NBA Draft

Which Rookies Have Impressed The Most So Far?

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Three weeks into the 2020-21 NBA season, rookies from the 2020 draft are starting to make an impact. The fresh blood usually has a buffer with the NBA Summer League, but this was out of the question with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Some players had an eight-month hiatus compared to NBA draftees. LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton played overseas, and James Wiseman, who hadn’t played competitive ball in almost a year, are notable outliers. Thankfully, the NBA is witnessing great basketball from its rookies.

Let’s take a look at rookies who are emerging in this year’s ROY conversation.

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets

LaMelo Ball has been tremendous so far this year off the Charlotte Hornets’ bench, helping lead the team to a 6-5 record– good for fifth in the East right now. The No. 3 overall pick made history as the youngest player to record a triple-double. Averaging12.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists across 25.3 minutes per game, Ball has not disappointed in the slightest.

Basketball fans should not be surprised if we see Melo in the starting lineup soon, but if we don’t, Head Coach James Borrego will continue using Ball as the team’s bench ignitor.

James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors

With Klay Thompson suffering a season-ending Achilles injury the day before the draft, the Golden State Warriors needed to figure out quickly what to do next– and they’ve landed a potential star in Memphis center James Wiseman.

Wiseman went from only playing three games in college to starting for the Warriors. Golden State is currently tied for fourth in the West at 6-4, where two-time MVP Steph Curry is leading the way once again. Wiseman has fit well with veterans in Curry and Draymond Green, who stated that he would bring the talented big man under his wing and bring out his potential. The No. 2 pick is averaging 10.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks over 20.7 minutes per game.

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Wiseman is on the road to being a great two-way big man, where his defensive game complements his offense.

Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings

Even as a rookie, there is no question about the impact Tyrese Haliburton has made for the Sacramento Kings. Haliburton was the No. 12 pick and is looking like the steal of the selection thus far. Alongside De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, the poised rookie is a seamless fit for the up-tempo Kings.

Haliburton led the NBA in offensive rating as of January 8th (142.4) and has the fourth-best assist-to-turnover ratio. The Kings are clawing their way at 5-6 thus far, but the Wisconsin native is off to an awesome start, averaging 12.1 points, 5.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds across 28.6 minutes per game.

Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

Outside of his worst performance of the season by far last night against the Spurs, the No. 1 pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves has played well off the bench, scoring double digits in all but two games thus far. Minnesota is just 3-7 through their first ten games, though, so his impact isn’t felt as much as the T-Wolves had hoped.

Living up to being the dynamic scorer in his draft class, Edwards has logged 13.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 25.5 minutes per night. It is uncertain if Edwards would start this year, but it should not be surprising if he does.

https://twitter.com/CourtsideFilms/status/1347545850260697089?s=20

Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons

Despite Killian Hayes garnering most of the initial attention, the Detroit Pistons still have a future star in Saddiq Bey. Shooting just south of 45% from three-point range, Bey is showcasing his shot selection and playing incredible defense. LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton and James Wiseman are the most-talked-about rookies in this draft class so far, but basketball fans are sleeping on Bey. Despite Detroit being near the bottom of East with two wins, Bey’s numbers aren’t bad for a rebuilding Detroit team.

The Villanova forward is fifth in scoring (10.6 PPG) and fourth in rebounding (4.7 RPG) among rookies. A wonderful future beckons for Bey, who is set to become an everyday starter sooner than later.

https://twitter.com/DurantHours/status/1347194252669890560?s=20

Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics

2020’s 26th selection has been called upon earlier than anticipated after injuries to Kemba Walker and Jeff Teague. Through his first ten games, Pritchard is averaging 8.6 points, 3.1 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals over 22.9 minutes per game.

Plus, he saved the day in Boston’s recent avenge win over the Miami Heat.

Follow us on Twitter @Draft_Lead for the latest NBA rookie, prospect and draft insight.

About Myicha Drakeford

Lover of basketball and passion for writing. Getting stories out and enjoying this hobby of mine.

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