With the NBA season just about at its halfway point, most of what you see from this rookie class by now is what you’re going to get; However, there may be a few more surprises hidden within them. One of those surprises has definitely been Indiana Pacer’s PF Myles Turner. The rookie PF missed the first 2 months of the season due to surgery for a fractured thumb, returning to the bench in late December. The recent injury to starter Ian Mahinmi has opened the door to more playing time for Turner and he is taking advantage amidst the team’s struggles. In their most recent road trip Turner averaged 20.5 ppg along with 3.3 blocks per game while shooting a sizzling 65% from the field. His best performance came on the road against the Golden State Warriors as he put up 31 points and 8 rebounds in the losing effort. With this continued level of play over the past few games Turner will definitely see more minutes on the floor and could potentially see a spot in the starting lineup before the season is over.

Taking a look at the more established rookies in the league, already the same names are quickly becoming household. Karl Anthony-Towns continues to show just how dominant of a candidate he is for Rookie of the Year(ROY). Towns already has 22 double doubles which is 9th throughout the NBA as a whole. In his last 10 games he’s averaging just under 17 ppg and 10.6 rebounds. There’s a reason why people refer to him as the “Big KAT”. Taking a look in the Big Apple, Kristaps “PorzinGod” is everything you want and more in a 7 footer. He can rebound, block shots as well as step back behind the arc for a three. Before the Knicks’ game against the Thunder, Kevin Durant had high praise for Porzingis saying “We’ve got so many guys that are athletic and big and strong, but he’s a skilled player. He can shoot, make the right plays, he can defend, he’s a 7-footer that can shoot all the way out to the 3-point line. That’s rare. And blocks shots. That’s like a unicorn in this league”. If one of the elite players in the league is saying that about you then you’re doing something right. Porzingis is still 3rd in overall scoring amongst rookies as well as 2nd in rebounding, 2nd in free throws and 1st in blocks per game. Jahlil Okafor has definitely taken a back seat to the limelight in terms of rookies even though he still leads all rookies in scoring with just over 17 ppg. The Sixers have gone to playing Noel and Okafor at separate times on the court during spans of the game and their offense seems to be doing better because of it. Okafor has definitely recovered from that ugly incident that transpired earlier in the year outside a Boston club. Some one really pushing their head through the brush would be Phoenix Sun’s guard Devin Booker. The former Kentucky Wildcat and teammate to Karl Anthony-Towns is showing how good of a shooter and potential big scorer he can be. Over his last 4 games he’s averaging 20.8 ppg and is shooting over 41% from 3 point range. One of the drawbacks to his game is his size. If Booker can put on some more muscle watch out. Lastly rounding out the top 5 rookies is Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell. Russell has come into his own offensively over the past few weeks as his scoring and assists are up. Not only that but he’s taking smarter shots and really controlling the game from point guard position. Over his last 10 he’s averaging 13.2 ppg and 3 assists. For Russell’s sake, Kobe’s final game can’t come soon enough.

Rookie Rankings:

  1. Karl Anthony-Towns
  2. Kristaps Porzingis
  3. Jahlil Okafor
  4. D’Angelo Russell
  5. Justice Winslow
  6. Devin Booker
  7. Emmanuel Mudiay
  8. Myles Turner
  9. Willie Cauley-Stein
  10. Nikola Jokic

 

-JT

photo credit: http://arizonasports.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/DevinBooker_MA3.jpg

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