The last 26 NBA rookies of the year, ranked by success

·9 min read
damian lillard
Damian Lillard was a surprise Rookie of the Year in 2012 and has become a star. Nick Wass/AP Images
  • Winning NBA Rookie of the Year doesn't guarantee success.

  • Some winners had Hall of Fame careers while others never lived up to the promise of their 1st years.

  • We ranked the last 26 Rookies of the Year based on success in the NBA.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Winning Rookie of the Year isn't always a guarantee that an NBA player will become a Hall of Famer.

While the award has been an indication of future stardom for some, others didn't live up to the promise of their rookie seasons.

Below we've ranked the last 26 players to win Rookie of the Year, dating back to 1996, based on their success in the NBA. We've accounted for individual awards and stats, longevity, career earnings, and team success.

* = indicates an active player

26. LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball dribbles during a game.
LaMelo Ball. Jacob Kupferman/AP Images

Draft year: 2020

Years in the NBA: 1*

Career stats: 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals, 43.6% FG, 35.2% 3FG

Career earnings: $7.8 million

All-Stars: 0

Championships: 0

One thing to know: Early indications are Ball is a dynamic playmaker and leader on the court, but 51 games is far too little to rank him ahead of All-Stars or even players who lasted decades in the league.

25. Michael Carter-Williams

Michael Carter-Williams passes the ball during a game in 2021.
Michael Carter-Williams. Eric Gay/AP Images

Draft year: 2013

Years in the NBA: 8*

Career stats: 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 40.2% FG

Career earnings: $19.4 million

All-Stars: 0

Championships: 0

One thing to know: A triple-double machine his rookie year, Carter-Williams was traded his second season in the NBA and never regained his rookie-year form.

24. Emeka Okafor

Draft year: 2004

Years in the NBA: 10

Career stats: 12 points, 9.7 rebounds, .8 assists, 1.7 blocks, 51.2% FG

Career earnings: $88.6 million

All-Stars: 0

Championships: 0

23. Tyreke Evans

Tyreke Evans stands with his hands on his knees during a game in 2010.
Tyreke Evans in 2010. Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images

Draft year: 2009

Years in the NBA: 10

Career stats: 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 44.8% FG

Career earnings: $76.2 million

All-Stars: 0

Championships: 0

One thing to know: Just one of five players to ever average 20-5-5 as a rookie, Evans is currently banned from the NBA for violating the anti-drug program.

22. Andrew Wiggins

Draft year: 2014

Years in the NBA: 7*

Career stats: 19.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 44.6% FG

Career earnings: $105.6 million

All-Stars: 0

Championships: 0

21. Malcolm Brogdon

Draft year: 2016

Years in the NBA: 5*

Career stats: 15.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 45.3% FG, 38.6% 3FG

Career earnings: $43.2 million

All-Stars: 0

Championships: 0

20. Mike Miller

Mike Miller points during a game in 2013.
Mike Miller in 2013. Michael Conroy/AP Images

Draft year: 2000

Years in the NBA: 17

Career stats: 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 45.9% FG, 40.7% 3FG

Career earnings: $98.5 million

All-Stars: 0

Championships: 1

One thing to know: Once a skilled shooter and playmaker, Miller's career-defining moment was hitting seven three-pointers off the bench in Game 5 of the 2012 Finals.

19. Steve Francis

Steve Francis stands with his hands on his knees during a game in 1999.
Steve Francis in 1999. Sporting News via Getty Images

Draft year: 1999

Years in the NBA: 9

Career stats: 18.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6 assists, 1.5 steals, 42.9% FG, 34.1% 3FG

Career earnings: $103.5 million

All-Stars: 3

Championships: 0

One thing to know: Francis exploded onto the scene with his athleticism and scoring ability, but clashes with coaches, trades, and injuries limited his effectiveness late in his career.

18. Ja Morant

Draft year: 2019

Years in the NBA: 2*

Career stats: 19.1 points, 4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 46.3% FG, 31.7% 3FG

Career earnings: $17.3 million

All-Stars: 0

Championships: 0

17. Brandon Roy

Brandon Roy dribbles past Kobe Bryant during a game in 2008.
Brandon Roy in 2008. Don Ryan/AP Images

Draft year: 2006

Years in the NBA: 6

Career stats: 18.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 45.9% FG, 34.8% 3FG

Career earnings: $99.8 million

All-Stars: 3

Championships: 0

One thing to know: How good was Brandon Roy before knee injuries derailed his career at just 26? Kobe Bryant called him the hardest player to guard in the NBA.

16. Elton Brand

Draft year: 1999

Years in the NBA: 17

Career stats: 15.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.7 blocks, 50% FG

Career earnings: $165.9 million

All-Stars: 2

Championships: 0

One thing to know: Brand was a double-double monster early in his career, but his effectiveness was limited after an Achilles injury. He still went on to have a productive career.

15. Karl-Anthony Towns

karl anthony towns
Karl-Anthony Towns. Nick Wass/AP Images

Draft year: 2015

Years in the NBA: 6*

Career stats: 22.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3 assists, 52.7% FG, 39.4% 3FG

Career earnings: $80.7 million

All-Stars: 2

Championships: 0

One thing to know: Towns has been incredibly productive from an individual standpoint, but his next challenge will be carrying a team to the playoffs (and staying healthy).

14. Ben Simmons

Draft year: 2016

Years in the NBA: 5*

Career stats: 14.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 56% FG

Career earnings: $56.6 million

All-Stars: 3

Championships: 0

13. Luka Doncic

luka doncic mavs
Luka Doncic. Matt Slocum/AP Images

Draft year: 2018

Years in the NBA: 3*

Career stats: 25.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 45.7% FG

Career earnings: $21.8 million

All-Stars: 2

Championships: 0

One thing to know: Doncic is already a game-changing offensive orchestrator and looks poised to take home an MVP (or two or three) in the near future.

12. Derrick Rose

derrick rose knicks
Derrick Rose. Noah K. Murray/Pool/AP Images

Draft year: 2008

Years in the NBA: 12*

Career stats: 18.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 45.7% FG

Career earnings: $155 million

All-Stars: 3

Championships: 0

One thing to know: When Rose won MVP at just 22 years old, he looked like he would take over the league. Injuries robbed him of his prime, but he has found a role as a sixth man in recent years.

11. Amar'e Stoudemire

Draft year: 2002

Years in the NBA: 14

Career stats: 18.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 53.7% FG

Career earnings: $161.6 million

All-Stars: 6

Championships: 0

10. Vince Carter

Draft year: 1998

Years in the NBA: 22

Career stats: 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists,43.5% FG, 37.1% 3FG

Career earnings: $171.8 million

All-Stars: 8

Championships: 0

9. Blake Griffin

blake griffin nets
Blake Griffin. Wilfredo Lee/AP Images

Draft year: 2009

Years in the NBA: 12*

Career stats: 20.9 points, 8.6 points, 4.3 assists, 49.5% FG

Career earnings: $223.3 million

All-Stars: 6

Championships: 0

One thing to know: Griffin evolved over the years, becoming a solid post scorer, passer, and three-point shooter. He's no longer an All-Star, but his 2021 stint in Brooklyn showed he has plenty left to be effective.

8. Damian Lillard

Draft year: 2012

Years in the NBA: 9*

Career stats: 24.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 43.9% FG, 37.5% 3FG

Career earnings: $151.8 million

All-Stars: 6

Championships: 0

7. Kyrie Irving

kyrie irving
Kyrie Irving. Mary Altaffer/AP Images

Draft year: 2011

Years in the NBA: 10*

Career stats: 22.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 47% FG, 39.1% 3FG

Career earnings: $158.4 million

All-Stars: 7

Championships: 1

One thing to know: Irving owns one of the most clutch shots in NBA history - a Finals Game 7 dagger - and has become of the most efficient and masterful scorers in the NBA.

6. Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol posts up during a game in 2009.
Pau Gasol in 2009. Mark Duncan/AP Images

Draft year: 2001

Years in the NBA: 18

Career stats: 17 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 blocks, 50.7% FG

Career earnings: $220.9 million

All-Stars: 6

Championships: 2

One thing to know: Gasol was one of the most skilled big men in the league and was an integral part of the Lakers 2008 and 2009 championships.

5. Allen Iverson

Draft year: 1996

Years in the NBA: 14

Career stats: 26.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.2 steals, 42.5% FG

Career earnings: $154.7 million

All-Stars: 11

Championships: 0

4. Chris Paul

Draft year: 2005

Years in the NBA: 16*

Career stats: 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 2.1 steals, 47.2% FG, 37.1% 3FG

Career earnings: $299.9 million

All-Stars: 11

Championships: 0

3. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant stands with his hands on his hips during a game in 2021.
Kevin Durant. Corey Sipkin/AP Images

Draft year: 2008

Years in the NBA: 14*

Career stats: 27 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 49.4% FG, 38.4% 3FG

Career earnings: $264.1 million

All-Stars: 11

Championships: 2

One thing to know: Durant is already perhaps the best scorer the NBA has ever seen and looks poised to dominate over the back-half of his prime for a Nets team that looks like title favorites.

2. Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan stands with his hands on his hips and looks up during a game in 2015.
Tim Duncan in 2015. Brett Davis/AP Images

Draft year: 1997

Years in the NBA: 19

Career stats: 19 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.2 blocks, 50.6% FG

Career earnings: $242 million

All-Stars: 15

Championships: 5

One thing to know: The model for a franchise centerpiece, Duncan's game may not have been flashy, but few players at their peak have ever been more effective: 13 straight All-NBA and All-Defensive Team selections, with two MVPs, from 1997-2010.

1. LeBron James

LeBron James yells during a game in 2021.
LeBron James in 2021. Ross D. Franklin/AP Images

Draft year: 2003

Years in the NBA: 18*

Career stats: 27 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 50.4% FG

Career earnings: $346.2 million

All-Stars: 17

Championships: 4

One thing to know: Comfortably a top-five player of all-time - and the greatest, to some - James' name is all over the record books and at 36, he is still near the top of his game, contending for a fifth championship.

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