The Shadow League NBA Rookie Meter | 13

A Rookie of the Year race that seemed all but locked up for sensational Charlotte Hornets rookie point guard LaMelo Ball prior to him being injured and missing 21 games, has shifted in favor of No.1 overall pick Anthony Edwards.

Some would describe it as bad luck for Ball. Others would say that it’s simply the cream rising to the top.

I believe that LaMelo Ball is still the best choice as he has positively impacted winning for the upstart “Buzz City” guys more than any other rookie.

His passing is elite and his vision is incredible.

The Hornets are currently 9th in the Eastern Conference playoff race and appear headed to  the play-in games.

It’d be a shame if he didn’t take home the hardware.

Anthony Edwards was chosen No. 1 overall because his potential as an elite athlete was off the charts. As the season has progressed he’s shown an ability to really play fundamentally sound basketball.

Despite the Timberwolves being eliminated from playoff contention early in the season,  they’re 6-4 in their last 10 games.

They even swept three-games against the Utah Jazz, the team with the best record in the league this season. “AntMan” played a pivotal role in all three shocking wins.

When Edwards asked why the team was playing better in the 4th quarters of games, now compared to the beginning of the season, he replied:

“I was on the bench back then.”

Kings combo guard Tyrese Haliburton became the starting point guard in “SacTown” with star lead guard DeAaron Fox our for at least two weeks due to the league’s health and safety protocols.

 

Let’s just say he made the most of it, although the team struggled to get wins, he played well. His individual performances were the lone bright spot for a team that had playoff aspirations, but remain shirt of those goals.

But they did find out that Haliburton was the steal of the 2020 NBA Draft, and he’s key cog in future of the Kings.

The Magic had no problem trading away forward Aaron Gordon, and China Okeke is the reason why.

With the cupboard cleared, Okeke has gone from role player off the bench to a consistent starter.

While he isn’t putting up huge scoring numbers — which he showed the propensity to do at Auburn — he’s been delivering some jaw-dropping plays nightly.

Check out his nasty dunk on Lakers center Andre Drummond. Just say “SHEESH.”

He’s also been dropping dimes to open teammates as well.

Cole Anthony was disrespected a bit in the 2020 NBA Draft, as I believe folks forgot his skillset game is what the NBA game is now. He’s got a bright future in Orlando if he can stay healthy, as he missed 25 games with a rib injury.

Since his return he’s been very consistent, for the tanking Magic. Even hit a buzzer-beating game winner over the play-in game bound Memphis Grizzlies late last week.

 

Right now CA’s biggest issue has been consistency and once he figures that out the Magic have themselves a real player.

Celtics guard Payton Pritchard wasn’t suppose to produce or perform as well as he has in “Beantown” as a FROSH. No he isn’t gonna win Rookie of the Year, and he may not make any all-rookie teams.

However, don’t let that distract you from the fact that he’s been one of the most impactful rooks in the league.

It’s never easy joining a team many thought could contend for a championship, and he’s done it seamlessly after a great career as the lead guard at Oregon.

Honorable Mention:

JaeSean Tate – (Rockets) Stephen Silas’ Swiss Army knife in a very forgettable season in “HTown”

Kenyon Martin Jr – (Rockets) The son of former No. 1 overall K-Mart Sr, he’s shown flashes and Stephen Silas lauded his basketball IQ for a rookie.

Tyrese Maxey – (Sixers) Great scoring combo guard for Doc Rivers, who’s gotten more comfortable as the season has continued. Great on-ball defender and excellent in the screen-roll game.