A player has to be something pretty special to jump into the fold of the NBA and start making a difference. The game is so different from college hoops, that it generally takes at least a year for the rookies to get their footing.
To add to that, most NBA pundits labeled the 2013 draft class a relative bust. Despite so many people dogging on this year’s rookies, a few “stars in the making” have still emerged. Let’s take a look at some of the newbies that have hit the ground running here in the big leagues.
For starters, Victor Oladipo was everything he was advertised as and more. Selected by the Orlando Magic with the team’s second pick, Oladipo has continued to show how versatile he is since taking the court for the Indiana Hoosiers.
This freakish athlete has made a very smooth transition into the pros. The guard is averaging around 13 points to go with his 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists. In a league where players have to get to the basket and create their own shots, Oladipo fits in quite well and is separating himself as a true Rookie of the Year candidate.
Syracuse alum Michael Carter-Williams is also thriving in the NBA as a part of the Philadelphia 76ers. The long point guard is proving that he has what it takes to be a floor general at the highest level of basketball. This is referenced in his 18.1 points per game plus 7.7 assists and 5.5 rebounds. Even more so than Oladipo, Carter-Williams is showing that he is a complete player.
You can’t talk about heady rookie floor generals without touching on Trey Burke from the University of Michigan. Burke was selected with the ninth pick of last year’s draft by Minnesota. However, the Utah Jazz traded for him and he seems like he will be worth the investment.
Burke suffered a preseason injury, which forced him to whimper out of the gate. However, lately, he is showing that he is the point guard of the future for the Jazz. Burke is averaging 13.4 points and 5.1 assists per game. He is king of creating his own shot, something we saw a lot of when his Wolverines reached the NCAA National Championship last year, where they lost to Louisville.
Ben McLemore, a freshman at Kansas last year, was one of the draft’s most high-profile picks. The shooting guard is adjusting fairly well to the NBA as a part of the Sacramento Kings. He has been good for just under nine points per game so far.
Unfortunately for last year’s No. 1 pick, things aren’t going so well. Cleveland took Anthony Bennett, a freshman at UNLV, for the first pick in last year’s draft. Some are labeling Bennett as one of the biggest draft busts in history.
Not only has the forward not been generating any stats to note, but it seems like his team has given up on him, giving him very little playing time. It is yet to be determined how long the Cavs will give him before they think about cutting him loose.
So much for “sure things” in the NBA draft!