By Hocine LOUKKAF on 4/21/2018
Before the very deep 2018 draft, let’s take a look at the best rookies of the season with two of them, Mitchell and Simmons, set to be part of the NBA brightest stars in the years to come.
#1 Ben Simmons (6-9 PG, Philadelphia)/Donovan Mitchell (6-4 SG, Utah)
First of all, let’s put away the debate. Simmons didn’t play last season so he’s a rookie. Now, let’s talk basketball. Simmons has been one of the best rookie ever, averaging 15.8pts, 8.2as, 8.1rbds and 1.7blk while handling PG duties at 6-9. Mitchell’s stats may not be as fancy, but he’s basically replaced Hayward from day one with averages of 20.5pts, 3.7rbds, 3.7as and 1.5st, despite shooting only 43% from the field and 34% from three. I understand people who think Simmons is the undeniable ROTY, yet with individual and team success, Mitchell has been a surprise and is set to have a great career. Congrats to both of them!
#3 Jayson Tatum (6-9 SF, Boston)
For a rookie who played just one year in college, Tatum has poise beyond the years. The big forward wasn’t perfect as he had lapses of inconsistency. His averages of 13.9pts 5rbds and 1.6as are good, yet Tatum has the physical attributes to improve his rebounding and defense and be a better all around player in the years to come. A great catch for the Celtics.
#4 Lonzo Ball (6-6 PG, LA Lakers)
Lonzo should not be the victim of his family’s antics. Of course, he has to improve his horrendous 36% FG and 31% 3pt, yet it’s rare to find such a young player with such an incredible all around game. His 7.2as, 6.9rbds, 1.7stl, 0.9blk and an almost 3 a/to ratio scream versatility and if he manages to have an average shooting percentage, he will be a star in this league.
#5 Kyle Kuzma (6-9 PF, LA Lakers)
LA Lakers part two. One of the steals of this draft, Kuzma wasn’t expected to be as successful. In a league of shooters, Kuzma came at the perfect time. With 16pts on 36% from three and 6.3rbds, the stretch four will be part of the Lakers’ future. He still has to work on being a better rebounder and defender at the four as he’s a bit a tweener but sky is the limit for him.
#6 Lauri Markannen (7-0 PF, Chicago)
One of the better 2.0 version of Nowitzki. The Finnish has had the opportunity to play a lot as a rookie and did pretty well with 15.2pts 7.5rbds on 36% from three. Like every newcomer, above all the inside players, Markannen has to gain weight and be more solid as he shot under 50% inside the 3pt lane. A very good recruit for the Bulls who we’ll follow in the near future.
#7 John Collins (6-9 PF, Atlanta)
10.5pts 7.3rbds and 1blk in 24min is pretty efficient, we can even ask why Collins didn’t play more for the tanking Hawks. An athletic freak, Collins has shown promises for the future as a spectacular dunker who has developed his outside J throughout the year. Collins could become as one of the top PF in the Eastern conference and hopefully help Atlanta’s rebuilding.
#8 Bogdan Bogdanovic (6-6 SG, Sacramento)
Of course, Bogdanovic is not your typical rookie as he was one of the top Euroleague’s player before joining the League. A complete SG, Bogdanovic averages 11.8pts 3.3as and 2.9rbds despite some inconsistency. His outside shooting (39% from three) and creativity make him a good fit next to the more athletic De’Aron Fox. Wait for Bogdan to have a breakout sophomore year.
#9 Dennis Smith Jr (6-3 PG, Dallas)
Already one of the most athletic players in the League, Smith Jr has to keep working on his outside J (31% 3pt) and overall basketball IQ (2.8to for 5.2as). “Thanks” to the Mavs’ poor year, Smith Jr may have an inside force to create a one two punch and help him be more efficient. Obviously someone to follow in his sophomore year.
#10 Jarett Allen (6-11 C, Brooklyn)
The Nets are not known for their drafting talents, but they may have gotten the jackpot with Allen. One of the youngest NBA players, Allen is the kind of rim protectors who every team needs. With 5.4rbds and 1.2blk in 20min, without forgetting 8.2pts on 59% FG, Allen could be the cornerstone of the Net’s inside sector. If the Nets can add a stretch four to help Allen, he will have even more space to domiante inside.
Best of the rest :
Josh Jackson (13.1pts 4.6rbds) has to work on his versatility and shooting to become Sun’s starting SF. Teodosic (9.5pts 4.6as) and Tyrone Wallace (9.7pts 3.5rbds 2.4as) have been immediate contributors for the Clippers. De’Aaron Fox (11.6pts 4.4as) has incredible speed and has shown improvement during the year. Adebayo (6.9pts 5.5rbds) has found a role as a perfect rotation at the C spot. Markelle Fultz (7.1pts 3.1rbds 3.8as) has not played a lot but it was enough to bright on a few occasions. Last but not least, Jordan Bell (4.6pts 3.6rbds 1.8as 1blk) and OG Anunoby (5.9pts 2.5rbds) used the defense they were picked for to gain playing time for championship contenders.
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