15 NBA legends who never won Rookie of the Year

The 2024 NBA Draft will hopefully feature a new generation of stars but only one can win Rookie of the Year and here are 15 NBA legends who never won the award.
Ray Allen v Kobe Bryant
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2) Paul Pierce

Selected with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, Paul Pierce made an immediate impact on the Boston Celtics and established himself as a rising star in the league, scoring 19 or more points in 11 of his first 12 games. He also showed his defensive prowess and a knack for rebounding, recording at least 3 steals in 16 games and three double-doubles. Throughout his rookie campaign, he averaged 16.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.

Unfortunately for Pierce, the Celtics were terrible when he entered the league. Team success tends to impact voting for end-of-season awards and despite being the sole player to rank in the top five in points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game among all rookies, Pierce finished third in ROY voting behind runner-up Jason Williams and Vince Carter who won the award.

Although he wasn’t crowned ROY, his production and impact didn't go unnoticed as he earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors for his efforts, solidifying his status as one of the top young talents in the NBA.

Overall, Pierce showcased his scoring prowess, defensive skills, and ability to perform under pressure, laying the foundation for a successful NBA career. His contributions to the Celtics during his rookie year set the stage for a storied Hall of Fame career.