It is always nice to see new blood enter the NBA, particularly rookies who seem destined for stardom right away.
This year’s rookie crop may not be the greatest or the deepest, but there are two players who are impressing the basketball world in the early going of this season and may be headed toward extremely productive careers.
1. Paolo Banchero – Orlando Magic
Paolo Banchero was the top pick in June’s draft, and through six games he is showing why.
The 6-foot-10, 250-pound power forward is averaging 22.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.1 blocked shots per game, and he has shown to be an effective scorer and rebounder while showing some potential on the defensive end.
Paolo Banchero was HISTORIC tonight, becoming the first No. 1 overall pick to drop 20+ PTS, 5+ REB, and 5+ AST in their NBA debut since LeBron James in 2003! pic.twitter.com/RrQwbl5h7r
— NBA (@NBA) October 20, 2022
He has had a historic start to the year, putting up numbers that haven’t been seen from a rookie in over 25 years.
Paolo Banchero's first 4 NBA games
27 PT, 9 REB, 5 AST, 2 BLK, 61% FG
20 PTS, 12 REB, 3 BLK
23 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 2 3PT
21 PTS, 4 REB, 2 STL
The last player to start their career with 4 straight 20+ was Grant Hill in 1994 pic.twitter.com/Z7QnEyUPxF
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 25, 2022
The Magic have been bereft of any difference-makers ever since they traded future Hall of Famer Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers 10 years ago, and they haven’t had a legitimate superstar since Shaquille O’Neal in the mid-1990s.
Banchero is giving Magic fans hope that there may be light at the end of the tunnel for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2010.
2. Keegan Murray – Sacramento Kings
The Kings are another NBA franchise that has had another long drought, as they haven’t made the playoffs since 2006.
As the No. 4 pick in the 2022 draft, Keegan Murray was somewhat unheralded, but the 6-foot-8 forward looks like he could have some All-Star appearances in his future.
He is averaging 18.8 points a game while shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from 3-point range through four contests.