One of the most fun parts of a new season is getting to finally see all the rookies in action. From the guys we think are going to be stars, to the overlooked later picks that surprise us; it’s always fun to watch.
Everyone always has that one rookie that they are really looking forward to play. So here are who our writers are looking forward to watching the most.
Jack Maloney (@jmaloney9)
The one rookie I really can’t wait to watch, above all others, is the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. Only 18 years old, the young man from Greece is 6′ 10″ and has all the physical tools to suggest he can be a star, including massive hands and a 7′ 3″ wingspan. His highlight tapes are fascinating, but then again he is playing sub-par competition in Greece. Part of the intrigue with Antetokounmpo is that he is a “mystery man” in a way. I’m not sure how much playing time he’ll get in Milwaukee, but I’m excited to see if he can turn his physical tools into success.
Michael Wesson (@iamWesson)
It would be so much more difficult to go against conventional wisdom in this case, but I will do it anyway. There are quite a few rookies I am truly looking forward to watch this upcoming season, but if I had to choose one player it would be Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke. The Utah Jazz will have the youngest team in the league this year. They have the two most promising big men with Kanter & Favors and it will be beneficial for those three players, along with Alec Burks, to get significant playing time and hopefully develop together. Burke will be the glue that holds that team together and it’s my hope that he emerges as the leader of that team. It also does not hurt that he will be able to score at will on a team that will sorely need his scoring punch. Some people may be thrown off by the unimpressive Orlando Summer League performance, but I will remember him from the anger in his voice from the ESPN radio interview on draft night when he got word that he was traded after being selected to Point Guard heaven ‘aka Minnesota. It’s my personal belief that Trey Burke will play with the same size chip that Damian Lillard played with last season and basketball fans all know how that turned out for him.
Zachary Bennet (@ZacharyBD)
I’m looking forward to watching Orlando Magic rookie guard Victor Oladipo. After watching him to participate in the Orlando Summer League, I’m convinced he’ll eventually (at the very-least) become an average player in the league. He’s 6 feet 4 inches tall, weighs, 214 pounds and at 21 years old, Oladipo is poised to become a lockdown defender someday. He’s is skilled enough to match-up against 1 and 2 guards and DraftExpress listed him 2nd of all NCAA players in steals per 40 minutes. Offensively he held his own in Orlando, averaging 19 points per game and 5 assists playing 32 and a half minutes. He’s deceptively explosive and is able to get by defenders, but he’s a bigger shooting threat. Oladipo was nearly 54 percent from behind-the-ark in Orlando and if he keeps it up, fans of the Magic wouldn’t be upset. However, after going into the draft, some speculation made V.O. the best player in the draft. Since draft-day I haven’t paid much attention to his expectations. Playing for a restructuring Magic organization, how will his success be measured — how high does his ceiling reach? I’ll be keeping a curious eye on Oladipo’s performance this season.
Quentin Haynes: (@Haynesenberg)
I’m going a bit off the board here. I’m very interested to see what Kentavious Caldwell-Pope does in Detroit. The Pistons as a team had an interesting offseason with Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings as key additions, but on the surface, someone needs to shoot the basketball and space the floor for that team. In his last season at Georgia, KCP shot 37% from three in a much larger role than he will see with the Pistons this upcoming season. Along with the shooting, I think Caldwell-Pope has a chance to be a solid defensive player in the NBA, which is a big need for a backcourt with Brandon Jennings in it. If Pope can establish himself as a good shooter early, as well as flash some defensive ability early, he could be a starter for a playoff team.