This year’s NBA rookie class is loaded with talent and there are so many potential superstars that we couldn’t stop at just four picks for best rookies of this season. We’ve got four more for you here and we’ll break down their skill sets and best moments of the season so far. These guys are already impressing, so keep an eye out and watch how they’re transforming their new teams.
Collin Sexton – Cleveland Cavaliers
While they might’ve lost Lebron, the Cavs gained this dynamic point guard and team building block this past spring. Sexton was selected as the eighth overall pick from the draft after playing just one year at Alabama. Another favorite for Rookie of the Year, he’s coming off the bench to start his season and playing alongside star veterans like Kevin Love. With the gaping Lebron-shaped hole in Cleveland, Sexton has the opportunity to make an immediate impact on the team. During the summer league, he basically tried to score every time he touched the ball, playing with intensity and breaking down defenses to finish at the basket. He ended the summer league with the second-highest scoring average at nearly 20 points per game and he’s been great at drawing fouls. He’s explosive, he’s fast, and he can hit jumper after jumper. Yes, Sexton has had a few weak games so far this season, but last week he put up 29 points against the Rockets. 29! Oh, and this guy has a face, personality, and confidence that Cavs fans will crave.
Wendell Carter, Jr. – Chicago Bulls
The Bulls needed some impact players and they may have found themselves one in Wendell Carter, Jr. This seventh-overall draft pick was a one-and-done at Duke before heading to the NBA as a shot-blocking center. But he’s also a shooter, rebounder, and passer, showing great maturity and skill before the regular season even started. Like Sexton, there’s room for him to take on a big role early with the Bulls, and he fits well alongside fellow big man Lauri Markkanen. Carter was one of the most impressive players in the summer league, nearly averaging a double-double in the first five games. Though the Bulls have a solid starter in Robin Lopez, Carter should get more playing time deeper in the season. From his time at Duke, we also know he might have some three-ball shooting skills up his sleeve. He should thrive alongside the other young players on this Bulls team – one that’s bound to perform better than it did last season.
Marvin Bagley III – Sacramento Kings
A fellow Duke alum who dominated in college, Marvin Bagley III was drafted as the second overall pick… so yeah, he’s got some big expectations to fill. Before and after the draft, he was hated on by critics who thought the Kings passed on some big-time names in favor of a more uncertain Bagley. Many hinted that he couldn’t perform in the NBA… despite being 6’11”, super athletic, and very “bouncy.” True, he is a left-hander who has trouble using his right, he needs to develop a jumper and an outside shot, and he did struggle a bit in the summer league. But Bagley is a strong power forward with great rebounding skills. In the Kings’ recent win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, he got his first career double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. And he’s also scored double digits over his last five games. Bagley could easily be one of the biggest producers of all the rookies this season. But he could also be the biggest “boom or bust” player of his class. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Los Angeles Clippers
His name is getting thrown around more and more these days. And that’s because the 11th overall pick has locked down the starting point guard position with the Los Angeles Clippers. Drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, he was traded to the Clippers on the same day. Gilgeous-Alexander only played one year at Kentucky (sensing a trend here?) but he has been able to step up in a big way for his new NBA team. He might just prove to be the best point guard in this whole rookie class. He’s been building momentum since his late college basketball season and on into the summer league and preseason, growing as an effective shooter and passer. Gilgeous-Alexander is 6’6” with a 7-foot wingspan, which is big for a guard, but he has great ball handling skills and impressive footwork for his size. He’s able to navigate the pick-and-roll, finish over defenders, and hit a good 50% of his mid-range jump shots. While he may not be throwing up any crazy stats just yet, he’s leading the team like a veteran and, hey, the Clippers have won 7 out of their last 8 games!