Early impressions: The 2018 NBA rookie class

Adrian Dy on Oct 22, 2018 03:24 PM
Early impressions: The 2018 NBA rookie class
Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young (11) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love (0) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

With week one of the 2018-19 NBA season in the books, it's time to take a step back and check out how the class of 2018 did. While it's true first impressions generally don't last in the NBA (ask guys like Danny Green or Hassan Whiteside, who needed to reestablish themselves abroad before returning to the Association, after quiet first years), it's still fun to push aside caveats of "Small sample size!" and just check out which rookies have already been impressive so far.


Trae Young (ATL - #5)

3 games - 23.0 points (45.5 FG%, 39.3 3FG%), 3.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists

Luka Doncic (DAL - #3)

2 games - 18.0 points (40.6 FG%, 28.6 3FG%), 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 5.0 turnovers

When Dallas traded to move up to snag Doncic, with Atlanta moving down to grab Young, the two players became linked, an easy talking point about the 2018 Draft that would be referenced for a long time. Well, through the first week of their careers, it's safe to say that...both have been pretty good so far for their respective teams!

Young has gotten better with each game - his points, three-pointers made, and assists have been rising, while his turnovers have dropped. He capped his first week off with an explosive 35-point, 11-assist outing against the Cavaliers, numbers that haven't been seen from a rookie since Stephen Curry back in 2010.

Doncic meanwhile had a bit of foul trouble in his first game, a loss to the Suns, but he bounced back in a big way against the Timberwolves. The Slovenian standout produced an across-the-board effort: 26-point, 6-board, 3-assist, 1-block, 2-steals in that drubbing of Minnesota. One big negative though? A total of 10 turnovers in just 66 minutes across two games.


Deandre Ayton (PHO - #1)

2 games - 11.5 points (55.6 FG%), 9.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists

Ayton looked every bit the #1 pick against the Mavericks, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists, but he fell back down to Earth versus the Nuggets. He managed just 5 points (2/7 FG), 8 rebounds, and an assist, but more importantly, he was part of the reason why Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was able to post a perfect shooting triple-double. That's a clear sign that he's still got some ways to go.

Mo Bamba (ORL - #6)

3 games - 6.0 points (50.0 FG%, 33.3 3FG%), 4.3 rebounds 1.3 assists, 2.0 blocks

Mo Bamba came out firing, going for 13 points on a 6-of-8 clip with 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in a win against the Heat. However, he went scoreless against the Charlotte Hornets in the Magic's second game, and only improved on that slightly - 5 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 3 blocks - in a narrow loss to the 76ers.


Marvin Bagley III (SAC - #2)

3 games - 12.7 points (51.7 FG%), 6.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals

Wendell Carter Jr. (CHI - #7)

2 games - 8.0 points (50.0 FG%), 2.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists

These two Duke teammates haven't had any games yet that would make you go "WHOA!" but at the same time, they haven't really had any stinkers either. I don't think the Kings or the Bulls mind what they're getting though.


Jaren Jackson Jr. (MEM - #4)

2 games - 17.0 points (55.6 FG%, 40.0 3FG%), 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.5 blocks

The preseason scoring machine looked timid in his regular season debut (10 points on 2-of-6 shooting). He recovered nicely in his second game though, going up to 24 markers on an 8-of-12 clip. Jackson Jr. paired that nicely with 7 boards, 2 dimes, 2 blocks, and a steal.

Allonzo Trier (NYK - undrafted)

3 games - 12.7 points (42.3 FG%, 42.9 3FG%), 2.7 rebounds

Turned heads with this slam, but with Kevin Knox sidelined (see below), he should have more opportunities to have an impact - vital for someone who's undrafted.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC - #11)

3 games - 8.3 points (56.3 FG%), 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists

Head coach Doc Rivers has taken a liking to SGA, even giving him crunchtime minutes in their win over the Houston Rockets. Yes, they put him on James Harden. Yes, Harden still managed to score. But yes, the rookie gave a pretty good effort on the reigning MVP. Expect to see his minutes grow as the season goes along.


Kevin Knox (NYK - #9)

3 games - 9.3 points (35.5 FG%, 44.4 3FG%), 2.0 rebounds

After a poor shooting outing in his debut, Knox found his stroke against the Brooklyn Nets. Unfortunately, he couldn't build on that momentum, spraining his right ankle early versus the Boston Celtics. He'll miss at least two games, though it could have been worse.


Rodions Kurucs (BKN - #40)

3 games - 8.7 points (47.4 FG%, 40.0 3FG%), 4.0 rebounds

The 40th overall pick has been getting playing time for the Nets, and he's responded in kind, going from just 3 points and 1 rebound in his debut, to 11 and 5, and 12 and 6 in the last two games. If the 6'9" Latvian can maintain his pace throughout the season, he'll be another diamond in the rough discovered by the Nets front office.


Grayson Allen (UTA - #21)

Jacob Evans (GSW - #28)

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