I can’t stop talking about the NBA rookie class of 2017-18

For someone that’s watched a few decades of NBA basketball, I don’t recall seeing a as many amazing and promising first-year players *during* their first year of play. I can’t stop talking about this year’s rookies.

Yes, there was the 1984 group, the 1996 class and the bevy of superstars from the 2003 draft, but when it comes to the sheer number of mature, NBA-ready players impacting their teams, 2017 might take the cake.

Am I saying that 2017 is already the best? That would be silly; talent, IQ and maturity are important indicators for first year players but so is consistency and longevity. One successful year doesn’t make a LeBron James, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. Not even close. Though the group is showing a lot of promise.

It’s a bit unfair to have Ben Simmons, 2016’s #1 draft pick being classified as a rookie in 2017, but it is what it is. Officially, he’s a 2017 rookie and halfway through the season, Simmons along with the Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell are the front runners for the Rookie of the Year award. Those two lead an impressive handful of impactful rookies in Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma, and Lauri Markkanen.

Simmons, Mitchell, Tatum, Kuzma and Markkanen are pretty much locks for the all-rookie team – they’re all scoring more between 14-18 points per game and have been doing so since the start of the season, so they’ll be honored with those selections if they can keep up their play in the next 40 or so games. Take a look at the highest scoring rookies from this year (via ESPN):

 

Outside of those five, we then get into the depth of the class. Preseason wonder Dennis Smith Jr.’s star has faded some in the regular season, but he has a high usage rate with the Mavericks that will allow him to keep him numbers up. Smith Jr. Lonzo Ball continues to learn each game and even with a subpar shooting, he’s filling up the stat sheet. William Hill promotional code 2018

John Collins is a solid contributor for the Hawks. De’Aaron Fox is a dynamic, fun player to watch. Mike James and Bogdan Bogdanovic are international veterans making waves in their first year while Jordan Bell is earning minutes on the champion Golden State Warriors team.

And this year’s #1 overall pick, Markelle Fultz, hasn’t even played one game. It’s refreshing to see more than a dozen rookie players doing so well after watching the 2016 class perform so poorly. To further highlight this years class, last year’s Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon wouldn’t even make this year’s first year all-rookie team. It’s not a knock on Brogdon, it just emphasizes the potential greatness of this years crop.

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