With Cole Anthony (Orlando), Desmond Bane (Boston), Payton Pritchard (Boston) and Jordan Nwora (Milwaukee) mixed in or taking one of my honorable mention spots.
LaMelo Ball (Hornets)
19-year-old Melo (the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double) has been without question the best rookie thus far IMO.
Last week he thoroughly outplayed his big brother Lonzo on national television (ESPN) Friday night. The sky’s the limit for the youngest of the Ball brothers.
Ridiculous pass from LaMelo Ball out of the 4/5 Spain pick-and-roll action from Charlotte — throws this pass with his inside/right hand while driving left, hits PJ for 3 vs. drop pic.twitter.com/uPwNzIGPWA
— Brian Geisinger (@bgeis_bird) January 14, 2021
He’s a budding SUPERSTAR down the line. Won’t be long until we see either Terry Rozier or Devonte Graham coming off the bench in a reserve role. Another reason why he’ll be the starting lead guard sooner than later is his developing chemistry with Gordon Hayward whom MJ signed to a big deal this off-season.
James Wiseman (Warriors)
Although he may not be putting up huge numbers every night, he’s given the Warriors some energy and real rim protection. The 7-foot rook also provides an and inside punch, they haven’t had since Andrew Bogut in 2015. He’s still learning the NBA game and that’s to be expected.
.@BigTicket_JW is learning that the Bay moves to its own beat
Join us for a sit-down with James during his first trip from SFO to @ChaseCenter, and tune in to the playlist that welcomed him on that ride
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 14, 2021
Draymond Green’s presence will have a great effect on Wiseman’s work ethic, hustle and court awareness. He has the tools of a Chris Bosh with a little of the younger David Robinson sprinkled in.
The Warriors are playing much better as well winning 4 of their past 5 games.
Anthony Edwards (TWolves)
Edwards has shown flashes of brilliance at times for the Timberwolves who stink otherwise. His ability to defend and get to the rim is obvious. As his shooting improves, he will become a nightmare matchup with his elite athleticism and ability to attack off the bounce.
He has an NBA build, so adjusting to a more physical league has been smooth for him. Has the ability to be an All-NBA defender on a team that doesn’t defend much.
Patrick Williams (Bulls)
“PW” was the surprise pick in the Top 5 by the Chicago Bulls. But you can see what they were thinking when they chose the athletic, long-armed 3 and D star from Florida State.
In a game this past weekend against the Lakers, LeBron James said the Bulls got a good one after he was guarded by Williams in a 130-127 LA win.
LBJ raved about Williams’ long arms, strong and quick hands, and athleticism.
“Made it hard to keep my dribble in front of him” (a la Kawhi Leonard) Bron said.
He’s a real glue guy for the Bulls as they try to figure out the direction of their team in the “Windy City”.
Saadiq Bey (Pistons)
The former Villanova and (Sidwell Friends HS Wash DC) star is the elder statesman in this Top 5. He’s a cerebral player with a high IQ and good all-around skills. He’s another in the mold of a 3 and D guy, but I don’t wanna classify him as just that because he has the ability to do much more. The Pistons have two very good wings in him and Jerami Grant.
Is it insane of me to think that Saddiq Bey could be pushing for rookie of the year? https://t.co/Eo8bkOmgMF#saadiqbey #jeramigrant #DetroitBasketball #blakegriffin #derrickrose #DetroitPistons @YouTubeBlastOff pic.twitter.com/7mS3UIqPK5
— SPORTS.ON.THE.RUN (@_SPORTSONTHERUN) January 7, 2021
Payton Pritchard (Boston): Tough and gritty floor leader who’s given them huge minutes with Kemba Walker being out.
Cole Anthony (Orlando): Has shown flashes for the Magic as the lead guard. With Markelle Fultz being lost for the season with a Torn ACL his opportunities are sure to increase.
Jordan Nwora (Milwaukee): He fits perfectly in “Cream City” with his ability to shoot the ball. Has a high basketball IQ and shows to be very mature.
Desmond Bane (Memphis): Knockdown shooter from TCU who’s seen his minutes increase and he hasn’t disappointed at all. He’s been very good and has played a larger role with Ja Morant out nursing an ankle injury.