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Top 10 Active NBA Stars With Terrible Rookie Seasons

Fadeaway World

Fadeaway World

Some of the players we love and respect nowadays weren’t always as good as they are today, as they were even considered to be busts when they first got to the best league in professional basketball.

Naturally, some growing pains are expected when making the adjustment from overseas basketball or the NCAA, but for some players, it takes a bit longer to adapt and thrive in the NBA.

Hopefully, coaches didn’t give up on these players talents, or else, the league we love so much would’ve been really different nowadays. Today, we’re going to let you know about 10 active stars that had terrible rookie seasons.

10. James Harden

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It’s crazy to think that the Oklahoma City Thunder actually traded James Harden. Moreover, it’s crazy to remember that he wasn’t even starting for that team to begin with and now he’s the reigning MVP.

Harden always showed glimpses of greatness in the offensive side of the hardwood, but inconsistency really took a toll on his rookie campaign, when he averaged 9.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

9. DeMar DeRozan

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When he first got to the league, DeMar DeRozan mightily struggled to be the same dominant scorer he was in high school and college, as he was really weak and skinny and couldn’t create separation between him and NBA defenders.

His lack of a jump shot really exposed him at times and he was looking like a bust right away during his rookie year. Throughout that campaign, he averaged 8.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.6 steals on 21.6 minutes per game.

8. Kawhi Leonard

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Gregg Popovich once admitted that not even him expected Kawhi Leonard to be that good and that trading for him was one of the biggest risks of his career. Needless to say, the risk was definitely worth it.

Even so, and even despite the fact that he was able to contribute right away, he was ages away from being the offensive stand out he is nowadays. Throughout his rookie campaign, he averaged just 7.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

7. Paul George

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Paul George is one of the best two-way players in the game nowadays, the kind of player everybody would love to build a franchise around, and one of the most effective scorers in the league.

Sadly for him, it wasn’t always like that, but Danny Granger’s constant injuries opened up the door for more playing time for him and the rest is history. During his rookie year, he averaged 7.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

6. Giannis Antetokounmpo

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When Giannis first got to the league, everybody thought the Bucks were crazy for drafting him in the first round, as he looked like a skinny tweener who was a couple of years away from being able to make an impact.

With most people thinking he should’ve been a 2nd rounder and that he was going to spend a lot of time in the G-league, he didn't’ do much to help his cause throughout his rookie campaign, averaging just 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks on 41% shooting.

5. Gordon Hayward

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Gordon Hayward has made great strides throughout his NBA career. Through the first couple of seasons, he looked like an unathletic player that was never going to be an elite scorer due to his lack of physicality.

Needless to say, he eventually grew to become one of the most versatile wings in the league, but throughout his rookie campaign, he averaged 5.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.4 steals on 16.9 minutes per game.

4. CJ McCollum

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Throughout his rookie season, everybody was so high on watching CJ McCollum take the floor to see if he was in fact as good as scouts said, but the Blazers were stacked at the time and were reluctant to unleash him until they were supposed to tank.

With Wesley Matthews on board, it wasn’t going to be easy for him to find much playing time, so he was only able to average 5.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.4 steals on 38 appearances.

3. Rudy Gobert

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All of the teams that passed on Rudy Gobert should be really regretting it right now, as the Stifle Tower grew up to become the league’s best rim protector, while his offense is finally starting to catch up as well.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t always like that for the French big man, who had a rough couple of seasons before finally establishing his presence down low. Throughout his rookie season, he averaged 2.3 points and 3.4 rebounds with 0.9 blocks on 9.6 minutes a night, making just 45 appearances.

2. Draymond Green

The Golden State Warriors Could Trade Draymond Green If He Ask For A Max Deal

Considering what he had accomplished at Michigan State, it’s still crazy to think that Draymond Green slipped so much in the Draft, even despite his age and lack of a consistent ability to hit from mid and long range.

Even so, he didn’t look nearly half as good as he does right now when he became the league’s most versatile defender. Throughout his rookie campaign, Draymond missed 12 games and averaged 2.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0,7 assists on 31% shooting.

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1. Jimmy Butler

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Jimmy Butler was actually the last pick of the 1st round of his Draft and while nobody ever thought he could blossom into the two-way stud he is nowadays, he also wasn’t looking quite sharp, to say the least.

Butler was extremely raw in the offensive end and hadn’t developed the strong upper body he has nowadays, so he struggled to contain opposing wings. During his rookie season, he averaged 2.6 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.3 assists on 8.5 minutes per game and missed half of the games the Bulls played that year.