NBA Rookie Meter 11 | Franz Wagner To The Top

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1. Franz Wagner — Orlando Magic (Guard)

The Orlando Magic are terrible, but rookie Franz Wagner has been a bright spot as they try to figure out the plan near the “Magic Kingdom.” The big, sneaky athletic guard from Michigan continues to excel in the NBA’s pace and space style.

With a nice shooting stroke and handle, Wagner has displayed a deeper skill set than most believed he had while putting in work for Juwan Howard in Ann Arbor.  He’s dropping numbers for a team in tank mode, and that speaks to his character and determination.

NBA Rookie Meter 4 | Sleep On Franz Wagner If You Want To

Season: 15.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 2.7 APG

He’s also scored in double figures in 21 straight games. Only Anthony Edwards and Ja Morant had longer streaks as a rookie.

Wagner’s play even had Joel Embiid singing his praises.

2. Evan Mobley — Cleveland Cavaliers (F/C)

The athletic two-way big has been a huge contributor to the Cavs’ surprising start. His ability to score, defend, and alter shots have been on full display on the shores of Lake Erie. Mobley’s 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting against the Pelicans was followed up by a 24/9/4 outing in a win over the Pacers. If the NBA kept a stat for shots altered Mobley would lead the league.

Season: 14.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.8 BPG on 50% shooting.

3. Cade Cunningham — Detroit Pistons (Guard)

The 2021 No. 1 overall pick is a budding star. His overall floor game is smooth and effortless. The ability to score, pass, defend, play under control are things that set Cunningham apart from the rest of his draft class.

No other player in the 2021 draft class does all those things at the level he does. Now his shooting is beginning to take shape, as he’s stroked around 47 percent from three over his past five games. The Pistons got themselves a cornerstone piece to build around, no matter what former Pistons great Dave Bing thinks.

Season: 15.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG and 1.9 SPG on 43% shooting

4. Scottie Barnes — Toronto Raptors (Forward)

The Toronto Raptors have begun to play as a team, and a lot of that has to do with the arrival of rookie sensation Scottie Barnes. The two-way former Florida State Seminole is a budding star in the league. He can guard 1 through 4, and in small-ball lineups he can guard all five positions.

Upon returning from COVID-19 protocols he was eased back into action. His ability to play point forward for the Raps going forward will be a huge determining factor in their playoff fate. Head coach Nick Nurse loves his versatility and basketball IQ.

Kevin Durant is also a fan.

The Shadow League NBA Rookie Meter 3 | Kevin Durant Says Scottie Barnes “Makes Winning Basketball Plays”

Barnes is averaging 15.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG and 3.3 APG this season. He’s firmly in the ROY race with Wagner, Cade and Evan.

5. Josh Giddey — OKC Thunder (Guard)

The Aussie continues to show why he was such a high draft choice by the rebuilding Thunder. Giddey possesses traits that you want in a lead guard. Excellent passer, cerebral, smart, and high basketball IQ. That, along with his 6-foot-8 length, and the 6-foot-6 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander give the Thunder one of the biggest and most underrated backcourts in the league.

NBA Rookie Meter 5| Josh Giddey Is Third-Youngest To 100 Rebounds, 100 assists In First 20 NBA Games

Giddey playing as the lead guard is a huge reason why this tandem is exploding onto the NBA radar. He knows where SGA likes the ball and does a great job setting him and his other teammates up for easy baskets and quality looks.

Season: 11.0 PPG, 6.7 APG, 7.3 RPG

 

Honorable Mention

Jalen Green — Houston Rockets (Guard)

Green has played much more under control and a lot less for himself since his return to the court. In his last three games, he’s averaging 21.0 PPG on 44 percent shooting, including his second career-high of 29 against the Nuggets.

Season: 15.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.2 APG

Chris Duarte — Indiana Pacers (Guard)

The sharpshooter from Oregon continues his solid play in Naptown as the Pacers decide whether or not they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.

Season: 13.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.2 APG


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