best nba rookie of all time oscar robertson

7 NBA Players Who Had the Best Rookie Seasons of All Time

It was Ben Simmons, followed by Luka Doncic.

Now it could be Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, or RJ Barrett. 

NBA fans have seen rookies, and here are the best rookies of all time.

The best NBA rookies of all time

7) Hakeem Olajuwon

Olajuwon would not be The Dream if not for bringing the Houston Rockets to the finals and eventually winning the championships on his second NBA season. He played for 35.5 minutes in 82 games during the 1984-85 season—the year he was drafted. His average score was 20.6 points and 12 rebounds.

At only 22, Olajuwon became one of Twin Towers – the other one being Ralph Sampson. He stayed with the Rockets for 17 years. Olajuwon had one MVP award.

6) LeBron James

James was the No.1 overall draft pick in 2003, at only 19 years old. No one was more hyped than he was, coming into the NBA.

During his rookie season, he played for almost 40 minutes per game. His averages included 21 points, six assists, and 1.6 steals. Cleveland Cavaliers won 35 games on James’ rookie season.

5) Tim Duncan

Duncan was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1997. He was known for his old school game that eventually made him one of the greatest, if not the greatest, power forward in NBA history. 

He went on to play with San Antonio Spurs, bringing them 56 wins on his rookie season, averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds. In his sophomore season, the Spurs won the championship.

4) Allen Iverson

Iverson was the No. 1 overall draft pick for 2006-07 when the Philadelphia 76ers were struggling. 

Iverson did bring the changes that the franchise and the fans were looking for—he was their beacon of hope. He played for 40 minutes per game, bringing in 22 wins for the Sixers. He averaged 23.5 points and 7.5 assists. It was also his career second highest. And two after that, he led the team to its finals appearance.

3) Larry Bird

Bird turned the debilitating Boston Celtics around when he arrived in the team in 1979-80 season. He also helped in bringing the team’s first three championships after his draft in 1981.

He averaged 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 4.5 assists while also giving Celtics a 32-win improvement.

2) David Robinson

Robinson was 1987’s first overall pick. However, he played after two years with the Spurs. Robinson was then committed to serving the Navy.

When he was able to play, he scored 24.3 points and 12 rebounds. Robinson gave the Spurs the most significant leap from 21 to 56 wins. He led the team for seven consecutive playoffs appearance and eventually won two championships. He changed the franchise long before Duncan played with the team.

1) Oscar Robertson

Robertson has the greatest rookie season, becoming a rookie in 1960. He averaged 30.5 points, ten rebounds, and 9.7 assists. He also averaged triple-double in his sophomore year.

Robertson, as he was paired with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, gave his team (Cincinnati Royals, which later became known as Kansas City then Sacramento Kings) their seven consecutive playoff appearances.

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Among Williamson, Morant, and Barrett, who do you think has the best rookie season yet? Let us know!

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