Top 5 Rookies in NBA This Season

Author: Nirwan Vibhor


Each season in NBA, there are clear standouts among rookies and seasoned players, who prove indispensable for their respective teams. These players put the most points on the scoreboard, are efficient, and often single-handedly lead their teams to victory. While it’s a delight to see seasoned players perform season after season, it’s the rookies that come as the surprise package, with their distinctive match presence, athleticism, and of course, their love for the sport. Therefore, in this post, we take a look at the top five rookies that have really outshone their competition and are most valuable to their respective teams this season.

1. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

The season’s start may not have been the best for Mitchell. Now that the Jazz has got 11 straight wins and are all set for the Western Conference playoffs, there’s really little doubt of his abilities. It was difficult for the Jazz to bounce back after Gordon Hayward left the team and there were injuries to the remaining players on the roster. However, the franchise has done superbly well, thanks to Mitchell who has taken the onus on himself to carry the team’s offense. His usage rate of 28.7 is right up there, at par with the players such as Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, and Blake Griffin, and is the best among rookies this season. You may argue about Mitchell's field-goal percentage, which is surprisingly low at 43 percent, given his 35 percent success in scoring 3-pointers, there is no doubt that Mitchell deserves the top spot.  

2. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers  

While Mitchell is responsible for finishing games for Jazz, Simmons has the responsibility to set up games for the Sixers. His clutch that has a plus-10.8 net rating, is simply superb and proves his stature as a defender. There’s however, one small problem - when Joel Embiid gets off the court, Simmons has to take up the mantle of a scorer, which doesn’t do justice to his abilities. When Embiid is off the courts, Simmons hesitates from even attempting shots from the outside. Therefore, despite the fact that Simmons is the main playmaker for the Sixers, he’s not quite as impactful as Mitchell.

3. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum, along with Jaylen Brown, has been a total revelation this season for the Celtics. Since their opening night game, when Gordon Hayward went out of play, the Celtics' success has been largely depending upon how well Tatum plays. And the player has definitely not disappointed. Subsequently, the Celtics have been at the No. 1 spot for the majority of the season, in the East. Moreover, the 19-year-old star rookie has been one of the best 3-point shooters in the league this season. Even though his ratings have come down since the first two months, he still maintains a scoring rate of 13.5 points per 10 shots each game and is more than useful in the defense.  

4. Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers  

The best thing to have happened to the Lakers this season, Kyle Kuzma’s stats are seriously impressive. When it comes to scoring, Kuzma has a 36 percent rating of scoring 3-pointers and boasts of a field scoring rate of 45 percent. The problem here, however, is his inconsistency in creating scoring chances for other teammates and his lackluster defense. Overall, Kuzma has been pretty useful for the Lakers in most of his appearances and has helped bring the team back to the league’s forefront.

5. Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers

Along with Kuzma, Ball has been successful in getting the Laker fans get excited this season. Currently, he ranks 2nd in the league, in terms of passes per game (65.8) amidst players with a playing time of 30 minutes or more each game, which is impressive for a rookie. Moreover, his assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.60 is at par with the likes of All-Star Draymond Green, John Wall, and Kemba Walker. Although he has been in and out of the team because of injuries, Ball’s attitude and adaptability have been a revelation for the side.  


(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)



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