New York Knicks: RJ Barrett’s top five challengers for NBA Rookie of the Year

(Photo by Ryan McGilloway/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ryan McGilloway/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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new york knicks
New York Knicks (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images) /

Who are the biggest threats to the New York Knicks’ RJ Barrett winning the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year award?

The New York Knicks rarely had the chance to feature an NBA Rookie of the Year candidate over the past two decades. From draft picks just not succeeding or failing to have a first-round selection, their spot on the outside became consistent.

However, this could change in the 2019-20 NBA season, with RJ Barrett, the No. 3 pick of June’s draft.

Someone selected that high will carry high expectations. If he reaches them, whatever they may be, there is a chance he claims the Rookie of the Year honor and highlights a rebuilding Knicks team. The Canadian youngster has a chance.

Competition exists, though, from an intriguing rookie class around Barrett, including ex-teammates and a few of the highest picks from the most recent NBA Draft.

Who will Barrett have to defeat to win this prestigious award for first-year players? Let’s take a look:

Honorable Mentions

De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks: While the fourth pick in the draft, De’Andre Hunter is more polished defensively. His offensive numbers may take a few years to develop, leading to a smaller output as a rookie, especially with Jabari Parker, De’Andre Bembry and Evan Turner to contest playing time with. The Virginia product may still have a good year, but not enough to sit in contention.

Coby White, Chicago Bulls: Point guard is wide open in Chicago, and Coby White, who the New York Knicks once worked out, has the chance to take the opportunity. He could start by year’s end, but if the team takes a slower approach, building those stats will happen far too late in the season. Plus, Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr. and Lauri Markannen lead a cast of players ready to take their shots.

Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards: The Wizards’ mini facelift saw Rui Hachimura arrive in the draft, and he will have chances to play in the John Wall-less era. His play at Gonzaga looked dynamic at times, but without a proven three-pointer and work needed rebounding, this may not be the cleanest rookie year.