As the NBA season passes a quarter of the way through, some rookies have begun to stand out. Although this rookie class has lacked the excitement fans have seen in recent years, certain players have still been able to begin their NBA career in style. Here, we go into the five rookies who have surpassed expectations thus far.
Tyrese Haliburton was a wild card heading into the draft. An underweight point guard with an inconsistent jump shot didn’t impress many scouts. However, the Kings guard has been great off the bench in Sacramento. Averaging just over ten points a game on 46% FG, Halliburton has consistently put up good numbers. He’s improved his shooting form and looks to be improving well under De’Aaron Fox. The guard out of Iowa State has shown flashes of brilliance in games vs. the New York Knicks and Portland Trailblazers and will undoubtedly be a vital part of the Kings’ future.
James Wiseman came into the NBA Draft with just three college games played the previous season. The seeming boom or bust center has blossomed in Golden State. Wiseman has been an aggressive presence in the paint and is forming a strong partnership with point guard Stephen Curry.
Currently averaging 12 points and six rebounds, the Big Ticket has done well to keep the Warriors in the playoff picture despite a rocky start. His ball-handling has surprised many as he is somewhat comfortable with the ball in his hands and has started to develop a good shot from three-point range. Wiseman has a unique ability to get to the rim as a center and is an excellent presence on the defensive end.
Perhaps the most surprising player out of the rookie class is point guard Immanuel Quickley. Picked 25th despite being projected to land somewhere in the late second round, the Knicks were taking a gamble. However, Quickley has been electric off the bench for New York. The 21-year-old has turned many heads, averaging just under 17 points in his last 10 games.
A dangerous floater matched up with his unique ability to draw fouls with ease, the rookie out of Kentucky is making a name for himself in the NBA. Multiple NBA players have already praised Quickley, including Paul George: “I think what I love the most, which is a hard quality to find, is I thought he was fearless. Quickley will surely be planning on making a case for rookie of the year as he continues to progress at this rate.
LaMelo Ball has been a terrific addition for the Charlotte Hornets this season. Although he is yet to take over Terry Rozier’s position as the starting point guard, he likely won’t be waiting much longer. Ball has been a great playmaker in Charlotte and is one of the more versatile rookies this year.
The 19-year-old rookie is averaging 12 points with six assists on 42% FG. He’s already broken the record for the youngest player to achieve a triple-double. LaMelo Ball has started his NBA career in style, and fans cannot wait to see how far he can take the Hornets this year.
Although Anthony Edwards hasn’t surpassed expectations thus far, the #1 pick has done well. The rookie didn’t start off the season well as he didn’t look confident and wasn’t taking uncontested shots. However, he’s looked good recently, as he’s averaged 18 points and six rebounds in his previous six games. The Timberwolves have struggled this season and will need their rookie to continue to put up similar numbers if they wish to snag a ticket to the play-in games.