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NBA All-Rookie team announced; Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes lead the way

Andrew Buller-Russ
NBA All-Rookie
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After a competitive season out of the first-year players, few could agree on who the Rookie of the Year should be, let alone the entire NBA All-Rookie team. It’s not for a lack of talent, as the 2021 NBA Draft class was deeper than expected, but it’s just that there are so many viable candidates to fill out the first and second-team honors.

Every year during the Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs, we learn the results of the NBA All-Rookie team. On Wednesday night, shortly before the Dallas Mavericks could tip-off against the Golden State Warriors, the NBA finally revealed the All-Rookie squad, and there were a few surprises and notable snubs. We break it all down below.

First-team All-Rookie squad features NBA’s next biggest stars

NBA: Rising Stars Challenge
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the full first-team All-Rookie squad, as revealed by the NBA.

  • Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons – G
  • Jalen Green, Houston Rockets – G
  • Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic – F
  • Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors – F
  • Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers – F/C

It’s fairly obvious who was making the first team. Each of these players looked to have a chance at winning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award before Scottie Barnes was named the winner. As the NBA noted, it was the closest ROY race in the Association’s history.

  • Cade’s case – In becoming the No. 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham handled lead guard duties for the Detroit Pistons, where he averaged a cool 17/5/5 in his first year. Fans are stoked to see what’s in store for the 6-foot-6 guard’s second year paired with Saddiq Bey.
  • Go for Green – After averaging the second-most points per game among rookies (17.3), Jalen Green deserves a place on this team, and at 19 years old, he figures to become one of the better offensive players in the NBA over the next few seasons. Multiple All-Star appearances aren’t out of the question.
  • OnlyFranz – As the latest pick (8th selection) of the 2021 NBA Draft to crack the first-team All-Rookie honors, he may have received the least in-season recognition compared to his peers but Franz Wagner led all other rookies in points scored with 1,197. A talented trio could quickly form next season with Jalen Suggs, Wagner, and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
  • Barnes breakout – The only first-team rookie to start for a playoff team, Scottie Barnes took home Rookie of the Month honors twice late in the year. He finished as the only first-year player to rank in the top five of each major stat category, showing off a versatile skill set that is only going to become more refined with experience.
  • Mobley’s montage – Helping the Cavs double their win total from a year ago, Evan Mobley not only played an integral role, he might have been their best defender, even as a rookie with Jarrett Allen on the squad. Not bad considering they were the fifth-best unit in points allowed. Mobley’s only scratching the surface.

Related: 5 NBA Draft trades we could see during the 2022 event

NBA All-Rookie second team

Here is the All-Rookie second team, as the NBA announced earlier today, listed in no particular order.

  • Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder – G
  • Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets – G
  • Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls – G
  • Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers – G
  • Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans – C

Who got snubbed from the NBA All-Rookie team?

The 2021 NBA Draft class features three unanimous first-team selections, with Barnes, Cunningham and Mobley all receiving first-team votes from every participating voter.

Seeing Josh Giddey not sneak into the first team is a bit of a surprise after his sensational performance for the Oklahoma City Thunder, racking up four triple-doubles, while steadily improving as a shooter. At just 19, Giddey’s all-around game is already impressive, I can’t wait to see him surrounded by more talent with OKC.

With Giddey playing 10 fewer games than others who did make the first team, voters clearly valued availability and dependability when making their decisions.

Two of the more noticeable snubs who missed the team altogether are Davion Mitchell of the Sacramento Kings and Jonathan Kuminga of the Golden State Warriors.

Both players received strong consideration, just missing the cut for the second team.

In Kuminga’s case, his role on a deeply talented Warriors roster certainly played a factor, only seeing 16.9 minutes per game as a rook.

Meanwhile, Mitchell was stuck behind Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox for much of the season, which was expected coming into the season.

Here are the full results of the All-Rookie voting.

Related: 2022 NBA mock draft: Full 2-round version with Chet Holmgren going No. 1