We’re heading straight toward the middle of the NBA season, and it’s time to look back and review how the rookies have been performing and making a push towards Rookie of the Year (ROY). We’ll also re-draft for the lottery and determine a better fit for each team in the next article.
First, let’s look at the top ten rookies so far in the race for ROY.
The top 4 players on the list are actually becoming closer since Carter-Williams fiery start. Oladipo has been starting to play like most people pinned he would, though he is still coming off the bench for the high scoring Arron Afflalo. In January this what Oladipo averaged (Via ESPN):
As you can see Oladipo has benefited off the huge amount of time off the bench, almost all of his stats have increased last month.
Trey Burke and Carter-Williams showed exactly what teams look for in drafting a rookie point guard, good floor vision, leader, and someone that when looked at to make a basket doesn’t hesitate to do so. While Carter-Williams doesn’t have the same skill set Burke’s style of play requires, he makes it up with his huge positional height and driving ability. Burke tends to lean on his shooting ability, which hasn’t quite gotten to that NBA level, but will certainly come as his experience continues to come as he plays more. If Burke had a more consistent shot now, he might be closer to number one, but he has the natural ability to pass and help his team become a better offense as his assist numbers have continued to increase as the year goes on. Before Burke made his NBA debut, the Jazz were 1-10 record wise, but since joining the team has 15-23 record, which would almost put them in playoff contention in the East. They will most likely tank the season away, but the stat alone shows the promise Burke has in this league.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is the wild card. He wasn’t seen as someone who could make a huge impact in the league more than just a role player off the bench, which is why he wasn’t drafted till the 24th pick in last years draft. Though he has only started one game this season, his minutes are starting to increase, and who doesn’t like a young shooting guard who shoots 46% field goal and 40% 3p field goal percentage respectively. The other darkhorse in this list in Pero Antic, who, with Al Horford’s injury, has been looked to step in his role as starting Center, and boy has he! He isn’t the next Dwight Howard or even Al Horford, his offense isn’t developed, and most likely won’t seeing as he is 31, but he is easily growing to be an elite defender. He understands how Atlanta wants to strategize on defense, and with his 6’11″ 260 lbs. body frame, he can muscle most offensive attempts null. That rounds up the first rookie report , be sure to tune in for 2.0 and so on throughout the second part of the NBA season.