By Hocine LOUKKAF on 2/8/2023

Month by month, Duren is proving he was worth at least a top ten pick while Kessler is turning the Gobert trade into one of the worst move ever for the Wolves.

Paolo Banchero, 6-10 PF, Orlando Magic
Stats : 20.3pts 6.6rbds 3.7as, 20.1pts 5.9rbds 3.2as in January

Banchero has been a bit inconsistent with four games under 32% FG  in January and seven with 25% or below from three on four attempts or more. Yet, he has helped the Magic having a neutral month (7-7) with wins against OKC, New Orleans, Boston or Philadelphia.

Jalen Duren, 6-10 C, Detroit Pistons
Stats : 8.3pts 8.7rbds 0.8bl, 12.9pts 9.3rbds 1.3st 1.3bl 76% FG 79% FT in January

Despite the losses, Duren is turning into a defensive monster and an ultra-efficient scorer. In only eight games played due to the Paris games, Duren recorded three double-doubles, has six games with at least one block and one steal and had five games with 62+% FG and 75% FT. The current youngest NBA player is proving he’s worth much more than a 13th pick.

Jalen Williams, 6-6 SG/SF, OKC Thunder
Stats : 11.7pts 4rbds 2.8as 50% FG, 13.6pts 4.5rbds 3.1as 2st in January

With a 9-5 record in January, OKC is not targeting the draft anymore and Jalen Williams is one of the reasons. The swingman had nine games with 53+% FG in January despite shooting 32% from three. He’s also a nice creator with a 2+ a/to ratio.

Walker Kessler, 7-0 C, Utah Jazz
Stats : 7.9pts 7.4rbds 2.1bl 72% FG, 10pts 9.5rbds 2.3bl  69% FG in January

Almost a double-double for Kessler in January with a 20-20 double double against … Minnesota, the same team that traded him and multiple players/picks for Gobert. Like Duren, he has been very efficient offensively with only two games under 66% FG. FT shooting looks like the main weakness he has to work on (52%).

Keegan Murray, 6-8 SF/PF, Sacramento Kings
Stats : 12.1pts 4.6rbds 41% 3pt, 14pts 5.9 49% 3pt on 6.5attpts in January

Murray has been hot from outside with a stunning 49% on 6+ attempts, helping the Kings record 9-6 in January. He’s also been pretty consistent with at least 8pts in each game and only one game under 33% 3pt despite shooting at least three attempts in each game. Rebounding has also improved making him a complete and useful forward.

Jaden Ivey, 6-4 SG/PG, Detroit Pistons
Stats : 15.2pts 4.6rbds 3.9as, 15.2pts 5.6as 4.3rbds in January

January has been tough for the Pistons but Ivey has proved he could create for his teammates  (eight games with 5as or more). Outside shooting is still a work in progress with 32% from three.

Jeremy Sochan, 6-9 PF/SF, San Antonio
Stats : 9.9pts 4.8rbds 2.5as, 12.4pts 5.3rbds 2.9as 38% 3pt in January

Despite the Spurs tanking all the way down to get Wemby, Sochan is emerging as the kind of glue guy you like to have on your roster. What has changed in his stats is the shooting as he averaged a nice 38% 3pt, his obvious weakness until now.

Tari Eason, 6-7 PF/SF, Houston Rockets
Stats : 8.6pts 5.7rbds 1.1st 36% 3pt, 8.4pts 6.1rbds 0.9st 0.8bl in January

Playing for another mediocre team, Eason has been solid defensively with 6.1rbds 0.9st and 0.8bl in 20min per game. Shooting was inconsistent with 31% 3pt but at least you know you can count on him on both ends of the floor.

Bennedict Mathurin, 6-6 SG/SF, Indiana Pacers
Stats : 17.4pts 4.2rbds, 19.5pts 4.9rbds in January

One of the best scorer of this rookie class, Mathurin is kinda weird to understand as he has improved his overall FG % while having a mediocre month from three (27.5%). He closed January with a streak of five 20pt games. If he could find efficiency both inside and outside the 3pt line, he would defnitely be a consistent 20+pt scorer.

AJ Griffin, 6-6 SF, Atlanta Hawks
Stats : 9.7pts 41% 3pt 92% FT, 8.1pts 57% FG, 54% 3pt

Last but not least, another intriguing rookie as the former Blue Devil has shot an incredible 57% FG including 53% 3pt for the month (even 100% FT albeit on a very small sample). He’s not contributing a lot in any other category but is almost averaging 50-40-90 (48.6% FG for the moment), which is rare for any player, above all a rookie.