About three weeks into the 2022-23 NBA season, there is a clear frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award, but there are also two other men who could end up winning it if they get hot and remain hot for a good stretch of the season.
It may not seem likely, but it is certainly possible.
For now at least, these are the three top favorites:
1. Paolo Banchero
Had Chet Holmgren of the Oklahoma City Thunder not gotten injured during a pro-am game over the summer, this race could’ve been a lot more interesting.
But Paolo Banchero, the No. 1 overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, is off to a very strong start, and he’s even looking like he could become a special player down the line.
Through 11 games, he is putting up 23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game, and he has scored at least 30 points in both of his last two contests.
In fact, Banchero ranks very high in most fourth-quarter points.
Most points in the 4th quarter this season:
85 — Stephen Curry
77 — Kyrie Irving
77 — Paolo Banchero
Steph has the least amount of minutes played (73), most assists (14), highest eFG% (60.7%), and highest +/- (+15) out of anyone on this list. pic.twitter.com/zITHQBQi8h
— StephMuse (@stephmuse30) November 8, 2022
2. Bennedict Mathurin
Bennedict Mathurin is averaging 19.4 points a game for the Indiana Pacers, and he’s shooting 40.3 percent from 3-point range on 6.2 attempts per contest.
The thing that may hurt his chances is the presence of Tyrese Haliburton, who has emerged as the Pacers’ new star and possibly their franchise player moving forward, which will take some shots away from Mathurin.
3. Keegan Murray
Keegan Murray has had a rough stretch of games after coming out of the gates very strong by averaging 18.8 points a game and shooting the lights out in his first four contests.
But if he returns to that level of play, he could give Banchero a run for his money.