Last week, SN’s Kyle Irving reviewed the top nominees for the MVP award. As it stands now, Stephen Curry sits at the top of the mountain on the TSN MVP scale.
This week, it’s all about rookies in our first ladder of the year.
This year’s draft course provided a handful of high-ceilinged stallions, but which of them split from the pack?
Let’s take a look:
If you don’t have the NBA league pass, the Kings are a good reason you should have it. De’Aaron Fox is always worth the price of admission, I don’t know what happened to Harrison Barnes, but the dude is trying to score and Davion Mitchell is making it fun to watch a player defend.
Mitchell averages 9.5 points, 3.5 assists per game this season, but it’s his defense that will keep him in touch with the first team all year round.
With Mitchell on the floor, the Kings have a defensive rating of 106.8 this season. When he sits down, the score rises to 109.9. The Kings have 26th ranked defense at the time of writing and will need a couple more Davion Mitchell to help them fix the problem, but having one is a start.
Especially when he does things like this:
It will be a long season in Houston, but you already knew that. Regardless, Jalen Green is worth keeping an eye on this season.
Green averaged 14.8 points, 3.3 assists and 3.6 rebounds in his first seven games.
He scored a 30-point game against the Celtics and looked good in his last outing against the Lakers by finishing with 24 points, five assists while shooting 9 of 15 from the field. When Green takes good shots he has been effective this year. It will start to find its spots on the floor and become more efficient as the season progresses. This guy is a bucket.
It fits on the scale.
5. Franz Wagner
Wagner was a first day starter for magic and was one of their most consistent players. He averaged 14.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game this year with shooting divisions of 0.495 / 0.417 / 0.667. He scored in double figures in eight of his first nine games this year, giving Orlando the much needed attack.
It was also a joy to watch it outdoors. It will always be a good option to spot and catch a trail three in transition, but he has also shown the ability to put the ball on the deck and get the rack on his own.
His defensive effort is already there and with experience he will become one more defender for Orlando.
FanDuel odds: +2200
4. Josh Giddey
The Aussie isn’t the most athletic or explosive, but he’s super crafty and attacks corners like a 10-year-old vet.
Giddey’s best attribute was his passing and it was shown in full in the first part of the season. Rookie Thunder averages 6.1 assists per game ahead of all rookies. His assist percentage of 33.3 according to Basketball-Reference is on par with other great passers-by and directors like Nikola Jokic (34.2) and LaMelo Ball (33.1).
The problem for Giddey entering this season, as with most rookies, is the defensive end. This is clearly a work in progress and where its biggest growth area will be.
FanDuel odds: +1100
3. Chris Duarte
Duarte was a nice addition to the main group in Indiana. He was fit like a glove with an average of 16.9 points, 4.6 boards and 2.2 assists in his first nine games.
He showed the touch from deep down by knocking down 42.9 percent from three. There is a good balance with his three-point shot, Duarte is link on 43.3 percent of his catch-and-shoot triples and 40.0 percent of its long pull-up balls.
If he can continue to develop into a three-tier scorer for the Pacers, they may very well have one of the draft steals.
FanDuel odds: +1000
2. Evan Mobley
Micah Adams of SN wrote about it as the beginning of Mobley it piles up against Hall of Fame like Kevin Garnett and current stars like Anthony Davis.
It’s a small sample size, but Mobley was so good. The Cavs long man averages 13.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.3 blocks per game, while shooting an efficient 49.0 percent from the field.
According to Basketball Reference’s Match-by-match data, Mobley has played 46.0 percent of his minutes as a small forward this season.
For a player who is just a 20-year-old beginner, trying to understand the game and on top of that could be playing out of position – he had an impressive start and could find himself at the top of this ladder in the near future.
FanDuel odds: +380
1. Scottie Barnes
The Raptors got it right. Remember when there was a debate over whether or not the Raptors should enlist Barnes or Jalen Suggs with the No. 4 choice? It’s early and I don’t want to cancel Suggs, but I think Toronto is happy with their selection.
Barnes leads all rookies in scoring with an average of 18.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
If you put Barnes’s first seven games together alongside those of former Raptors like Vince Carter, Chris Bosh and DeMar DeRozan in their rookie years, you paint a beautiful picture.
|2||Chris Bosh||2003-04||19 °||33.5||45.9||35.7||7.4||1.0||0.8||1.4||11.5|
|4th||DeMar De Rozan||2009-10||20||21.6||49.8||25.0||2.9||0.7||0.6||0.2||8.6|
Barnes will have to support the production he is giving in Toronto to be in the same class as Carter, but the start is promising.
He’s been the best rookie up to this point of the season, and there’s really no question.
FanDuel odds: +360