Every year it seems like there are a couple of rookies that perform better their draft stock. Sometimes players in their first year blow up, and have us saying “how was he a not top five pick?” And General Managers saying “why didn’t we pick him?” Take a look at three rookies that have the ability to play above expectations this year, or being considered draft steals.
Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies
I’m a big fan of players that play with a passion, and have a lot of fight in them, especially on the defensive end of the court. I think that’s why I quickly became a Brandon Clarke fan. He is at the top when it comes to defensive rookies, and has the tools to be an elite shot blocker. He is only 6-8 and can’t shoot well from the field, but his weaknesses are evened out with a 6-11 Jaren Jackson Jr. playing with him. I think that Clarke will be looked at as a top 10 player from this draft a year from now, and to get that at pick 21 is pretty special.
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
Let’s be real here. We saw Tyler Herro light it up in summer league, and we know he can shoot the lights out. In all fairness, the summer league is not at the same level as the NBA, but shooters are going to shoot. Herro is very good at creating space to get the open and shoot, and is also a better athlete than some realize, even though he’s not that big. Miami is a good place for Herro; Playing alongside Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler should help take the pressure off of him early on. Herro has a lot of potential and can be a very good player in this league. He has all the potential in the world to be a steal for the Heat when they drafted him with the 14th pick.
Bruno Fernando, Atlanta Hawks
It was a surprise to me to see Bruno Fernando get drafted 34th overall in the second round. He joins a young Atlanta Hawks team ready to make some noise. Bruno is a low key extremely athletic under the rim, has great footwork in the post, and isn’t afraid to step out and shoot the mid range jumper. He can be a good inside finisher and use his strength to his advantage. Defensively he is a presence inside just with his size, and being a good athlete helps him on that end. He is a good rebounder, and can use his strength to fight for the ball. The Hawks lost center Dewayne Dedmon to free agency, so Fernando might have a big role in his rookie year, and more minutes will help him grow as a player. With Fernando, it looks like we might get a first round talent, that was picked in the second round.