The NBA usually produces a few new rookies who make headlines. They are the newest faces of the league and the future of basketball. This season is no different, with many rookies making their mark and impressing fans and experts alike.
We’ve reached the 2021-22 NBA season’s midway point, so let’s check in on the rookie class. Some rookies have already established themselves as stars in the league. Others are still finding their footing, but all of them have shown flashes of promise.
Orlando Magic’s small forward and shooting guard, showed what made him unique in a matchup against the Nuggets. He makes every move look easy.
He cuts to the rim and passes to Will Barton with ease on one play. On top of that, Wagner can be an excellent primary ball-handler as well. Plus, he can serve as a spot-up three-point shooter.
Wagner has been making at least 40% of his catch-and-shoot three-pointers. He can also block mid-range jumpers, and because he’s 6’9″ in height, Wagner can consistently finish shots at the rim.
You may think that he would not be this well-rounded on offense due to his size, but the fact that Wagner has been this productive offensively is impactful for the Magic. He has been versatile on defense, and it’s rare to see him make mistakes on the defensive end.
He can block shots, steal passes, take charges, and more. Wagner also grabs rebounds at a high rate for his position.
There’s no denying Giddey has a bright future ahead of him, and it seems like he’s on the path to becoming an NBA star. Last week, he recorded back-to-back triple-doubles, making him the first rookie to do so since Ben Simmons.
He’s also the youngest player to achieve this feat (at 19 years old) and joins Luka Doncic and Simmons as one of three rookies to log at least three triple-doubles in their first year.
With his exceptional skills and passion for the game, it’s no wonder he’s garnering attention. Check out the latest NBA odds and see where the Oklahoma City Thunder stands today.
Duarte joins Myles Turner and Haliburton as the new core of the Pacers. Indiana has been an underachieving team for the past few years, but they now have a solid core that can hopefully lead them back to playoff contention in the East.
The Pacers hope that adding Duarte will help lift some of the load off their veteran’s shoulders and let them play more freely on offense. Duarte has been a consistent scorer in the league, averaging over 15 points per game. He also shot 36.4% from beyond the arc, which will be valuable in Indiana’s system that likes to spread the floor.
Since the start of February, Thomas has been heating up the scoreboard, making you forget the Nets just wrapped up a harrowing 11-game losing streak.
Thomas has proven to be a real gem at times. His high-scoring production is out of necessity because of injuries, like Kevin Durant (MCL injury).
This rookie shooting guard has undoubtedly stepped up on the bench, making shots to justify his playing time. It is still uncertain if the Nets will include Thomas in their long-term plans. If he continues to play well, maybe he can earn a spot in the rotation for next season and beyond.
This rookie from the Bulls might be the 2021 NBA Draft’s steal. While Dosunmu is a second-round draft pick, he can undoubtedly step into the team’s starting lineup. Dosunmu is a versatile point guard who can handle the ball, distribute it to his teammates, and score deep.
He has good vision, passing skills, and shooting touch. He has the quickness and speed to get around defenders quickly. Dosunmu has been doing an excellent job for the injured Bulls. He has been averaging about 13 points and five rebounds per game. His performance in the last few games has helped him earn more playing minutes for the Bulls.
Rookies in the NBA often play a significant role in the game. They are often the players who make the most mistakes, but they also can make a lot of progress. It’s exciting and thrilling to see these young players grow and develop their skills.