Rookie Report 2016
Rookie Report 2016
Karl-Anthony Towns – Future Superstar
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a ton of potential and young talent on their roster.Gongfu Tea Cup
guy with the most potential amongst them all is soon-to-be Rookie of the Year, Karl Anthony Towns. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft has shown that he was the best possible choice for this young Wolves team. The Kentucky standout averaged a double-double on the season and is leading all rookies in points, minutes, and rebounds. If this guy improves every year, he’ll become a dominant force in this league.
The Man That Was “BOOED”
He was selected No. 4 overall by the New York Knicks in the 2015 NBA Draft, and was booed instantly. From that day on, Kristaps Porzingis was on mission. A mission to show the fanbase that they were wrong for booing him and that he’s got what it takes to turn into the next great European player in the NBA. The rookie took his mission seriously and averaged 14.3 points, 7z3 rebounds, and an impressive 1.9 blocks per game—the 7’3” Latvian rookie also won three consecutive Rookie of the Month honors from November to January. Instead of finishing his astonishing rookie campaign with great performances—like he was having all season—he suffered a shoulder injury which curbed his season.
Devin Booker – Flat Out Scorer
After averaging 22.4 points per game in the month of March, and 19.2 points per game in April Phoenix Suns rookie Devin Booker became the fourth youngest player in NBA history to score 1,000+ points in a single season. Closing out his season in beautiful fashion, Booker sparked his team a bit too late, as the Suns finished 14th in their conference. If he starts next season the same way he ended this one, his team will most definitely improve. Without averaging 30.0 minutes per game all year, the sharpshooting rookie averaged a nice 13.8 points per game on 42% shooting; the numbers aren’t jumping off the charts, but have a ton of room for improvement.
Jokic and Mudiay: The Light of Denver’s Darkest Days
The Denver Nuggets have great potential, but with another disappointing season, the team heads into the spring without reaching the Playoffs. They improved three wins from last year, but couldn’t make over the hump. Rookies Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic each shined for Denver and were both valuable assets to the team in the 2015-16 season. While Mudiay led his team in assists, Jokic ranked second in both steals and rebounds. After this duo develops into the one-two punch the Nuggets hope for them to become, they’ll be dangerous—they’ve already proved it with a few breakout performances.
Okafor Balling for the Bottom
To go with Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor may be the most talented rookie in the draft—it’s a shame he’s stuck on one of the worst teams in NBA history. While the reigning champion Golden State Warriors accomplished a historic 73 wins this season, Okafor and the Philadelphia 76ers reached 72 losses, making them the 3rd worst team in NBA history. Being sidelined since late February due to a knee injury, Okafor finished 2nd in scoring, 3rd in rebounds and 4th in blocks amongst rookies. The Sixers have one of the youngest rosters in the entire NBA and it may not be long until these guys will be competing for a playoff spot. With monthly improvement from Okafor, maybe he’ll be able to lead his team into the postseason one day.
Russell’s Shadow Season
If you play on the same team as a retiring legend, don’t expect to get much fame—especially if you’re a rookie and that legend is Kobe Bryant. Russell was a bit inconsistent, but shined in numerous games, finishing the season averaging 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists for the struggling Los Angeles Lakers. Losing Bryant, the Lakers now look to their young guns in Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance Jr. to keep this franchise alive. If this guy lives up to his potential, the Lakers won’t be too far from competing for a playoff spot once again. Let us hope we won’t have to wait too long to see that happen…
Winslow and the Revived Miami Heat
Two years ago, LeBron James left the Miami Heat to return home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It hasn’t been easy, but Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and new-found-star Hassan Whiteside have stepped up ever since, and have kept Miami in playoff contention. Luckily, Miami drafted Justice Winslow to provide a spark off the bench. His stats aren’t great, yet, but has extreme value for the future. While playing 28.6 minutes per game, Winslow’s rookie season included 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game on 42% shooting. His mentor, Dwyane Wade has taught him numerous tricks, including his famous euro-step.
Myles Turner – The Underlooked Big
Indiana Pacers rookie big-man Myles Tuner seems to play better coming off the bench than to start the game. Turner won the Rookie of the Month award in March, and already has career highs of 31 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 blocks. This young center might be the next Roy Hibbert, but with how he’s playing, even better than Hibbert. Paul George will surely need Turner to bring his best in their first round Playoff series against Toronto. Turner does so much on the court that doesn’t show up on the stat-sheet. The sky’s the limit for this young big-man.