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.
Here's our first glance at the 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year watch, updated October 1, 2016.
1) Buddy Hield, Pelicans: The New Orleans backcourt is built around Jrue Holiday and... lots of reserves. There is a great opportunity for Buddy Hield to unleash bigtime scoring pretty immediately. He gets buckets.
2) Kris Dunn, Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio is a point guard. Kris Dunn is a point guard. Rubio gets a ton of assists and steals, but struggles with his shot and hasn't been a part of much success so far in Minnesota. Initially, we assume Rubio will continue to start. But Dunn should get decent reserve minutes pretty quickly, and has a shot at doing big things as a rookie.
3) Brandon Ingram, Lakers: Los Angeles has forwards Luol Deng and Julius Randle. Initially, those two will probably get more minutes than Ingram. We'd guess that will be the case at least for the first few weeks of the season. Maybe the first month or two. But if Ingram can keep adding some much-needed weight/strength, he could push one of those two players to the bench.
4) Ben Simmons, Sixers: Simmons is 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, has athletic ability and great passing skills. He'll be worth watching right away. UPDATE/ALERT: Right before preseason, Simmons broke a bone in his foot. It's not yet known how serious the injury is. But in our next update we'll drop him on this list.
2015-16 NBA ROOKIE WATCH
As for 2015-16, here's how the league rookies wound up performing:
NBA Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks have been unanimously selected to the 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced today. Both players received all 130 First Team votes from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters in the United States and Canada.
Joining Towns and Porzingis on the First Team are the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker (103 First Team votes, 231 points), the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (73 First Team votes, 186 points) and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor (71 First Team votes, 186 points).
The NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of the Miami Heat’s Justise Winslow (151 points, 44 First Team votes), the Los Angeles Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell (142 points, 25 First Team votes), the Nuggets’ Emmanuel Mudiay (140 points, 35 First Team votes), the Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner (139 points, 28 First Team votes) and the Sacramento Kings’ Willie Cauley-Stein (50 points, two First Team votes).
Towns, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, led all rookies in scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.5 rpg, eighth in the NBA) and ranked second in blocks (1.68 bpg, 10th in the NBA) – making him the league’s only player to reach those averages in the three categories. The unanimous Kia NBA Rookie of the Year also ranked third in the league in double-doubles (51) and eighth in field goal percentage (54.2). Towns, one of six NBA players to start all 82 games, won all six Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards.
2015-16 NBA ALL-ROOKIE FIRST TEAM
Player Team First (2 Pts) Second (1 Pt) Total
Karl-Anthony Towns Minnesota 130 - 260
Kristaps Porzingis New York 130 - 260
Devin Booker Phoenix 103 25 231
Nikola Jokic Denver 73 40 186
Jahlil Okafor Philadelphia 71 44 186
2015-16 NBA ALL-ROOKIE SECOND TEAM
Player Team First (2 Pts) Second (1 Pt) Total
Justise Winslow Miami 44 63 151
D’Angelo Russell L.A. Lakers 25 92 142
Emmanuel Mudiay Denver 35 70 140
Myles Turner Indiana 28 83 139
Willie Cauley-Stein Sacramento 2 46 50
Other players receiving votes, with point totals (first-place votes in parentheses):
Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte, 47 (2); Josh Richardson, Miami, 47 (4); Stanley Johnson, Detroit, 42 (1); Trey Lyles, Utah, 26; Bobby Portis, Chicago, 13; T.J. McConnell, Philadelphia, 2 (7); Mario Hezonja, Orlando, 4; Larry Nance Jr., Los Angeles Lakers, 3; Norman Powell, Toronto, 3; Justin Anderson, Dallas, 2; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brooklyn, 2; Boban Marjanovic, San Antonio, 2; Jonathon Simmons, San Antonio, 2; Jerian Grant, New York, 1; Marcelo Huertas, Los Angeles Lakers, 1; Raul Neto, Utah, 1; Cameron Payne, Oklahoma City, 1; Joe Young, Indiana, 1.