TORONTO — Raptors forward Scottie Barnes edged Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley to win the 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, with the 15-point difference between them marking the smallest gap over the 20 seasons the NBA has conducted the voting under its current format.
Barnes, who returned to action Saturday in Game 4 of Toronto’s Eastern Conference first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers after missing Games 2 and 3 with a sprained left ankle, had 48 first-place votes and finished with 358 points, while being listed on every ballot.
Mobley, meanwhile, had 43 first-place votes and was named to 99 of the 100 ballots.
Barnes, the fifth overall pick out of Florida State, averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.08 steals, 0.74 blocks and 35.4 minutes in 74 games for Toronto, leading all rookies in minutes, ranking third in points and rebounds and finishing fifth in assists, steals and blocks.
He won the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Award the past two months of the season, and becomes the third Raptor — after Damon Stoudamire in 1996 and Vince Carter in 1999 — to win the honor as the league’s top rookie.
“What you see on the court is exactly who Scottie is: enthusiastic. Joyful. Athletic. Skilled, and a winner,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “We — and our fans — loved seeing his development through this season, and we can’t wait to see what the future brings.”
Mobley, who was picked third by Cleveland out of USC, averaged 15 points and 8.3 rebounds in 69 games for the Cavaliers, helping turn them back into a playoff contender for the first time since LeBron James left the franchise four years ago.
Following Barnes, who was honored with the award before Game 4, and Mobley in the voting were Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, the top overall pick, who received the other nine first-place votes; Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green, the second overall pick, who had one second-place vote; Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner, the eighth overall pick, who received two third-place votes; and New Orleans Pelicans forward Herb Jones, the 35th overall pick, who picked up a single third-place vote.