Being a rookie is quite difficult, as you have to make an adjustment to the pace and lifestyle of the NBA, especially considering how many games are played throughout a full season when compared to the NCAA.
Naturally, that makes rookie hit that so-called ‘rookie wall’ somewhere around midseason when their unprepared bodies aren’t capable of handling so much load and their game tends to regress.
Even so, there are some rookies that prove to be more and more ready as the season goes by, but their coaches seem reluctant to play them more minutes anyway. Today, we’re going to let you know about 5 rookies that have been quite good, but that need way more minutes to succeed.
5. Robert Williams
Robert Williams was forced to miss the beginning of the season but now that he’s ready to contribute, he’s been looking way better than what stats may say, especially in the defensive end of the floor.
Williams was a huge sleeper in this year’s Draft and has already shown his defensive potential by swatting Anthony Davis himself, and even if the sample size is quite small, his per 36 mins averages are 12.2 points, 13.4 rebounds and a whopping 5.5 blocks a game.
4. Harry Giles
Harry Giles should actually be traded, as he’s going to have a very tough time finding minutes on such a crowded Sacramento Kings frontcourt with Marvin Bagley and Willie Cauley-Stein on board.
Either way, Giles has been quite good on limited minutes this season. His handles are great for a big man, and even though he lacks the range of a stretch four, he’s got all the tools to become a solid backup in this league.
Per 36 minutes, he is averaging 18.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Pretty impressive.
3. Grayson Allen
Like him or not, Grayson Allen has always been a walking bucket. He may struggle with consistency at times and his antics aren’t going to be tolerated in this league, but he’s got a lot of offensive talent.
The Jazz has struggled to put up points in the scoreboard all year long and even rathered trading for Kyle Korver instead of just giving more minutes to the rookie. His shot isn’t falling right now, but mostly because he’s averaging 3.6 attempts a night and needs more touches to get going.
Per 36 minutes, he is averaging 15.3 points and maybe Utah Jazz should give him a few more minutes than so far.
2. Elie Okobo
The Phoenix Suns desperately need a starting point guard, but for some reason, they refuse to hand more minutes to the one they have right now, even though they have no one that could do it better.
Even if Devin Booker is a solid playmaker, he thrives off-ball and Okobo has proven to be an above the average ball handler at this point, but he’s never going to improve unless they truly hand him the keys of the car.
Okobo is averaging 6.7 points, 2.6 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game and that is a very solid stat line for a rookie who comes off the bench.
1. Mo Bamba
Well, so much for Mo Bamba being our sleeper for Rookie of the Year. He’s been a huge bust and a disappointment so far, but mostly because Nikola Vucevic has been on a roll all year long and he’s been snagging most of his minutes.
Bamba has the upside to become the league’s best rim protector and his offense looked way ahead of schedule during the preseason, but he’s only getting 17 minutes a night after being drafted with the 6th overall pick. Also, his per 36 averages of 14.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.8 blocks, and 1.3 three-pointers a game proves he’s got to be out there.