In the past, unless a guy was one of the top players in the draft, he would usually suck in his first year. That is if he even got the opportunity to play. But over the past few years, it seems like guys are coming into the league and making an impact right away.
Not necessarily the kind of impact that raises the level of the team's play exponentially, but enough to get themselves talked about on a night to night basis. Outside of Luka Doncic, it took a while before anyone from this years rookie class made a name for themselves.
But as the season progressed, we saw a handful of these young guys grow into role players and even leaders for their teams. The All-Rookie team could shape up to be a group of future All-Stars if they continue to play the way they did this season.
*All statistics are ranked amongst the rookie class*
Shooting Guard - Dallas Mavericks - 3rd Overall Pick
Points per game - 21.1 (1st)
Rebounds per game - 7.6 (2nd)
Assists per game - 5.9 (2nd)
Let's start with the most obvious choice. This guy should be one of the two unanimous choices for First team All-Rookie. Luka Doncic has played above and beyond just about everyone's expectations. Even for people who had high expectations, nobody could have predicted he would have the season that he did.
He instantly became the best player on the Dallas Mavericks, and had them in the playoff race for about half of the season. He posted 7 triple-doubles, which put him in a tie with Magic Johnson for third most all-time in a rookie season.
But the thing that caught the eye of everyone who watched him play this season was how fast he was able to add the Harden-like step-back three point shot that is seemingly unguardable. His ability to add a signature go-to move made him a fan favorite pretty quickly, and made his rookie season one that will be remembered for a long time as one of the best in recent memory.
Point Guard - Atlanta Hawks - 5th Overall Pick
Points per game - 18.9 (2nd)
Assists per game - 8 (1st)
Field Goals Made - 494 (2nd)
When the Atlanta Hawks decided to trade down to get Trae Young and pass on Luka Doncic, everyone assumed it was going to become to horrible trade. And maybe 10-15 years from now, it's possible that it could be true. But for this season, both teams look like winners.
Young got off to a slow start in the season, but a lot of it had to do with the fact that the Hawks are a very young team and were without one of their young up and coming players in John Collins. Once he got a little bit of confidence, his game became a lot more natural.
He ended up with six games consisting of 30+ points and 10+ assists, second most all-time in a rookie season. His best moment of his season was a five game stretch where he averaged 34.8 points and 10.4 assists, including a season high of 49 points. His play over the last two months of the season not only solidified his spot on the All-Rookie team, but has even given some a reason for argument for Rookie of the Year.
Center - Phoenix Suns - 1st Overall Pick
Points per game - 16.5 (4th)
Rebounds per game - 10.3 (1st)
Field Goal Percentage - 58.5% (1st among rookies with 1500+ minutes)
On June 21st, Deandre Ayton became just the third player ever from the Bahamas to get drafted into the NBA. The other two were two-time NBA champion Mychal Thompson (Klay's dad) and current sharpshooter Buddy Hield. With the clearest water in the world, it's no wonder why not too many kids in the Bahamas choose to play basketball.
Ayton's rookie season could be summed up in one word, "Good." His numbers didn't jump off the stat sheet, and he never had any stretch or single game that wowed anybody. But he was consistently a good player.
On the Phoenix Suns, he was able to get a lot of playing time. This aided him in his development and may have ballooned his rebounding numbers. But regardless, any rookie who averages a double-double for their first season has to make the All-Rookie team.
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Power Forward - Memphis Grizzlies - 4th Overall Pick
Points per game - 13.8 (6th)
Total Blocks - 82 (2nd)
Field Goal Percentage - 50.6% (2nd among rookies with 1500+ minutes)
With the success that Jaren Jackson Jr. had this season, it's surprising that he still doesn't have a nickname yet. His Instagram handle is simply "Jaren," so maybe a nickname is not needed. Although "Triple J" is pretty catchy.
After the impact Jackson made off of the bench in the first two games of the season, the Memphis Grizzlies had no choice but to start him the rest of the way. His shooting efficiency forced their hand because of the fact that outside of Mike Conley, they had no offensive weapons. And trading away Marc Gasol gave Jackson the opportunity to shine as the team's best big man.
His defensive presence alone could've got him on this list. With 82 blocks in 56 games this season, he made opposing players think twice about coming into the paint. His two-way ability from the power forward position should have Memphis feeling like they've got a main piece for their future.
Power Forward - Sacramento Kings - 2nd Overall Pick
Points per game - 14.7 (5th)
Rebound per game - 7.4 (3rd)
Total Blocks - 56 (6th)
Considering the fact that Marvin Bagley was the second overall pick, his season didn't quite live up to the high standards that many had put up for him. Many people thought the Phoenix Suns had made a mistake taking Ayton over Bagley, but for a majority of the season they were wrong.
The biggest issue Bagley had throughout the first half of the season was finding his place on a Sacramento Kings squad that was in the playoff race all the way up until about a month left in the season. His immediate impact wasn't needed, which made it harder for him to make a name for himself.
But as the season went on, Bagley got healthy and began playing with a higher intensity which ultimately made him more comfortable. He came off the bench for all but three games this season, which makes his numbers all that much more incredible. He played less minutes and was more efficient than most rookies at the power forward position. If it wasn't for his injuries he sustained this season, the Kings may have found themselves still fighting for that 8th spot in the playoffs.
Just like with every other list that has ever been created, there is going to be snubs. Mitchell Robinson had 147 blocks in 60 games which was more than Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marvin Bagley combined. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander started nearly every game for a Los Angeles Clippers team that is in the playoffs. Collin Sexton started every game and was 3rd in points per game.
But taking into account all-around game is important when looking at awards like this. And the top five players in the draft all lived up to expectations as the top five guys in their rookie seasons.
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