nba all-rookie
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley joins young stars like LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards on ESNY’s All-Rookie First Team.

Danny Small

The NBA All-Rookie teams are always controversial. The typical ups and downs of a rookie season mean there are always going to be difficult choices — and potential snubs.

All-Rookie teams often don’t hold up over time, but these 10 players are picked based on their rookie seasons. Let’s take a look at ESNY’s 2020-21 All-Rookie Teams.

2020-21 All-Rookie Teams

First Team

LaMelo Ball — Charlotte Hornets
Anthony Edwards — Minnesota Timberwolves
Tyrese Haliburton — Sacramento Kings
Immanuel Quickley — New York Knicks
Desmond Bane — Memphis Grizzlies

Second Team

Saddiq Bey — Detroit Pistons
Jae’Sean Tate — Houston Rockets
Isaiah Stewart — Detroit Pistons
Patrick Williams — Chicago Bulls
Facundo Campazzo — Denver Nuggets

All-Rookie First Team

The first four on this list were locks to make the First Team here. Despite missing some time, LaMelo Ball has been nothing short of spectacular in his rookie season. Although he seemed to lose his three-point shooting touch after his return from injury, he still finishes the year averaging 15.7 points on 44/25/76 shooting splits. But it’s everything else that Ball can do that makes him so valuable — his rebounding, passing, playmaking.

Anthony Edwards probably deserves more recognition in the Rookie of the Year race. Although he started the year off hot and cold, Edwards averaged 23.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in his last 16 games. The Timberwolves went 9-7 during that span.

Tyrese Haliburton was another easy call. His poise as a ballhandler and ability to knock down threes made him an instant contributor for Sacramento. The Iowa State product became one of the team’s top options, finishing second on the Kings in fourth-quarter scoring (4.3) only behind De’Aaron Fox.

New Yorkers already know all about Immanuel Quickley. The unheralded draft pick made a fast impression on New York Knicks fans with his Steph Curry-esque range and Chris Paul-esque floater. Some might leave Quickley off of their First Team ballots because he faded down the stretch of the season, but that’s only telling part of the story. While other rookies were given space to learn and grow in meaningless games, Quickley is playing for one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

There were a few guys who could fill the final spot on the First Team, but Desmond Bane is as deserving as anyone. Similar to Quickley, Bane has a role on a team playing meaningful games. He knocked down 43.2% of his threes on 4.0 attempts per game. Bane is a shotmaker who fits like a glove on Memphis.

All-Rookie Second Team

This is where things always get tough when it comes to the All-Rookie selections. Saddiq Bey put up similar numbers to Bane, but the latter was more efficient as a shooter and did it on a winning team. Bey deserves a ton of credit for his red-hot May. He averaged 17.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in his last nine games.

Jae’Sean Tate is another rookie who took advantage of his situation. There were minutes to be had in Houston and Tate flashed serious potential. The undrafted 25-year-old is one of the feel-good stories of this rookie class.

Isaiah Stewart continues our Second Team theme of rookies playing on bad teams. Stewart posted eight double-doubles in his rookie year and even shot a respectable 33.3% from deep.

Patrick Williams may not be as flashy as some of the other guys on these All-Rookie teams, but he is deserving of his spot on the Second Team. Despite being overshadowed by Zach LaVine’s breakout year and the trade for Nikola Vucevic, Williams had a strong all-around season for the Bulls.

Facundo Campazzo is not your average rookie. He’s a former star in Europe who finally made the leap to the NBA. The Argentinian point guard was crucial for the Nuggets after Jamal Murray was lost for the season. His craftiness on offense and peskiness on defense worked wonders for the Nuggets this year.