The Rookie of the Year Award in the NBA is one of the most honorable awards in the game of basketball. The player with the best performance in his rookie (first) season in the NBA during the regular season gets honored withthes title.
Also read: 5 Best NBA Rookies of all-time
Over the years, we have seen many great rookie seasons by one of the greatest players like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Allen Iverson. Till now in the NBA, we have seen 66 players being awarded this title. This title also indicates that the title holder can become the face of the league in the future.
Some players after having a great rookie season can become more of a threat than a bust but some could also take a U-turn from their improvement to a bust. It's all about making adjustments and improvements to survive in NBA's environment. 5 players who became a bust or went off-track after earning the Rookie of the Year title since 200-01 NBA season are listed here:
#5 Mike Miller
Back in the 2000 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic drafted Mike Miller as the 5th overall pick. He came out of the University of Florida and proved his durability by playing all 82 games during his rookie season.
During his rookie season, he averaged 11.9 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, and 1.7 assists per game. He was chosen as the Rookie of the Year and had some further good seasons. He was traded to many teams and played for Orlando, Memphis, Miami, Cleveland, Minnesota, Washington, and Denver. His stats declined since going to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The muddle with him was he relied more on his shooting than other skills and kept practicing them. He could not develop himself as an overall player and that is what kept him back from becoming a threat on the floor.
#4 Emeka Okafor
Emeka Okafor was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2004 NBA Draft as the 2nd overall pick. He put up and an average of 15.1 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game, and nearly 2 blocks per game during his rookie season and was awarded the 2005 NBA Rookie of the Year. He was seen as the future league leader. He exploded with a monster defensive abilities during his college career and was also hyped as one of the best big men in the coming years in the NBA.
Okafor suffered a back injury during his college career and had to go through a back surgery too. During his NBA career, he had some nagging back injuries which forced him to take a back-seat in his NBA career. After the 2012-13 NBA season, he had to leave NBA because of injury and recently he has been cleared medically to make a come back in the league again. He has been a great defender during his 9-year career but can we see a performance by him like he did during his rookie season?
#3 Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the 2009 NBA Draft and was the 4th overall pick. During his rookie season, he averaged 20.1 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, and 5.8 assists per game.
Evans became the 4th player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game in his rookie season including Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, and LeBron James. Evans was named Rookie of the Month 2 times and also recorded 1 triple-double. He was crowned with the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year title. Evans was then seen as the future idol of young players as a Point Guard.
The 6'5" Tyreke Evans went off-track from his prosperity because of Sacramento Kings' decision of playing Evans as a Shooting Guard/Small Forward. Evans didn't have a good jump shot, he wasn't athletic enough to play either at the Shooting Guard or Small Forward position. Also, the player development system of the Sacramento Kings was not good back then and still, they are struggling to train their players in the right way. Evans couldn't match with the skills and abilities of atypical Shooting Guard or a Small Forward and had to struggle a lot on the floor. That means his best season as a professional player was his rookie season.
#2 Michael Carter-Williams
The number 11 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers got an overnight hype after putting up 22 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists, and 9 steals in his debut game against the Miami Heat which had superstars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Williams, after his 1st game was seen as a future elite Point Guard.Through his Rookie season, Williams averaged 16.7 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, 6.3 assists per game, and 1.9 steals per game. In 2014, he was named as the Rookie of the Year. But the 76ers didn't see Williams as their future leader and they traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks.
As being confident is the biggest asset of a player in basketball, Williams lost his confidence when he was traded to the Bucks. He was the Rookie of the Year for the 76ers but they traded him after doing so much for the team. Williams was not so confident about his skills and that's why he fell off. He is now without a team after being waived by the Orlando Magic.
#1 Brandon Roy
Brandon Roy was the Rookie of the Year for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007. He was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2006 but was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Roy put up some impressive numbers on the stat sheet during his rookie season with an average of 16.9 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, and 4.0 assists per game. Due to a heel injury, he could only play 57 games in that season but was selected as the Rookie of the Year with 1 vote shy to be the Unanimous Rookie of the Year.
He played 4 more seasons with the Blazers but injuries always bothered him and he missed several games every season. Due to many nagging injuries, his career went down, he couldn't keep up the pace he had during his rookie season.
In the 2011-12 NBA season, Roy announced his retirement from the league due to knee issues. In the next season he made a comeback with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but during the Preseason games, he suffered another injury and the Timberwolves ultimately waived him and he didn't come back since.