By hocine LOUKKAF on 5/10/2019
In a very deep draft pool, Luka Doncic and Trae Young have proved to be the most interesting players for their rookie year. They might not end up the best but let’s give them the credit they deserve for their successful seasons.
Luka Doncic, 6-8 SF/SG , Dallas Mavericks
21.7pts 7.8rbds 6as
The do-it-all swingman from Slovenia has taken the League by storm. The only rookie to average more than 20pts 7rbds and 5as since Robertson, 8 triple doubles and numerous decisive actions which make him a franchise and clutch player before playing a sole playoff game. Doncic is not perfect and will have to keep working on his conditioning and athleticism but he definitely got that “it” thing to be not only a star, but a winner in the NBA.
Trae Young, 6-2 PG, Atlanta Hawks
For most of the season, Young was unfairly compared to his draft-day trade mate Doncic (the Hawks may still have a top ten pick to use from Dallas). Yet, as the season advanced, he proved the doubters wrong and displayed flashes of greatness. He flirted with the 20pts/10as season average, had numerous 30pts 10as games while averaging only 32% from three. He’s also in the good team to get results with Huerter, Collins and potentially two lottery picks to help the trio. Definitely a player to follow next year.
DeAndre Ayton, 7-0 C, Phoenix Suns
As efficient as he may be offensively, Ayton’s season left a bitter taste due to the poor results of the Suns. Despite the lack of a true PG, a dominant center should help a team get more wins, and that has not been the case for Ayton. He averaged less than a block in 30min and may lack that impact on D that Phoenix needs so much. We’ll see which player will be picked in the draft but much more is expected from Ayton next year.
Mitchell Robinson, 7-1 C, New York Knicks
7.3pts 6.4rbds 2.4bl in 20min
Pure efficiency. Despite not playing a minute of college basketball and getting drafted in the second round, Robinson understood almost right away what he could bring. High percentage shots, incredible defensive presence, Robinson is the kind of player who doesn’t ask for the ball but brings so much for his team. Besides his rebounding, shot blocking and FG % numbers, he almost never loses the ball and could end up a more than average FT shooter. Undeniably the steal of this draft !!
Marvin Bagley, 6-10 PF, Sacramento Kings
Bagley’s contribution from the bench has been one of the reasons of the King’s impressive season. As a player who can play both PF and small ball five, the former Blue Devil has been efficient right away and has time to correct his mistakes. Like Ayton, he may lack some impact of defense and needs to develop a more reliable outside shot. If he can work on that, he may be Sacramento’s starter for some years at the four spot.
Jaren Jackson Jr, 6-11 PF, Memphis Grizzlies
13.8pts 4.7rbds 1.4bl
Sidelined after the All Star Game due to a quad injury, the Grizzlies’ PF has left the same impression as when he was in college. Sometimes, he looks like a future franchise player with his mix of size, athleticism and shooting. Too often he disappears due to foul troubles or simpley lack of consistency (ten games under 8pts). When looking at his statline, JJJ must control his fouls and be more assertive on the boards. If he can work on that, he could turn into a dominant player for Memphis.
Shai Gilgeous Alexander; 6-6 PG, LA Clippers
10.8pts 3.3as 1.2st
The lanky PG from Toronto may not have the most eye-popping stats but he did play 82 games, starting 73 of them while playing 26min per night for a team that reached the playoffs and did pretty well against the Warriors. What is even more interesting is that his shooting numbers from three (19 for 32 in March despite a poor 1/8 in four games in April), and assist to turnover ratio (more than 3 over March and April) got better as the season advanced. A nice addition for the Clips and a perfect fit alongside Lou Will.
Collin Sexton, 6-2 PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
It has been a tough season for the diminutive scorer from Cleveland. After a slow start, he displayed the ability to be a great scorer but with poor passing numbers and for a team that was already tanking early in the season. Things got worse from December to March as Sexton hit that rookie wall while shooting below 40% from the field in January and February. Finally, he started to get it all together in March with more than 20pts per game with a nice 50/40/80 shooting line. Sexton may never be a pure PG but does have that never-give-up attitude that the Cavaliers need to rebuild.
Kevin Huerter, 6-6 SG, Atlanta Hawks
9.7pts 3.3rbds 2.9as
You don’t choose the team that picks you. If he was in a better team, for instance the Clippers, Huerter would have been more talked about. The Red Mamba has that versatility to create game for himself, shooting a nice 38.5% from three on almost five attempts, but also for his teammates with numerous 5+ assists game, while protecting the ball well (less than 1.5to per game over the last three months). He’s a nice fit alongside Young and is definitely one of the reasons why the future seems bright for the Hawks.
Landry Shamet, 6-5 SG, LA Clippers
9.1pts 42% 3pt
The former Wichita State star has been pretty lucky for a 26th pick. After a poor start in October, he was given a solid 20min per game with the Sixers shooting more than 40% from three on almost five attempts. He got even more lucky when he was trated to the Clippers and given even more playing time…and shooting tickets (almost seven attempts from three in March). Shamet will need to work on his athleticism not to be labeled as a shooting-only threat, but his prowess from outside will secure him a spot in this league for a long time.
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