NBA / Dec 7, 2011 / 3:00 pm

Top 10 Rookie Seasons In NBA History

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin (photo. Rob Hammer)

This piece first appeared on the Foot Locker Unlocked Blog

Without a doubt, Blake Griffin had a great rookie season last year averaging 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. He played in the All-Star Game, won Rookie of the Year and made his team better overall. But does he crack the list of the Top 10 Rookie Seasons In NBA History? Not even close. With that, take a minute to see the 10 most amazing freshman campaigns ever.

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Honorable Mention

Elgin Baylor, Minneapolis Lakers (1958-59)
Stats: 24.9 points, 15.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game
Awards: All-Star Game, All-Star Game MVP, Rookie of the Year

Elvin Hayes, San Diego Rockets (1968-69)
Stats: 28.4 points and 17.1 rebounds per game
Awards: All-Star Game

Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers (1996-97)
Stats: 23.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game
Awards: Rookie of the Year

Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs (1997-98)
Stats: 21.1 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game
Awards: All-Star Game, Rookie of the Year

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (2003-04)
Stats: 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game
Awards: Rookie of the Year

Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings (2009-10)
Stats: 20.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game
Awards: Rookie of the Year

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers (2010-11)
Stats: 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game
Awards: All-Star Game, Rookie of the Year

Now on to the list…

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  • Banny

    Grant Hill honorable mention. 20ppg 5asts 6rbs 2stls

  • xxbabes

    surely if u put Lebron’s 20,5,5 as an honourable mention then u have to put Tyreke in…

  • Promoman

    @ Banny

    Jason Kidd too. Grant was ringing up triple doubles left & right but Jason was lighting up too.

  • First & Foremost

    @Banny – If only Grant Hill had 6 more points that season he would have joined that rookie 20/5/5 club. 19.91ppg just doesn’t cut it.

  • karl

    Where’s Tyreke Evans he had similiar stats to lebron?

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips

    After some convincing from Twitter, Tyreke has been added to Honorable Mention.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/DonCharlionne hollywud15

    if LeBron is in honorable mentions you have to put Melo… because he had the better season. He just didn’t win the ROY because he wasn’t “The Chosen One”

  • cesar

    baylor’s and hayes’ rookie year > shaq’s and robinson’s rookie year

  • Duncanrules

    Not having Timmy in the top 10 is a travesty.

    Very first playoff game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN5LdZEzWKo&list=FLqrq3-4nnhb_r2-LwbgD1dg&index=72&feature=plpp_video

    Unstoppable.

  • Aleks Kaludjerovic

    let me just start by saying Carmelo had just as good of a rookie season as LeBron both their teams were bottom tier teams the season before and they both ended up making the playoff. And lebrons numbers werent even really better Melo averaged 21.0ppg, 6.1rpg,2.8apg and shot 43% while leberon averaged 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game on 41% fg. Ya Lebron averaged more assists but he played the point alot of the time. Lebron had Carlos Boozer and Z on his team while they were both playing solid while Carmelo’s 2 other best players were Andre Miller and Voshon Lenard and the Nuggets still finished with abetter record of 43-39 compared to Lebron’s 35-47. Melo’s team played better than Lebron’s. I’m not saying Lebron didn’t deserve it Im just saying that was one of the years the award deserved to be shared. Great write up by the way.

  • Aleks Kaludjerovic

    Been wanting to get that off my chest for a while lol

  • http://www.psychodrama.com Chicagorilla

    I don’t know if anyone before the 80′s should be taken seriously. but the list is mostly correct

  • thrillah

    @Aleks Kaludjerovic
    LeBron didn’t make the playoffs his rookie year.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Lebron vs. Carmelo was not close. I thought it was so funny when some of you would try that argument when they were rookies.

    It was a lot like the guys that argued for Jennings over Evans.

  • silky

    the 3 headed monster of Kidd, hill and big dog…. best rookie of year race ever. had it all

  • Vinny

    @chicagorilla- why shouldnt anyone before the 80′s be considered?

  • mitch

    how about most memorable rookie season?? (1990 and up, sorry I’m a youngin)
    my top 5:
    1. shaq: owned disneyland from day 1
    2(a,b). vince carter & jason williams: basically saving the nba after the 1999 lockout.
    3. lebron: just cause of the hype
    4. Allen Iverson: must watch tv, the anti-jordan
    5a. penny hardaway: the next magic
    5b. grant hill: was suppose to be the passing to the guards after jordan

  • http://www.psychodrama.com Chicagorilla

    @Vinny

    Its just that numbers were so inflated back then. Just look at the list. Elgin Baylor and Oscar Robertson are 6’5 wing players who grabbed 15 and 10rebs per game as rookies…for an entire season.

    The 80′s is when the talent pool really started to balance out (thanks in large part to Dr. J’s influence) and we had more teams and skilled players with talent spread throughout the NBA. Teams like the 80′s Dallas Mavericks would’ve run through the NBA back then, if not for the Lakers standing in their way. That’s just how competitive it was back then.
    I would maybe make a seperate list then.

  • http://www.psychodrama.com Chicagorilla

    @Vinny

    Its just that numbers were so inflated back then. Just look at the list. Elgin Baylor and Oscar Robertson are 6’5 wing players who grabbed 15 and 10rebs per game as rookies…for an entire season.

    The 80′s is when the talent pool really started to balance out (thanks in large part to Dr. J’s influence) and we had more teams and skilled players with talent spread throughout the NBA. Teams like the 80′s Dallas Mavericks would’ve run through the NBA back then, if not for the Lakers standing in their way. That’s just how competitive it was back then.
    I would maybe make a seperate list then.

  • Banny

    I’d say Grants stat line cuts it. He was a better rookie then Tyreke regardless of stats.

  • knicksfan84

    No Elton Brand love??? 20pts 10rebs 1.6blks co-rookie of the year…

  • http://www.cracked.com/funny-353-kobe-bryant/ Atom

    Walt Bellamy: 31.6 points and 19.0 boards + leading league in FGP? Damn. Easily least hyped player on the list and some of the most impressive stats. I see why he made that “How to Be a Player” movie.

  • http://brokejumper.com/ Brokejumper

    Great list, way to bring it back to the old school, Durant could be a honorable mention 20.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.4apg.

  • Ian

    duncan outside the top ten?!?! and a rookie that takes his team from 21 wins to the second round game 7 against the conference champs is only 9??? yeah right

  • star_bury

    Come on Aron, Wilt was not the third pick in the 1959 NBA draft. He was a territorial pick before the draft happened and a sketchy one at that…

  • Mars

    lol@lenard being mentioned.

    for me iverson rookie year is still one of the most amazing rookie ever

  • Vinny

    @chicagorilla
    I disagree- lets use the 72/73 season as an example.
    there were only 16 teams-the league started to get really watered down in the 80′s. there was more talent on each team. Wilt was playing against reed, bellamy,thurmond, lanier, jabbar. Thats just the center position. those centers would kill people if they played now! dont underestimate the overall talent back then.

  • Ian

    vinny
    reed like most ny athletes is overrated. its been a while since i bashed a knick so let me have this one in peace.