NBA Rookies: NBA Rookie Watch
NBA rookies are players in their first season as an active NBA player. If a player gets drafted but plays overseas or isn't actually signed to an NBA contract, or for whatever reason does not actually play at all in the NBA regular season, and therefore do not register a single second of regular season play, their rookie season hasn't begun yet.
Most NBA rookies tend to play very limited minutes, and therefore usually have limited impact. Most come off the bench and don't play much. Some come off the bench and are actually part of the rotation and do contribute. And an even smaller number of NBA rookies actually get the role of a starter. And an even smaller number -- usually very few -- look like stars right away.
Therefore, our NBA Rookie Watch, created to monitor leading candidates for the NBA Rookie of the Year award, is mostly all about opportunity. Rookies that play big minutes (and on a bad team) often rise up in the NBA Rookie Watch. What's extra special is when a rookie on a really good team beats the odds and becomes a star even while playing alongside established stars with years of experience.
2017-18 NBA ROOKIES OFF TO GREAT START
Oct. 26, 2017
This season’s rookie class has made an immediate impact. Here is a look at some of the players, per the NBA News newsletter, who are turning heads:
Ben Simmons, 76ers: The top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft (16.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 7.4 apg) is the third player in NBA history to do the following: 1.) record a triple-double within his first four games; and 2.) register at least 80 points, 50 rebounds and 30 assists in his first five games.
Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, Lakers: Ball owns the highest-scoring game by a rookie this season (29 points at Phoenix on Oct. 20) and is tied for fourth in the NBA in assists with 9.0 per game. Kuzma, the 27th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, is averaging 14.5 points on 53.5 percent shooting from the field.
Jayson Tatum, Celtics: A starter since opening night, Tatum is averaging 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in four games.
Josh Jackson and Mike James, Suns: Jackson and James each scored 10 or more points in their first four games, joining Walter Davis and Alvan Adams as the only players in team history to accomplish the feat. James, an undrafted 27-year-old rookie, is the first player from Lamar University to play in the NBA since the 1997-98 season.
De’Aaron Fox, Kings: The 19-year-old point guard (15.0 ppg, 5.0 apg, 5.0 rpg) is the first player that age or younger to have a 10-assist game with the Kings.
Lauri Markkanen, Bulls: The Finnish forward (BWB Europe 2014; BWB Global 2015) is the first player in NBA history to make 10 three-pointers in his first three games. He is averaging 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Dennis Smith Jr., Mavericks: The 6-3 guard is the first Mavericks player to score at least 45 points in his first three games since Jamal Mashburn in 1993.
John Collins, Hawks: Collins is averaging 11.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in 19.3 minutes in four games. He is the first Atlanta player to notch back-to-back double-doubles in a reserve role since Adam Keefe in March 1993.
Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies: The 45th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Brooks’ 19-point performance in Memphis’ opener was the highest-scoring debut for a Grizzlies player since Rudy Gay in 2006 (21 points).
-- NBA News newletter