Cade Cunningham is the top NBA rookie, for ESPN rankings

Cade Cunningham is the best rookie in the NBA, according to one metric.

Despite being the No. 1 pick last season and leading first-year players in several categories, Cunningham is considered a long shot to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award. And that could be due a cold start to the season and the Detroit Pistons’ struggles.

While Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley held critical – albeit not leading – roles for playoff-bound teams, Cunningham starred for a Pistons outfit that, as expected, spent much of the season in the Eastern Conference cellar.

But who would you rather start a franchise with?

[ Pistons’ Cade Cunningham won’t rest this offseason. He plans to reach ‘next level’ ]

ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Kevin Pelton and Mike Schmitz ranked the 25 best NBA players under 25 years old, and Cunningham topped all rookies while finishing No. 6 overall. The ranking is based on the past season and future potential and is an average of each analyst’s ballot.

To no surprise, Cunningham fell behind All-Stars such as Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic, but each of the panelists had Cunningham as the top rookie. Schmitz had him highest of anyone, at No. 4 – above players such as Trae Young, Zion Williamson and LaMelo Ball. Marks ranked him sixth and Pelton 11th.

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