8 players making 2018 Draft one of most productive ever

NBA.com Global on Dec 05, 2019 06:50 AM
8 players making 2018 Draft one of most productive ever
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 24: Luka Doni, winner of the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year award, poses during the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Turner Sports)

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com

Devonte’ Graham isn’t the only member of the 2018 Draft class enjoying a stellar sophomore season. Injuries have held back Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton and Sacramento’s Marvin Bagley, but that hasn’t stopped the Class of ’18 from being one of the most productive and promising in recent NBA memory. With Graham included, here are seven other standouts at the 2019-20 quarter pole:

Luka Doncic, Dallas (No. 3 pick overall): Never mind the “super sophs” list -- Doncic is getting All-NBA and even Kia MVP consideration for his breathtaking work for the Mavericks. At 30.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 9.4 assists per game, he’d be a no-brain No. 1 pick if this group were re-drafted.

Trae Young, Atlanta (No. 5): The Hawks are fortunate Young has been so dynamic (28.2 ppg, 8.3 apg) and entertaining, sparing them from the second-guessing that normally might have accompanied their decision to swap picks that night with Dallas.

Collin Sexton, Cleveland (No. 8): The Alabama product flew below the radar on a losing team last season before landing on the All-Rookie squad and he’s been doing the same this season. His 3-point shooting and assists are down, but Sexton is taking better care of the ball and is up in most categories (18.1 ppg).

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (No. 11): It’s to SGA’s credit that Thunder GM Sam Presti, so fixated on Draft picks in dealing away Paul George and Russell Westbrook, saw him as a legit piece for OKC’s future. Gilgeous-Alexander has scored at least 20 points nine times, including 26 in his debut and 28 the next game.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis (No. 4): A year ago, Jackson became the first NBA rookie to record at least 50 blocks, 50 steals and 50 3-pointers. This season, he’s back at it, averaging 18.3 ppg in his last 12 games while hitting 43% from the arc. He had 31 points vs. Indiana Monday, picking up slack for injured Ja Morant and Jonas Valunciunas.

Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago (No. 7): Carter has stayed healthy so far and looks like a Bulls building block despite the team’s dreary start. He's at 12.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg and 56.6% shooting while showing some of the Al Horford similarities for which he was touted in college.

Mitchell Robinson, New York (No. 36): Like Graham, Robinson was a second-round gem. His presence is felt most at the rim and on the glass, where his shot-swatting (1.9 bpg), rebounds (6.6) and efficient offense (67.9% shooting) have kept him out of the blame game for the Knicks’ horrible record.

Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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