NBA Rookie Notes: December 6-January 2

Photo: Fernando Medina/Getty Images

2021’s top 4 picks go for huge games, Franz Wagner playing like the Rookie of the Year, Josh Giddey posts a triple-double, and more.

  • With 2022 finally here, all top 4 picks have entered the new year playing solid basketball. In their last ten games, Detroit’s Cade Cunningham (#1 pick) averaged 18.7 PPG/5.8 RPG/5.8 APG/1.6 SPG/44.1% 3-PT, Houston’s Jalen Green (#2 pick) put up 17.3 PPG/1.7 APG/45.8% FG/38.5% 3-PT, Cleveland’s Evan Mobley (#3 pick) tallied 16.0 PPG/8.3 RPG/2.4 APG/1.4 BPG/54.3% FG, and Toronto’s Scottie Barnes recorded 16.7 PPG/7.7 RPG/3.2 APG/1.7 BPG/1.1 SPG/50.0% FG/40.0% 3-PT.
  • Despite the recent production of those four rookies, Orlando’s Franz Wagner (#8 pick) has made a very strong case for the Rookie of the Year award at the moment. Wagner went for a ridiculous stat line of 38 points/7 rebounds/3 assists/1 block/1 steal/12-20 FG/4-8 3-PT vs. Milwaukee on December 28th. He’s finding his groove on offense and doing it with efficiency, scoring in double figures in 19 straight games while averaging 18.8 PPG/5.3 RPG/3.3 APG/1.0 SPG on 46.3% FG/37.7% 3-PT/84.3% FT shooting numbers.
  • Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey (#6 pick) is displaying veteran level point guard abilities at just 19-years-old. He became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double on Sunday, going for 17 points/14 assists/13 rebounds against Dallas at home. Bright future ahead for the floor general.
  • Golden State’s Jonathan Kuminga (#7 pick) showed off his star potential in a big way on December 18th vs. Toronto. The former G-League Ignite product scored 26 points on 60.0% shooting from the field and 66.7% shooting behind three point range, driving to the basket with aggression and displaying an improved jumper.
  • Injuries have been the story this season for Orlando’s Jalen Suggs (#5 pick), Memphis’ Ziaire Williams (#10 pick), and Indiana’s Isaiah Jackson (#22 pick). Suggs is dealing with a right thumb injury that’s kept him out since late November, Williams last played on December 6th after suffering a left ankle sprain, and Jackson is in health & safety protocols following his recent return from a hyperextended left knee. Also Indiana’s Chris Duarte (#13 pick) & Oklahoma City’s Tre Mann (#18 pick) were recently placed in health & safety protocols after scoring the ball nicely during the month of December (Duarte- 13.3 PPG, Mann- 40.5% 3-PT).
  • Rookie role players like Sacramento’s Davion Mitchell (#9 pick), Houston’s Alperen Sengun (#16 pick), Denver’s Bones Hyland (#26 pick), Oklahoma City’s Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (#32 pick), New Orleans’ Herb Jones (#35 pick), Chicago’s Ayo Dosunmu (#38 pick), Toronto’s Dalano Banton (#46 pick), and the LA Lakers’ Austin Reaves (undrafted) have displayed flexible skills throughout the whole season that should turn into long NBA careers.
  • It hasn’t been the best rookie years for Golden State’s Moses Moody (#14 pick) & New Orleans’ Trey Murphy III (#17 pick). The two were considered some of the draft’s best sharpshooters coming out of college, but are now both shooting the ball under 34.0% from the field with limited playing time.
  • Multiple first year guys from different teams got their chance to play meaningful minutes in December due to players being out with health & safety protocols. Rookies such as Charlotte’s James Bouknight (#11 pick) & JT Thor (#37 pick), San Antonio’s Josh Primo (#12 pick) & Jock Landale (undrafted in 2018), Washington’s Corey Kispert (#15 pick), Atlanta’s Jalen Johnson (#20 pick), the LA Clippers’ Keon Johnson (#21 pick) & Brandon Boston Jr. (#51 pick), Houston’s Josh Christopher (#24 pick), Daishen Nix (undrafted), & Trevelin Queen (undrafted in 2020), New York’s Quentin Grimes (#25 pick) & Miles McBride (#36 pick), Brooklyn’s Cam Thomas (#27 pick), Day’Ron Sharpe (#29 pick), Kessler Edwards (#44 pick), & David Duke (undrafted), Detroit’s Luka Garza (#52 pick), Philadelphia’s Charles Bassey (#53 pick), Oklahoma City’s Aaron Wiggins (#55 pick), Miami’s Omer Yurtseven (undrafted in 2020), and Toronto’s Justin Champagnie (undrafted) all had efficient performances to end 2021.

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