We are a quarter of the way through the NBA season. These rookies continue to stay head and shoulders above the rest through 20 games.
Scottie Barnes (Toronto Raptors)
Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes has ascended to the top of our rookie rankings. Barnes is averaging 14.6 PPG and 8.3 RPG. His scoring tapered off a bit from the 16.3 he was averaging about 10 days ago, but he’s still distributing and rebounding the ball well.
Barnes’ dip in production can be largely attributed to the returned health of teammates Pascal Siakim and OG Anunoby. Both have cut into Barnes’ scoring opportunities, but his defensive prowess is still topnotch.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) November 20, 2021
Chris Duarte (Indiana Pacers)
Chris Duarte continues to turn heads as the best shooter in this 2021 NBA draft class. The seasoned 24-year-old marksman is much more than a catch-and-shoot player. He averages six points a night in the paint or drives to the rim. His ability to hit tough, contested shots is uncanny. He even has a fan in LeBron James, who said Duarte is beyond his years and when the Lakers worked him out “he didn’t miss a shot.”
Currently averaging 13.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG with two made threes per night, the former Oregon Duck needs to improve on his 41.8 field goal percentage.
CHRIS DUARTE TIES IT
Pacers (-2.5) and Lakers heading to OT 🏀
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) November 25, 2021
There were concerns that Franz Wagner’s skill set wouldn’t transfer to the NBA following a stellar career at Michigan. He’s proving those concerns were inaccurate as he’s played well for an Orlando Magic team trying to rebuild and figure out a culture.
Franz Wagner tonight:
5 threes pic.twitter.com/I7LkB5CO0F
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) November 2, 2021
Wagner is averaging 13.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 2.5 APG and shooting 45 percent from the field and knocking in almost the triples a night.
Cade Cunningham (Detroit Pistons)
Cade Cunningham was drafted No. 1 overall because of his overall skill set and floor game. Lately he’s been showing those skills off as he adjusts to the NBA game. After missing the first few weeks of the season due to injury, Cunningham seems to be getting comfortable on the NBA stage.
Scottie Barnes is leading Rookie of the Year ladder after one month into NBA season!
— Sportskeeda Basketball (@Basketball_SK) November 24, 2021
Averaging 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.0 dimes per game shows Cunningham’s versatility. He’ll need to raise that paltry 33.2 percent shooting percentage. Cunningham’s unselfishness has actually impeded his getting into a rhythm offensively, but that’s who he’s always been since his days at Montverde Academy and as a member of the Texas Titans.
Josh Giddey (OKC Thunder)
Not many knew much about Josh Giddey prior to the draft, but he’s a hooper. Earlier this week he became the third-youngest to reach 100 rebounds and 100 assists in their first 20 games joining LeBron James and LaMelo Ball. The Aussie is averaging 10.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 7.6 APG per game. He and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander make for a dynamic duo in Oklahoma City for years to come.
— NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) November 25, 2021
Evan Mobley — The rookie big man has been great for the Cavaliers. His play on both ends is a huge reason why the Cavs have gotten off to a fast start. Prior to injury, Mobley was averaging 14.6 PPG 8.0 RPG and 1.5 BPG.
Davion Mitchell — Mitchell, also known as “Off Night” for his defensive capabilities, has cracked the Kings rotation in a stacked backcourt. His shooting is a work in progress (37.2 FG %), but he’s also capable of attacking the rim at will. With the Kings looking to unload Buddy Hield, Mitchell’s minutes will probably increase heavily.
Houston Rockets big man Alperen Sengun joins a list of talented players from Turkey, including Hedo Turkoglu and Enes Kanter. His ability to post up and step away from the basket has benefited him well thus far in the new age NBA. He averages 9 points and a shade over 5 rebounds per game.
Head coach Stephen Silas has to figure out how to get him and Christian Wood on the floor together more often.
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