Contributed by Aditya Fuldeore
As the new and unique NBA season is underway, there are many rookies getting acclimated to the league on minimal training camp experience. While we are only a few weeks in, there are several rookies who have showed their worth for their teams. Using regular and advanced stats (such as Win Shares), as well as Opportunity Production Rating (OPR), we can evaluate these rookies to see which ones have performed the best thus far (through January 7th).
Stats: 11.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.7 APG, 0.7 WS, 51% FG, 48% 3P, 87.5% FT, 18.17 OPR
Haliburton seemed like a steal at the time for Sacramento, and he has played like it. So far, he has been one of the Kings’ best shooters and has been an excellent playmaker behind De’Aaron Fox in the backcourt. Shooting 48% from 3, producing an above-average OPR, and dishing out a 7.0 assist-to-turnover ratio, Haliburton already has 0.7 Win Shares, ranking first among rookies, as well as a 142 Offensive Rating. Already one of the top shooters and passers of the draft class, Haliburton projects to be a big part of the Kings’ future.
Golden State Warriors
Stats: 11.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.0 WS, 46.8% FG, 41.7% 3P, 61.9% FT, 11.16 OPR
The Warriors have not regretted their pick 2 selection of Wiseman. Settling into Golden State’s frontcourt well, Wiseman has produced as a rim protector and paint scorer. He ranks best among rookies in rebounds per game and ranks top 3 in the league in block %. While his mid-range and 3 point shooting could use some tinkering, he has flashed potential as a shooter, and should learn well under Draymond Green at Golden State. He looks to be a staple of the Warriors’ frontcourt for the foreseeable future and has the tools to develop into a star big man.
Stats: 11.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.9 APG, 0.4 WS, 40.5% FG, 34.3% 3P, 73.7% FT, 15.63 OPR
Initially off to a slow start, Ball has ramped up his production in Charlotte. With the Hornets’ second unit, Ball has lived up to his label as a playmaker and scorer, producing an above-average 15.63 OPR. He has produced a positive box plus/minus coming off the bench, leads all rookies in assists per game, and also ranks top 5 in the league in steal %. As he continues to develop on a young Hornets team, Ball’s length and playmaking skills will allow him to progress into one of the draft class’ top guards.
Stats: 8.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.3 WS, 50% FG, 34.8% 3P, 87.5% FT, 11.32 OPR
In the absence of Kemba Walker, Pritchard has been a pleasant surprise for Boston. So far, he has come off the bench for the Celtics, receiving the 5th most minutes on the team. Pritchard has been an efficient shooter in the Boston backcourt, especially from mid-range, and has a +10.1 On-Court plus/minus per 100 possessions, while playing squarely in the middle of the Celtics’ rotation. He has shown that he is ready to be part of an NBA contender, with a more immediate impact than most other rookies. Pritchard has produced on both sides of the ball and projects to be a potential long-term rotation piece for the Celtics.
New York Knicks
Stats: 7.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.3 WS, 53.3% FG, 42.9% 3P, 100% FT, 22.35 OPR
A late first round pick, Quickley has performed well in a limited capacity for a surprisingly decent Knicks team. Quickley has a smaller sample size than the other rookies here, but he has shown a lot of potential. He has shot the ball well and has flashed potential to be the Knicks’ primary ball handler long-term. He ranks among the top 7 of rookies in box plus/minus and has a +6.9 On-Court plus/minus per 100 possessions. It is a very small sample size, but his large 22.35 OPR shows that Quickley could be a long-term piece at guard for New York.
Stats: 15.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, -0.2 WS, 40.9% FG, 28.8% 3P, 73.7% FT, 11.55 OPR
Coming out of college as a scorer, #1 pick Edwards has produced in that capacity for Minnesota. Leading all rookies in points scored per game, Edwards has produced well for the middle of the Timberwolves’ lineup. He also ranks top 3 on the team in Usage Rate, taking on a slightly large offensive role in games Karl-Anthony Towns has missed. If Edwards can become more consistent shooting from outside for a struggling Timberwolves team, he could live up to his billing as top pick in the draft class.
Other Rookies to Watch:
Cole Anthony, MAGIC: 8.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.4 APG, 0.1 WS, 30.3% FG, 19% 3P, 95% FT, 12.02 OPR
Deni Avdija, WIZARDS: 6.4 PPG, 4 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.3 WS, 47.4% FG, 45.8% 3P, 57.1% FT, 10.94 OPR
Patrick Williams, BULLS: 10.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.1 WS, 47.1% FG, 47.1% 3P, 84.2% FT, 9.09 OPR
Precious Achiuwa, HEAT: 7.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.2 WS, 57.1% FG, 52.4 FT%, 11.30 OPR
Saddiq Bey, PISTONS: 10.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.2 WS, 36.1% FG, 46.3% 3P, 71.4% FT, 13.38 OPR
*Stats via Basketball Reference, as of January 7th, 2021
Below is a full breakdown of the top performing rookie’s in terms of OPR.
[Rookies playing in more than 3 games] Player Pos Tm G ScaledPTSper100 OPR
Immanuel Quickley PG NYK 4 26.5728099 22.348247888
Tyrese Haliburton PG SAC 6 13.8179539 18.174363152
Jordan Nwora SF MIL 6 23.6147333 17.651786622
Daniel Oturu C LAC 4 14.6617842 17.279427369
LaMelo Ball PG CHO 8 12.8688250 15.625060016
Jaden McDaniels PF MIN 5 15.5579154 15.046332299
Facundo Campazzo PG DEN 7 16.4601042 14.348083356
Nathan Knight PF ATL 4 31.1864407 14.309152542
Saddiq Bey SF DET 7 12.5916110 13.383288776
CJ Elleby SF POR 4 11.0734463 12.588757062
Devin Vassell SG SAS 7 8.2146769 12.431741512
Cole Anthony PG ORL 8 9.5955382 12.016430548
Sam Merrill SG MIL 5 10.5052731 11.794218479
Tyrese Maxey SG PHI 9 10.3222181 11.597774447
Anthony Edwards SG MIN 8 15.3394864 11.551589085
Payton Pritchard SG BOS 9 11.0735045 11.318803620
Precious Achiuwa PF MIA 7 14.1272491 11.301799295
James Wiseman C GSW 8 13.2932109 11.164568756
Deni Avdija SF WAS 8 7.7658029 10.942642286
Tyrell Terry PG DAL 4 1.4957265 9.946581197
Patrick Williams PF CHI 9 11.7826964 9.086157145
Desmond Bane SG MEM 8 10.3562278 8.374982230
Lamar Stevens PF CLE 5 7.9153622 7.852289755
Isaiah Stewart C DET 6 6.0791278 7.633302222
Jae’Sean Tate SF HOU 6 8.4587938 7.447035071
Chuma Okeke PF ORL 5 3.9680233 7.244418605
Isaiah Joe SG PHI 4 0.6308666 6.014693298
Isaac Okoro SG CLE 4 6.6650509 5.302040717
Josh Green SG DAL 6 6.7509482 4.770758534
Théo Maledon PG OKC 7 9.4573454 4.765876314
Reggie Perry PF BRK 4 7.4282297 4.592583732
Malachi Flynn PG TOR 4 0.0000000 3.200000000
Aleksej Pokusevski PF OKC 5 0.3844100 1.697528030
Killian Hayes PG DET 7 3.4615385 -0.630769231
R.J. Hampton PG DEN 5 7.0000000 -2.830000000