After posting a ridiculously early MVP ranking, I will now turn my attention to the NBA’s new kids on the block, The rookies. This year’s draft class presents a few names fans are sure to be familiar with. It’s been early but there are some rookies who have shined and look like they will have solid first years in the Association. Let’s take a look at who they are.
- Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: The rookie out of Slovenia has been as good as advertised. After playing overseas in the second best league in the world, Doncic’s transition has been as smooth as his step-back. He’s fit in nicely with the Mavericks, sharing ball-handling responsibilities with second year guard, Dennis Smith Jr.
- Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young bounced back nicely from his summer league and has hit the ground running similar to how he did in his lone season at Oklahoma. Young’s key attributes are his shooting and play-making ability, which he displayed he when scored 35 and dished out 11 assist against Cleveland.
- Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns: Ayton has the makings of a star. He’s big and athletic and runs the floor well. Being paired with Devin Booker gives Phoenix a strong young duo for the future.
- Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings: Bagley finds himself in a tough position trying to carve out minutes in a loaded Kings front-court. As a reserve, Bagley has provided Sacramento with an athletic rim runner who is a relentless on the glass. It shouldn’t be long until Bagley finds a spot in the starting lineup.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Los Angeles Clippers: SGA, much like Bagley, has been providing a nice impact for the Clippers’ second unit. He’s contributed in a variety of areas and looks like an early candidate for steal of the draft.
*Honorable Mention: Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves: Josh Okogie has been thrust into action with Jimmy Butler being out a game and the recent injury to Andrew Wiggins. Okogie has made the most of his opportunity and has showed Coach Tom Thibodeau that he’ll give the effort needed to earn minutes in a rotation that is usually tough for first year players to crack. According to NBA.com, Okogie leads all rookies in deflections and loose ball recovered. Okogie has had his career start sort of similar to the way Jimmy Butler had his, with effort and playing defense.
That’s it for the rookie rankings. I’ll be updating the list at the end of the month throughout the season. Be sure to check in for updates!