opportunities for his teammates.
Davion Mitchell (OVR 76)
Overall Rating: 76
Team: Sacramento Kings
Archetype: Two-Way Playmaker
Best Stats: 95 Hustle, 95 Hands, 90 Stamina
Davion Mitchell had a superb finish to his collegiate career, averaging 14.0 points, 5.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game, and shooting 44.7 percent from beyond the arc. As a bonus, he was able to help Baylor capture the 2021 NCAA championship and received the Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year award.
Heading into the NBA, he is one of the more decorated players from his draft class. Selected ninth overall by the Sacramento Kings, many believe Mitchell is also one of the more NBA-ready prospects to join the association this season.
Known as a solid two-way player, Mitchell shines as a playmaker on the offensive side of the floor. In addition that, his hustle (95) and lateral quickness (87) make him a quality perimeter defender at the guard position.
The Kings have not been a great defensive team over the past few years, so bringing in a player like Mitchell should provide a major boost in that regard. He is still very raw at this point, but many feel like he could develop into a solid-way guard in the NBA for a long time to come.
Josh Giddey (OVR 75)
Overall Rating: 75
Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Archetype: Pass First Guard
Best Stats: 88 Stamina, 85 Potential, 85 Shot IQ
Josh Giddey was the only Australian player selected in the 2021 NBA entry draft. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s sixth overall pick has a very impressive resumé, and is a prospect with plenty of upside.
Last season, Giddey turned down offers from NCAA programs to develop his game with the Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League (NBL), and became the first Australian-born player to be part of the League’s Next Stars program.
At 6’8”, Giddey is a bigger guard who has the ability to create mismatch problems for smaller players at his position. With 88 stamina, 85 shot IQ, and 82 pass IQ, he could be one of the better offensive players in his draft class.
In terms of playing time, the Australian goes into a wonderful situation in OKC. With the team deep in rebuild mode, there is a chance that Giddey will see plenty of playing time early in his career, which will only aid in his development.
All the best rookies in NBA 2K22
|Cade Cunningham||80||6’8″||PG/SG||Detroit Pistons|
|Jalen Green||79||6’6″||SG/SF||Houston Rockets|
|Evan Mobley||78||7’0″||PF/C||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Jalen Suggs||77||6’4″||PG/SG||Orlando Magic|
|Davion Mitchell||76||6’2″||PG||Sacramento Kings|
|Scottie Barnes||76||6’7″||PF/SF||Toronto Raptors|
|Josh Giddey||75||6’8″||SG/PG||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Jonathan Kuminga||75||6’6″||SF/PF||Golden State Warriors|
|Franz Wagner||74||6’9″||SF/PF||Orlando Magic|
|James Bouknight||74||6’5″||SG||Charlotte Hornets|
|Chris Duarte||73||6’6″||SG/SF||Indiana Pacers|
|Ziaire Williams||72||6’8″||SF/PF||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Joshua Primo||71||6’6″||SG/SF||San Antonio Spurs|
Now you know exactly who are the best rookies to use to help you win in NBA 2K22.
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