We’re on the heels of yet another NBA season and the rookies appear to just be getting better and better each year. It almost seems that guys come into the league at 19 ready to play 20-plus minutes and develop into 20-point scorers before their first contract is even up. Speaking of, Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, and Kyle Kuzma were starting to look the part of 20-point scorers almost immediately last year.
We also got word that Markelle Fultz has gotten his shot back, Lonzo Ball set the record for being the youngest player to have a triple-double, and other first-rounders like O.G. Anunoby, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr., Lauri Markkanen, Josh Jackson, Bam Adebayo, John Collins, Jarrett Allen, and Josh Hart impressed. We even saw a few second-rounders make an instant impact on playoff teams such as Jordan Bell and Semi Ojeleye. While each draft is talented, the recent ones just seemed to be stacked with immense talent. This season’s draft looks to be no different as many players already have the intangibles to be consistent performers in the league. Without further ado, check out the rookie ratings below. If you haven’t already, check out our ratings hub for more ratings across the league.
Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers (79 OVR)
Grayson Allen, Utah Jazz (79 OVR)
Kevin Knox, New York Knicks (78 OVR)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Los Angeles Clippers (78 OVR)
Aaron Holiday, Indiana Pacers (77 OVR)
Taking a quick look into these ratings, Allen and Holiday were both taken outside of the lottery, 21 and 23, respectively, but both warrant high ratings as both of them showed up to play in the Vegas Summer League. The other thing to note about these players is that they each carry a veteran guard presence and are going to playoff teams who can each use rookies who play with a chip on their shoulder.
Kevin Knox and Collin Sexton also came to play in Vegas and lit it up for their respective teams, providing a bucket whenever needed, and coming up with some thrilling fourth quarter performances. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft because of his measurables (six-foot-six point guard with a six-foot-ten wingspan) and defensive potential – the Clippers might’ve gotten a top-end player when it’s all said and done.
Top Rookies in NBA LIVE 19
DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (84 OVR)
Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings (82 OVR)
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (81 OVR)
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (81 OVR)
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (81 OVR)
Mohamed Bamba, Orlando Magic (81 OVR)
Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets (80 OVR)
We’re going to break these players down in the order presented above – it all starts with the number one pick. DeAndre Ayton played the part of a future star this summer but was really the undoubted number one selection halfway through the college season. He’s big, powerful, has an array of polished moves to utilize on offense, and, while his defense is still a work-in-progress, could wind up turning into a solid shot-blocker with the right development. With an 84 OVR, Ayton is ahead of the pack to start off his career in NBA LIVE 19.
Just like the draft, Bagley takes the number two spot after one of the greatest college seasons we’ve ever seen from a numbers standpoint. When you watch Bagley, you instantly notice his ability to jump out of the gym, but he’s made even better by his fluidity while running the floor as well as his nose for the ball whenever he goes up for a rebound.
Luka Doncic, the third pick in the draft is tied with a host of other players sitting at 81, including the guy who he was swapped for on draft day, Trae Young. Both point guards already have skill sets that seem to translate but present different polish heading into the NBA. That being said, while Doncic may be the more complete player of the two, Young will come into the league with unlimited opportunities for the Hawks who just traded away their starting point guard and a heck of a shooter – a talent that seems to always carry over to the next level.
Jaren Jackson is a dark horse to win Rookie of the Year. Typically, bigs don’t seem to win it unless they put up gaudy numbers, but Jackson has one of the highest ceilings in this draft and that’s evidenced by summer league games with seven blocks, another with eight made three-points, and multiple where he made the hustle plays that either saved a possession or set up another player for a break. The Grizzlies found a gem in Jackson and I’m going to be looking for him to slide under the radar all the way to an all-star appearance a few years from now.
Mo Bamba is a genetic goldmine – a legit seven-footer, he also clocked into the combine with a seven-foot-ten wingspan. He has a skinny frame, but he also led almost all big men and many forwards in drills that required foot speed, such as the shuttle run – essentially, he can switch onto some guards on defense without missing a step. His offensive touch around the basket, mixed with blossoming fluidity, is actually quite impressive and he has a pretty good shot IQ, too. If you can’t tell, I love the upside Bamba can present and his rating demonstrates that.
Last on this rookies’ list is Michael Porter Jr. – the last pick of the draft lottery, albeit, completely unexpectedly. Porter came into last year’s college basketball season as the assumed top selection – when he went out with a back injury almost as soon as he stepped onto the court, his stock plummeted. While it crept back up leading to the draft, he faced a massive slide draft night. Even if we didn’t get to see much of his game in college, the Nuggets could’ve hit a home run if we’re evaluating based on Porter’s talent. The guy can score at will, is a solid rebounder, and actually can create, play some defense, and seems to have a chip on his shoulder. Coming into a playoff-caliber squad like Denver should allow for him to get healthy and play without being rushed back, and also give him solid veterans to learn from while he waits.
NBA LIVE 19’s demo is available on August 24 and the full release happens September 7. Be sure to hop on the sticks with these guys and really build the future of your franchise as they continue to develop on the court and in the game!
- Rahul Lal (Follow Rahul on Twitter @rlal95)
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