By Thomas Jeffrey
With the NBA regular season in the past, most rookies already had their chance showcase their talents. They showed us that if the NBA Draft would have been redone, the top 10 would look like this:
- Philadelphia 76ers- Donovan Mitchell, Louisville Guard- Mitchell had a superb rookie season. He averaged just over 20 points per game and led the Utah Jazz, a team with low expectations, to the second round of the playoffs.
- Los Angeles Lakers- Jayson Tatum, Duke Forward- Tatum is arguably the most polished player in this year’s draft class, and he displayed his skills this past season. Averaging 14 points per game, Tatum was a key piece to the Celtics’ success and will only get better as time goes on.
- Boston Celtics- Lauri Markkanen, Arizona Forward- The Celtics wouldn’t necessarily need Markannen since they have Al Horford, but Markkanen is the best player available. The Finnish power forward averaged 15 points per game and score from anywhere on the court. Brad Stevens would definitely be able to fit Markkanen into his offense
- Phoenix Suns- Kyle Kuzma, Utah Forward- Kuzma is another player in this draft that is very skilled offensively, averaging 16 points per game. Perhaps being the steal of the draft, Kuzma was the best offensive player on the Lakers and also their top rookie. Phoenix would greatly benefit from Kuzma and Devin Booker’s scoring ability.
- Sacramento Kings- De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky Guard- Fox didn’t give the Kings much to complain about. He averaged 12 points per game and showed his clutch ability by hitting multiple game winners. With his speed and athleticism, Fox will be a really good point guard in this league.
- Orlando Magic- Josh Jackson, Kansas Guard- Josh Jackson’s main assets are his athleticism and defense. However, he had a pretty successful offensive season, averaging 13 points per game. He had a solid season, and the Magic could definitely use him.
- Chicago Bulls- Lonzo Ball, UCLA Guard- With sky-high expectations, many feel that Lonzo Ball’s debut season was a bust. However, Ball did average ten points and seven assists per game. Although Ball didn’t live up to unrealistic expectations, he definitely isn’t a bust.
- New York Knicks- Dennis Smith Jr., North Carolina State Guard- Not much bad to say about Smith. He is an athletic guard who averaged 15 points per game. He would be a great addition to a Knicks team who is desperately trying to surge back up to NBA glory. Smith would definitely help in that endeavor.
- Dallas Mavericks- OG Anunoby, Indiana Forward- Anunoby only averaged six points per game for the Raptors, but he was a great defensive player. His length allowed him to guard players like Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, something Dallas could benefit from.
- Portland Trail Blazers- Markelle Fultz, Washington Guard- Now this one may seem crazy. Yes, the blazers do have two star guards in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. And yes, Markelle Fultz was the number one overall pick and still has the potential to live up to that after a hindered debut season. But Fultz just doesn’t fit in Philly with Ben Simmons being the primary ball handler and T.J. McConnell being a capable backup. Fultz would have the opportunity to learn from Lillard and McCollum. Also, Lillard might possibly soon want out of Portland, which would give Fultz a prime opportunity to replace him.