The rookie class in the NBA has been a strong one. Donovan Mitchell looks like a star and so does Ben Simmons. Others are starting to reach their potential in the second half of the season. When we look back on this rookie class, we will see one of the strongest classes perhaps ever. Here is how the three rookie teams will play out at the end of the year.
G- Donovan Mitchell
G- Ben Simmons
F- Jayson Tatum
F- Lauri Markkanen
C- Jarett Allen
Simmons is in as a guard because he plays point guard. He should be rookie of the year. While he still can’t shoot, he is already one of the complete players in the game. He is an elite passer, rebounder, and a great defender already. His scoring is coming too, as he can post up and finish inside. For the season he has averaged 15.8 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game on 53 percent shooting. No other rookie impacts winning in more ways.
Donovan Mitchell carries the scoring load for his team, and that is a lot to ask for a rookie. Mitchell is averaging 20 points per game along with three rebounds, three assists, and solid defense as well. He is not shooting well, but that is understandable considering his large scoring load. No one else can score on that team, and at time Mitchell has to do it all. Mitchell is going to be a star and has a case for rookie of the year, but for me, it’s Simmons.
Tatum is a starter and a contributor. He has had his ups and downs but has stepped his game up recently without Kyrie Irving. For the season he is averaging 13 points, five rebounds on 47 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent shooting from three. He also has been better than expected on defense. Tatum will be an outstanding player for a long time.
Lauri Markkanen is going to be a stud. He is the fastest player to reach 100 threes. Markkanen is on an awful team, but he still produced. For the season he averaged 15 points and seven rebounds per game on 42 percent shooting. He still needs to get stronger and fill out his body, but he has a high ceiling.
Jarrett Allen is the sleeper pick on the all-rookie team, but he has been terrific quietly in Brooklyn. His numbers look modest only eight points and five rebounds per game but look deeper, and you see his value. He scores efficiently at 52 percent, and he is a good shot blocker, averaging one a game. Allen has even flirted with three-point range. He has the skills to be a perfect modern day big and has been steady all season for the Nets.
G- Lonzo Ball
F- Kyle Kuzma
F- John Collins
C- Bam Adebayo
Ball has only played in 51 games and has not shot well, but like Simmons, he impacts winning in many ways. He is an elite passer already, a great rebounder for his position and an excellent defender. Ball gets a lot of criticism, but he quietly had a good rookie year and will only get better.
Speaking of quiet good rookie seasons, Bogdan Bogdanovich has a nice rookie year on an awful team in Sacramento. He averaged 11 points, three assists and two rebounds on 39 percent shooting from three and 44 percent from the field. His defense needs work, but his offense is very promising. This is a guy who has the talent to average 15, five and five one day.
Kuzma has been terrific this year. He is a big-time scorer; he needs to figure out the rest of the game. For the season he is averaging 15.9 points and six rebound on 45 percent shooting. Kuzma scored 20 points plus in his last four, and the best is yet to come.
John Collins has been very efficient this season and can play either frontcourt spot. He also delivered some breathtaking dunks this season. For the season Collins averaged ten points, seven rebounds on 58 percent shooting. Collins also added one block and assist per game. He is already an elite finisher, and has potential as a rim runner, shot blocker, who may be able to step outside and hit a few threes.
Bam has been impressive this season for the Heat. He is going to be good. Like Allen, his numbers are modest with only seven points, five rebounds and one assist per game, but he is a complete player. He can finish around the rim, pass, play either frontcourt spot and defend. Bam is going to be an excellent player for a long time.