It’s that time again where we rank the top rookies in the NBA following another week of play. And while No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero is still the leader for Rookie of the Year, and a possible All-Star appearance as of now, there are a couple of other stellar young gunnas that are shaking up the NBA like Kyrie Irving with a social platform.
1. Jade Ivey — Pistons, G
When the Pistons chose the former Purdue standout, questions arose about his ability to play with a guard like 2021 No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham. With Cunningham being ball dominant, many believed it’d be an odd fit, but both guards have become better off the ball. This lethal combination makes Detroit a tougher team to defend, because teams can’t just load up one side of the floor. That has also resulted in Ivey leading all rookies in assists with 4.1 per game. The athleticism of Ivey has shown in his scoring ability at all three levels.
Ivey was on his A-game Monday against the Raptors, tallying 21 points, 8 assists and four rebounds.
Rook was getting buckets all night 🪣 pic.twitter.com/GFerZ6GAvY
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) November 15, 2022
2. Paolo Banchero — Magic, F
It’s no way around it, Banchero has been NBA-ready since he left high school. But since the 6-foot-10 250-pounder was only 18 he had to respect the age requirement and go to college. And while he didn’t disappoint in his one season at Duke, he’s even better in the NBA game. The wide-open attacking style in the pros really suits his unique and very diverse skill set. The Magic haven’t won much this season, but Banchero is not only garnering ROY chatter, but early All-Star consideration.
This season he’s averaging 23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists. All on 46.1 percent from the field.
He’s missed three straight games with a sprained ankle, but his body of work has been remarkable.
3. Bennedict Mathurin — Pacers, F
The former Arizona Wildcats standout has been magnificent this season, and even though he’s hit a bit of a rough patch here lately he’s still a stud. His two-way ability was raved about prior to the NBA draft, and he’s done nothing to dispel the notion that he can be elite on both ends. As the Pacers try to figure out if they’re in rebuild or win mode, Mathurin continues to flourish nightly. His slash line of 20/4/4 is amazing and the reason why he’s in the thick of the ROY race.
Teammate Tyrese Haliburton calls BM a student of the game.
“He’s the only guy I’ve ever seen watch film with the head coach in the back of the plane.”
the chasedown block from Bennedict Mathurin.😤
watch him time this up.👀 pic.twitter.com/sYst0B72Dc
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) November 5, 2022
4. Keegan Murray — Kings, F
Murray’s play has been up and down. But in Sunday’s big 122-115 win over the Golden State Warriors Murray was huge, going for 21 points, including three triples. He also provided some tough defense on Andrew Wiggins down the stretch to help the Kings and new head coach Mike Brown advance to a 6–6 record early in the season.
Brown wants his prized frosh to keep playing and be himself.
“Sometimes it’s a little tougher than others, but he’s going to be fine. … We’re going to stay with him.”
5. Shaedon Sharpe — Blazers, G
A new name to bless the NBA Rookie Meter, Sharpe brings range shooting, athleticism and toughness to a Blazers team that needed it. With the team off to a hot start of 9-4 and in first in the Western Conference, Damian Lillard can smile knowing he finally has some real help in “Rip City.”
The highly-touted Sharpe is a refreshing sight in Portland. Some are talking Brandon Roy vibes … but pump your brakes.