1. Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks
Season Stats: 3 G, 34.7 MIN, 23.0 PPG, 8.3 APG, 3.3 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 45.5 FG%, 39.3 3PT%, 80.0 FT%
Outlook: In terms of opportunities, Trae Young is in the most favorable situation of any NBA rookie, and I don’t think it’s close. That roster is one of the worst I’ve seen in the NBA in a long time, and that’s saying something. However, I expected there to be a bit of a transitional period for Young once he entered the NBA, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, it’s only been three games, but talk about making the most of your opportunities right away. Young has been sensational over three games, and got the Hawks their first win of the season on Sunday in Cleveland with 35 points and 11 assists. Expect Young to continue to thrive, as he’ll continue to shoot the ball about 20 times per game for that Hawks team.
2. DeAndre Ayton, C, Phoenix Suns
Season Stats: 3 G, 30.0 MIN, 14.3 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 4.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 55.2 FG%, 91.7 FT%
Outlook: I’m not sure many of us had any doubts about DeAndre Ayton coming out of Arizona. He’s a freak of nature, and has proved he can play at the NBA level right away, just as everyone expected. Through three games, he’s averaging a double-double, and has shown off his passing abilities as he’s averaging four assists per game as well. I expect Ayton to get even better as the season goes on, as this is a very young/new Suns team. He’ll be in a battle with Trae Young all season for Rookie of the Year.
3. Luka Doncic, SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks
Season Stats: 3 G, 34.7 MIN, 18.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 43.5 FG%, 31.8 3PT%, 61.5 FT%
Outlook: People always doubt the European draft prospects, and rightfully so… most fans haven’t seen them play. However, Doncic won EuroLeague MVP, a league that is a higher level of basketball than NCAA, at the age of 19. Doncic is the definitely of an all-around player, as he’ll stuff the stat sheet every game. He’s the real deal, and there’s no doubt about that. The new-look Dallas Mavericks are 2-1, and Doncic is a major cause of that.
4. Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Memphis Grizzlies
Season Stats: 3 G, 26.7 MIN, 15.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 50.0 FG%, 22.2 3PT%, 76.5 FT%
Outlook: Jaren Jackson Jr. is a guy who only averaged 10.9 PPG and 5.8 RPG at Michigan State, as his game wasn’t exactly perfect for college basketball. However, his length, ability to shoot the basketball, and athleticism fit perfectly with today’s NBA. Jackson Jr.’s three-point shooting numbers are down a bit to start the season in a very small sample size, but he’s shown flashes of why some people think he has the most potential out of any NBA rookie. He’ll continue to thrive in Memphis as he’ll see increased role as the season goes on.
5. Marvin Bagley III, PF, Sacramento Kings
Season Stats: 3 G, 22.7 MIN, 12.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 51.7 FG%, 0/3 3PT, 66.7 FT%
Outlook: Bagley was one of the best players in college basketball last season, averaging 21 PPG and 11 RPG. He, unlike other rookies ahead of him on this list, hasn’t exactly gotten a ton of minutes yet through the first three games of the season as Willie Cauley-Stein, Nemanja Bjelica, and Harry Giles are sharing time with him. Despite less minutes, Bagley has made the most of his opportunities, still averaging over 12 points and six rebounds per game. Less minutes could be the unfortunate reality for Bagley this season, but he’s certainly a great piece for the Kings.
6. Allonzo Trier, SG, New York Knicks
Season Stats: 4 G, 21.0 MIN, 10.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 41.4 FG%, 42.9 3PT%, 88.2 FT%
Outlook: Allonzo Trier came out of the nowhere this season as an undrafted free agent getting some bench minutes for a young Knicks team. So far, he’s been a huge spark for them bringing his lights out three-point shooting ability, athleticism, and high energy. Shooting over 42% from three-point range is a great start to the season, so we’ll see if he can continue to thrive in David Fizdale’s fast-paced system.
7. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
Season Stats: 3 G, 25.7 MIN, 8.3 PPG, 4.0 APG, 3.3 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 56.3 FG%, 0/2 3PT, 100 FT%
Outlook: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a long point guard with a ton of potential, but just as it did at Kentucky, it may take him some time to settle in at the next level. However, he’s still playing well right now, as he’s shooting the ball at a high percentage, and doing a little bit of everything averaging eight points four assists and three rebounds. SGA has a chance to be an important piece of a team that I think has a legit shot at getting an eight seed this year.
8. Josh Okogie, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Season Stats: 2 G, 26.5 MIN, 9.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 2.0 SPG, 38.9 FG%, 22.2 3PT%, 66.7 FT%
Outlook: Josh Okogie was one of the biggest late risers in the NBA Draft, as his length and defense give him a ton of potential. He didn’t play in the Timberwolves’ first two games, but once he started playing the last two games, he’s been rock solid. Yes, the shooting numbers are a bit down, but it’s a small sample size. Okogie’s defense has been great as he’s averaging two steals per game. Look for him to be a key bench player for Minnesota this season.
9. Wendell Carter Jr., C, Chicago Bulls
Season Stats: 3 G, 23.0 MIN, 6.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.3 BPG, 43.5 FG%, 0/1 3PT
Outlook: Wendell Carter’s had a decent start to the season, as he’s showcased some of his defending and rebounding abilities that made him such a high pick. He’s field goal percentage is a bit down through three games, but other than that he has been okay. I love to see the 1.3 BPG in only 23 minutes, considering he has been compared to Al Horford (great defender) his entire life. If I had to make a prediction on Wendell Carter, I’d say he’ll be jumping up my list maybe even by next week.
10. Collin Sexton, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
Season Stats: 3 G, 22.7 MIN, 9.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 37.0 FG%, 0/2 3PT, 100 FT%
Outlook: Collin Sexton was an absolute monster in college, and with his fiery mentality on the court, it’s hard to believe he won’t succeed. However, Sexton is off to a slow start along with the rest of the Cavs. He’s not playing his best basketball as he’s shooting below 40%, but he’s still averaging nine points per game in only 22 minutes. Expect him to get more minutes extremely soon, especially if the Cavs keep losing.
Left Out: Kevin Knox (injury), Rodions Kurucs, Mo Bamba, Miles Bridges