- Wilt Chamberlain
- Oscar Robertson
- Michael Jordan
- LeBron James
We take a look at the best rookie seasons in NBA history and try to determine who had the best one.
In his rookie season, Wilt Chamberlain came into the league and made an immediate impact. He averaged 37.6 points per game and 27.0 rebounds per game. He also set a rookie record by scoring 50 points in a game. Chamberlain went on to have a Hall of Fame career and is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Averaged 37.6 points per game
As a rookie in the 1959-60 season, Chamberlain averaged an incredible 37.6 points per game, which is still the record for most points per game by a rookie. He also grabbesteded 19.2 rebounds per game, another rookie record. Chamberlain’s incredible feats as a rookie led the Philadelphia Warriors to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 7.
Averaged 27.0 rebounds per game
As a rookie with the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1959-60 season, Chamberlain set the still-standing NBA rookie record by averaging 37.6 points per game. He also led the league in rebounding, averaging 27.0 rebounds per game, and blocked shots, with 4.4 per game, en route to being named Rookie of the Year and being selected to the All-Star Game and All-NBA First Team.
When discussing the greatest rookie seasons in NBA history, one name always stands out: Oscar Robertson. The “Big O” averaged a triple-double for the entire 1961-62 season, something that had never been done before and has only been done once since. Robertson was an absolutely incredible player, and his rookie season was one for the ages. Let’s take a closer look at his remarkable season.
Averaged 30.5 points per game
Oscar Robertson, nicknamed “The Big O”, is an American former professional basketball player who played for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks. The 6ft 5 in (1.96 m), 220-lb (100 kg) Robertson played point guard and was a 12-time All-Star, 11-time member of the All-NBA Team, and one-time winner of the MVP award in 14 NBA seasons. In 1962, he became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for the season with 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game, and remains the only player ever to average a triple-double over an entire season. His career scoring average of 25.7 points per game ranks sixth all-time, and his assists per game average of 9.5 is second only to John Stockton’s 10.5 average since the advent of assists as a statistical category in 1950–51. Robertson is also one of four players with at least 26,000 points (26,710), 9,000 assists (9887), and 7,000 rebounds (7522) in their careers; the other three are named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, and Jason Kidd.
On April 15, 2014, coinciding with his 81st birthday, it was announced that Robertson would be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor
Averaged 9.7 assists per game
In his rookie season, Robertson averaged 30.5 points, 9.7 assists, and 10.1 rebounds per game, becoming the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double over the course of a season. He was also named Rookie of the Year and was selected to the All-Star Game. Robertson set numerous records in his first season, including most points in a rookie debut, most points by a rookie in a single game, as well as becoming the first rookie to lead the league in scoring.
When you think of the greatest basketball player of all time, one name comes to mind: Michael Jordan. Jordan was so good that he was drafted third overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1984, despite only playing two years of college basketball at the University of North Carolina. Jordan went on to have one of the best rookie seasons in NBA history, averaging 28.2 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, and 5.9 assists per game. He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year and helped lead the Bulls to the playoffs.
Averaged 28.2 points per game
In his rookie season, Jordan averaged 28.2 points per game on 51.5 percent shooting, grabbed 6.5 rebounds and dished out 5.9 assists per game, leading the Bulls to a 38-44 record and a playoff berth. He was named Rookie of the Year and an All-Star starter, and set an NBA rookie record by scoring 740 points in his first 10 games.
Averaged 6.5 rebounds per game
As a rookie, Jordan averaged an impressive 28.2 points per game, which was the third highest average in NBA history at the time. He also averaged 6.5 rebounds per game and 5.9 assists per game. Jordan was named the NBA Rookie of the Year and was selected to the NBA All-Star team. He was also named to the All-NBA First Team and the All-Defensive First Team.
Averaged 5.9 assists per game
Michael Jordan is widely considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time. He was also an incredible rookie, averaging 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game.
rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James proved that he was one of the most talented players in the NBA. He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year, and he helped the Cavaliers reach the playoffs. LeBron’s rookie season was so successful that he was immediately considered one of the best players in the league.
Averaged 20.9 points per game
LeBron James came into the league with sky-high expectations and he more than lived up to them, winning the Rookie of the Year award after averaged 20.9 points, 5.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game. He became just the third player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, five assists and five rebounds per game as a rookie, joining Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan. He was also named to the All-Rookie First Team and became just the third rookie in NBA history to start in an All-Star Game.
Averaged 5.9 rebounds per game
LeBron James is often considered one of the best basketball players in the world and many experts have called him the greatest player of his generation. He is a three-time NBA champion, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. During his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron averaged 20.9 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, and 5.5 assists per game. He was the first rookie to be named All-Star Game MVP and he helped lead the Cavaliers to the playoffs. Many experts believe that LeBron had the best rookie season in NBA history.
Averaged 5.5 assists per game
LeBron James isn’t just the best player in the NBA, he’s also one of the most impressive rookies in league history. In his first season, James averaged 21 points, 5.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game. He became the first player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds per game as a rookie.