By Hocine LOUKKAF on 11/12/2018
A few weeks after the start of the season, let’s go on some predictions on the potential best rookies, MIPs and sixth men at the end of the year.
Top five rookies
-Wendell Carter, 6-10 C, Chicago. One of the youngest yet most mature rookies, Carter Jr has a variety of offensive and defensive skills which may make him one of the most unique centers in the League. Could become Chicago’s glue guy in the years to come.
-Luka Doncic, 6-8 SF/SG, Dallas. The do-it-all swingman has the keys to lead Dallas. He’s a creative passer who has the shot to score from outside. His craftiness also allows him to exist on the boards and to mix it up inside.
-Deandre Ayton, 7-0 C, Phoenix. Ayton is a very talented offensive player who has shown promises as a passing big man. He now needs to work on becoming a more respected defender.
-Trae Young, 6-2 PG, Atlanta. Despite his lack of height/strength and athleticism, Young is an elite baller. Once he will get used to the NBA bodies, he will find ways to and make him and his team score.
-Marvin Bagley, 6-10 PF, Sacramento. The former Dukie has the will to make his presence felt in the paint on both ends while displaying consistency from three. A good pick for the rising Kings
Wildcard. Jackson Jr and Bamba may take some time to be 100% efficient. If they figure out early enough what their coach expect from them, they may become contenders.
Top five Most Improved Players
-De’Aaron Fox, 6-2 PG, Sacramento. Fox has been the leading PG Sacramento has been searching for for years. He has become a threat from the high post and behind the three point line while showing the same quickness and athleticism which made him a high pick.
-Javale McGee, 7-0 C, LA Lakers. For years, McGee has been used as a gadget with less than 20min per game since the 12-13 season. As the starter for the Lakers, he will have playing time to show at 30 that he’s a legit dominant big man.
-Zach Lavine, 6-6 SG, Chicago. Lavine is showing why the Bulls traded Butler. He has the talent to be a top 5 scorer and has regained his athleticism after his injury. If he can become more efficient, he could form an elite trio with Carter Jr and Markannen.
-Rodney McGruder, 6-4 SG, Miami. The former undrafted guard is now a starter and has been efficient, displaying his toughness, versatility as a passer and rebounder.
-Nemanja Bjelica, 6-10 PF, Sacramento. With only six more minutes per game than last year, the former best player in Europe has doubled almost all his stats while stabilizing the four spot for the Kings with his shooting.
Top five sixth men
-Lou Williams, 6-2 SG, LA Clippers. The usual suspect for sixth man of the year, Williams is the same high scoring dynamo from the bench for the Clips.
-Domantas Sabonis, 6-10 PF/C, Indiana. Sabonis may not be the longest or most athletic big man but he over achives on a consistent basis with high percentage shots, rebounding and defense which give him one of the best PER of the league.
-Julius Randle, 6-10 PF, New Orleans. Randle has the same role as Sabonis as the first big coming from the bench. This situation puts less pressure on him which result, like Sabonis, in high FG %and many rebounds.
-JJ Reddick, 6-3 SG, Philadelphia. In a team with some non-shooting starters (Fultz, Simmons), Reddicks’s shooting brings points and spacing.
-Montrezl Harell, 6-8 PF, LA Clippers. A real energizer coming from the bench, Harrell gives 150% on the floor. He’s quick, strong and long enough to defend multiple positions in the modern small ball.
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