Throughout this exciting NBA season, we have seen a lot of new faces. Rookies have been coming in and making a huge impact on team success and has shown us fans that the younger generation is quite promising. We have also seen the opposite occur, rookies coming in with high expectations and not meeting it at all. Normally, you can just shake off a slow start as a rookie and let your game develop, but with this many exceptional young talents, it’s hard not to pick on the players that haven’t been up to par. That being said, lets get into the NBA first quarter rookie report cards.
Kendrick Nunn (Miami Heat): A+
What can I say about Mr. Nunn that hasn’t already been said. If he had any kind of expectation or ceiling set before the season, he has shattered that completely. Coming into the league underrated after playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors, a G-League team branching off of the Golden State Warriors, Nunn was not expected to be much of anything in the big leagues. Through his famous work-ethic, he has come into the league and became one of the best young scorers this year. He has been a tremendous reason for Miami’s hot start this season averaging 16ppg on 46% shooting. Kendrick Nunn is the real deal.
Coby White (Chicago Bulls): C
Being the 7th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Coby White had big shoes to fill. He was expected to be the facilitating, high octane offensive point guard that the Bulls have been searching for. Like the Bulls, he’s had a mediocre start to the season. He’s been averaging 13ppg on an extremely inefficient 36% on near 13 attempts. He has also not lived up to his expectations at all as a playmaker, as he has only put up 2.1apg while playing 25 minutes a game. On the defensive end, point guards usually have the hardest time adjusting to the NBA’s style of play as it is very different from running a college offense. White has shown glimpses of what he can be, for example 27 points in a win against the Knicks with 7 made threes, 26 points against the Bucks, and 28 points in a win against the Hornets. White has a lot of potential, and an awesome afro, but he has yet to emerge into that star that he was expected to be coming out of UNC.
Cam Reddish (Atlanta Hawks): F
Cam Reddish was one of the biggest names coming out of last years draft. Being drafted 10th overall out of Duke, NBA fans were outraged that 9 other teams passed on him. Fans were saying he was the steal of the draft, the best scorer in the draft, the 2nd best player in the draft, etc. In the 17 games that he has played in so far this season, he has been terrible in nearly every stat category. He’s been averaging 7ppg on 28% from the field and a horrendous 21% from three. He also averages 1.7 assists to go along with 1.8 turnovers, and a -9.2 +/-. Reddish has shown that he has athleticism, confidence, and a good handle for his size, other than that he has shown nothing but bust potential. I hope that he improves but in the first quarter of the season, Reddish has played well below his expectations.
Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies): A
Ja Morant is that guy. He has become a new rising star in the NBA and is currently the front-runner for the Rookie of the Year award. He is the leading scorer of the Memphis Grizzlies at 18ppg along with 6apg and 1.4spg. He’s an offensive force with a high basketball IQ and a crafty finisher around the rim. Morant has met his pre-season expectations and has shown flashes of superstar potential. For example, a 30 point game in a win against Kyrie Irving and the Nets while shooting 59%, a 26 point game in a tough loss against the almighty LA Lakers, and a 20 point game with 11 assists against the LA Clippers. Although the team hasn’t shown much success, Grizzlies fans have to be pleased with the individual success of their young point guard. As an NBA fan, I’m very excited to see what the future holds for this young man.
*All stats are sourced from NBA.com and Basketball Reference