Early Standouts of the 2020 NBA Draft Class

The NBA season is only a couple games in, but it’s already obvious who will stand out in the 2020 NBA Draft.

The Orange Gildersleeve
Jan 17 · 7 min read
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Source of Original Image: Bryce Wood of Sports Illustrated, Edited with Adobe Photoshop

The NBA season is here, and with it, the debuts of the highly touted rookies.

Even though this 2020 class is considered to be among one of the weaker years in terms of talent, there are plenty of rookies who are ready to show they belong in the NBA and can carve out lengthy careers. It’s too early to quite predict the future of their careers, but some rookies already stand out among their peers.

A rare feature about this year’s class is that so far no rook has been given the keys to the offense, something that’s become a staple of the draft in recent years for at least one or two franchises. These rookies are not in order of how well they are doing this year, but rather in the order that they were drafted in.

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Source of Original Image: NBA.com, Edited with Adobe Photoshop

Anthony Edwards entered the NBA as possibly the least hyped number one overall pick ever. There were multiple articles about how he didn’t even want to play in the NBA, and it clouded his potential from everyone.

Whether or not he wants to be there, Anthony Edwards is an NBA star in-the-making.

Even though he’s only been given 25 minutes a night, Edwards has made the most of his limited opportunities. He’s averaging nearly 14 points per game along with 3 rebounds and 2 assists a game. Edwards has shot the ball at an above average 38 percent clip and is one of the first options off the bench for a young Minnesota Timberwolves team. Edwards doesn’t quite have his three point shot down yet, but in the short sample size of the 10 games that he’s already played, his super athleticism and his ability to finish through contact will ensure he has a lengthy NBA career.

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Source of Original Image: Blue Man Hoop, Edited with Adobe Photoshop

People didn’t know what to expect out of Wiseman heading into the NBA draft, but it’s safe to say he has surpasses whatever expectations were there.

There were major concerns regarding the injury history and shape Wiseman would be in after only playing three college games before a lengthy break due to a suspension at Memphis and COVID-19, but Wiseman has squashed all of them.

The rookie center has averaged 10.6 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, and 1.5 blocks per game. He’s also shooting a blistering 40 percent from three for a center and 47 percent from the field in general. A major concern heading into the draft was his three point shot and ability to be knock down a mid-range, but so far, even though it has been slow, he has looked amazing. Wiseman has shown he has the tools to be an elite rim protector thanks to his ridiculous length and athletic ability, and his three-point shooting spaces the floor for the Warriors similar to how Boogie Cousins did, giving Steph Curry the floor space he needs to do his magic.

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Source of Original Image: Jerome Miron of USA TODAY Sports, Edited with Adobe Photoshop

Lamelo was perhaps the most hyped prospect heading into the draft, and rightfully so; he’s put up great numbers.

At this point in the season it’s too early to shut the door on anyone making a late push for the award, but Ball is the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year right now.

The youngest Ball brother is averaging 12 and a half points per game on 41 percent shooting from the field with 7 rebounds and 6 assists in 25 minutes of action. Similar to Wiseman, scouts were doubtful his awkward low release shot wouldn’t translate, but Lamelo is shooting league average 35 percent from beyond the arc on 6 attempts per game. Just like his brother Lonzo, Lamelo thrives when running the offense. He recently became the youngest player ever to record a triple double, perhaps a sign of things to come for the 19-year old.

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Source of Original Image: NBA.com, Edited with Adobe Photoshop

Fans and supporters of Haliburton likely groaned when they saw the chaotic Kings had drafted him, and while the fit hasn’t been perfect, Haliburton has looked great so far.

Haliburton has thrived as the perfect sixth man sparkplug off the bench on an exciting young Kings team that has started to play fast-tempo ball again.

Haliburton is averaging a cool 12.1 points, 5.3 assists, 2 and a half rebounds, and 1.3 steals in the 28 minutes per game he’s been given. It feels like all scouts could focus on in terms of weaknesses for this year’s prospects was their jumpshot, and Haliburton’s ugly release has still worked well in the NBA. He’s also shooting a ridiculous 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Even though his production may not seem like much on paper, he’s irreplaceable for the Kings. In the few games Haliburton was out with a wrist injury, the Kings looked lost without him. Haliburton is a key glue guy and helps his team with the little things, which sometimes matter the most. Look out for Haliburton in case he makes a late run for Rookie of the Year.

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Pat Riley just knows how to draft, and we’ve grown accustomed to it now.

Fans were anxiously waiting to see how Riley would follow up the excellent selection last year of breakout star Tyler Herro, and he didn’t disappoint.

Precious Achiuwa has gotten extremely limited opportunities on a stacked Miami Heat team and has only been able to carve out a role for 17 minutes a game. But in those 17 minutes, Achiuwa has managed to put up 8 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. The Miami Heat would be wise to give Achiuwa more chances to prove himself, who is capable of a double-double every night. Achiuwa recently had the best game of his career, putting up 17 points and 13 rebounds over 35 minutes in a narrow loss to the 76ers. Not much is being asked of Achiuwa right now as he is being utilized as only a high-energy big man who can throw down lobs and get you boards, but he is more than just that and his name should be one to remember if he receives more minutes.

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Source of Original Image: Yahoo! Sports, Edited with Adobe Photoshop

Saddiq Bey fell all the way to the Pistons at number 19 after a trade with the Brooklyn Nets even though he was projected to be top-10. While Detroit hasn’t exactly been a prosperous place the last couple of years, Bey can grow with the young core that is being built up in Motown.

The prospect from Villanova was one of the best 3-and-D wings available in the draft, and so far he has done well.

Bey is averaging 10 and a half points per game and 4.7 rebounds, but his impact on the brand of basketball that his team plays usually goes beyond the stat sheet. Bey is an excellent defender and so far he has shown that he has the tools to defend multiple positions at the NBA level. Bey is shooting 44 percent from three-point land, a number at the top of his draft class. He is highly underrated due to most of his contributions coming on the defensive side of the ball, and his defense will keep him in the league for a lengthy amount of time.

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Source of Image: Tim Nwachukwu of Getty Images, Edited with Adobe Photoshop

Payton Pritchard wasn’t a terrible prospect by any means, but scouts felt that Danny Ainge was reaching way down the draft board when he selected Pritchard with the 26th pick in the first round.

So far, Pritchard has done a great job of shutting up all of the scouts and critics who doubted him.

Similar to Achiuwa, Pritchard is playing for a stacked team, but has received decent playing time due to the injury of Kemba Walker. He is averaging 8 and a half points per game, 3 assists, 2 and a half rebounds, and 1.3 steals as well in 23 minutes a game. Pritchard is kind of like a swiss army knife similar to teammate Marcus Smart who can do it all for you while also shooting the ball efficiently. Pritchard is shooting 42 percent from three and 51 percent from the field. The Celtics haven’t played a game since January 8th, but the cult following around Pritchard has only grown after he hit a game winner against the Miami Heat.

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The Orange Gildersleeve

Written by

Writer for @BasketballUniversity. I write about sports, love, and other interesting topics, all for the readers! 🍊.

Basketball University

Weekly articles analyzing a variety of basketball-related topics

The Orange Gildersleeve

Written by

Writer for @BasketballUniversity. I write about sports, love, and other interesting topics, all for the readers! 🍊.

Basketball University

Weekly articles analyzing a variety of basketball-related topics

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