Not Playing Their Age

Playing Above Their Age Level

Top 5 NBA Rookies Who Have Impressed Right Out of the Gate

We all have grown accustomed with the feeling out process that is entering the NBA.

For rookies, there will undoubtedly be steep learning curve coming into the league, but for many 2017 rookies, they have seemingly assimilated into NBA culture effortlessly. Sure, few rookies have not lived up to expectations, but a good number of kids have definitely exceeded them.

So without further adieu, here are the top five rookies who have been playing above their age level.

5. Lauri Markannen (CHI)

Not many things have gone right for the Chicago Bulls, but at least rookie big man Lauri Markannen has continued to ball out throughout all the low points. As the losses continue to mount, the Bulls can at least hang their hats on the fact that they have most likely found a franchise player in the Finnish-born rookie.

Averaging 14.7-points and 8.1-boards per game, Markannen has been consistent throughout the early goings of the season, receiving praise from around the league as well as comparisons to the likes of Dirk Nowitzki. I guess the Bulls can at least not complain about that.

4. Kyle Kuzma (LAL)

There has been no bigger surprise than the revelation that has been Kyle Kuzma.

A four-year player out of the University of Utah, Kuzma has shockingly been the rookie to steal all headlines under the bright lights of Los Angeles. Recently returning back to a bench role, Kuzma has continued being productive, averaging 16.0-points and 6.7-boards per night. Completing all four years of college, Kuzma has also shown maturity to his game, that is above most rookies in the league. While Lonzo Ball has continued struggling with his level of aggressiveness and shooting, it has been Kuzma who has shown Magic Johnson and the rest of the Lakers front office that he should be very much a part of the Lakers future.

3. Jayson Tatum (BOS)

What isn’t going right for the Boston Celtics?

Billed as the prospect with the most polished offensive game in the entire 2017 NBA Draft, Jayson Tatum has been playing as advertised, if not better. With an increased role in the absence of All-Star Gordon Hayward, Tatum has not shied away from the pressure, averaging 14.1-points and 5.5-boards per game, while shooting a ridiculous 52.3% from beyond the arc.

Along with multiple young guys, Tatum has been stepping into key spots for the Celtics and in a very organic Brad Stevens offensive system, the Duke Blue Devil alum has been granted every opportunity to succeed.

2. Donovan Mitchell (UTJ)

Not many people including the team that drafted him saw this coming.

Picked 13th overall out of Louisville, Donovan Mitchell has been absolutely electric for the Utah Jazz. Averaging 17.3-points a night, Mitchell had a recent five-game stretch of scoring at least 21-points, which included his explosive 41-point performance against the New Orleans Pelicans. The shooting percentages do not look great at this point, as Mitchell is only averaging 41% from the field and 37% from long range, but the 21-year old guard is aggressive, shows fearlessness, and on a team like the Jazz, he will continue receiving these opportunities to keep growing as a basketball player.

1. Ben Simmons (PHI)

Assuming he stays healthy, you may as well just hand the Rookie of the Year Award to Ben Simmons. Outside of having a jump shot and shooting range, Simmons can do just about everything on the floor. He’s 6’10” point guard in a power forward’s body. In his first full season with the Philadelphia Sixers, Simmons has already racked up three triple-doubles and has averaged 18.0-points, 9.2-boards, and 7.7-assists per contest.

All while shooting 50.7% from the field, the athletic and lanky Aussie has not only cemented his name in the rookie ladder, but may even be up for consideration to crack the All-Star team.


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