This year’s rookie class has been absolutely stacked. There are even several second rounders making a huge impact on their respective teams. This deep draft class is probably one of the best classes the NBA has had in a while.
It was very tough to find the most impressive rookies this season, but here is a list of the cream of the crop.
Herb Jones – New Orleans Pelicans
Jones has been a surprising addition to the Pelicans roster this year. The second rounder has given this team a very capable defender and an excellent shooter that they can depend on. On the season, he’s averaging 9.6 points, 3.9 boards, 2.1 dimes, 1.4 steals and 0.9 blocks a game on 50% from the field, 36% from three and 86% from the line. He’s easily in contention for one of the all-rookie teams and his consistent play has been noteworthy. Expect Jones to continue being a starter while Zion Williamson continues to nurse his foot problem. Who knows, maybe New Orleans will continue giving him major minutes even when Williamson comes back.
Ayo Dosunmu – Chicago Bulls
Another second rounder, this guy’s got it going on in the absence of Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball. On the season, he’s averaging 8.1 points, 2.8 boards, 3.1 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.4 blocks on 52% from the field, 41% from three and 68% from the line. However, over the last month he has been averaging 11 points, 3.9 boards, 6.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.4 blocks a game on 49% from the field 44% from three and 86% from the line. Dosunmu is one of the best rookies this season and his playmaking has been absolutely astounding for a rookie. He’s averaging 6.6 assists compared to 1.7 turnovers a game over the last month. Once Lavine, Ball and Caruso come back, he’s going to back down to earth but his recent play should garner him some decent playing time off the bench. Expect him to continue playing big minutes in the absence of Caruso and Ball.
Austin Reaves – Los Angeles Lakers
Reaves has been a good player for this porous Lakers squad. He’s averaging 6.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.3 steals, and 0.3 blocks a game on 49% from the field, 33% from three and 82% from the line. Despite the low numbers, Reaves has been a good contributor from a non-statistical standpoint. Over the last couple of weeks, he has averaged 9.3 points, 2.3 boards, 1.5 assists, 0.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks on 67% from the field and 57% from the line. He’s going to stay in the rotation for the foreseeable future so expect him to continue developing.
Scottie Barnes – Toronto Raptors
Barnes was a surprising pick when he was chosen fourth overall, but his play has been very consistent and good this year. He has averaged 14.4 points, 7.4 boards, 3.3 assists, one steal, and 0.8 blocks a game on 47% from the field, 31% from three and 73% from the line. Barnes is in a tight two-man race with Evan Mobley for rookie of the year. In a couple of years, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Barnes as an all-star. Not to mention, one of the best two-way players in the league. Expect Barnes to continue leading all rookies in minutes this year (he’s averaging 35.4 minutes a game this year).
Franz Wagner – Orlando Magic
Wagner is also one of the best rookies in this year’s extremely deep draft class. Over the course of this season, he has been averaging a healthy 15.6 points, 4.6 boards, three assists, 0.9 steals and 0.5 blocks a game on 47% from the field, 36% from three and 85% from the line. Wagner has been a very pleasant surprise this season and honestly, everyone on this squad is developing nicely. Chuma Okeke has looked like a three and D menace while Jalen Suggs has looked much more confident. Wagner along with his teammates are looking really promising right now and they could make some noise in the future.
Featured image courtesy of Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
“From Our Haus to Yours“