National Basketball Association

Analyzing Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, and the other top rookies in the NBA

May 14

The 2020-2021 NBA season has been marred by injuries to some of the league's biggest stars.

But in their absence, some fresh faces have used the extra spotlight to showcase their talents and establish themselves as budding stars of tomorrow.

A rookie class that was initially questioned for its depth has proven to be one worth monitoring for years to come, with multiple players already proving to be must-see TV.

Here are five rookies who have dazzled NBA fans.

Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
Stats: 19.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.9 APG, 41.6 field goal percentage, 32.9 3-point percentage

It was a slow start for the first overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, as Edwards shot 35.8% from the field in January and 37.2% in February.

But it's clear that those shooting woes are a thing of the past, with Edwards establishing himself as one of the NBA's bright young scorers as his rookie season has progressed, and arguably the future face of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

For the month of March, Edwards averaged 24.2 PPG and shot 42.3% from the field, and in April he continued to improve, averaging 21.6 PPG and shooting 43.7% from the field. 

Edwards has had two 40-point games this season, as well as 32 contests in which he has scored at least 20 points. This production has not only made him the top scorer in the rookie class but has also put him among some of the most prolific rookie scorers in recent NBA history.

He has also proven to be one of the best quotes in the league as a rookie, so it's safe to say he has star power on and off of the floor.

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
Stats: 15.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 6.2 APG, 44.3 field goal percentage, 36.1 3-point percentage

While Edwards has proven to be the top scorer in the rookie class, Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball has shown to already be one of the best passers in the entire NBA.

Ball leads all rookies in assists per game but has also proven his worth as a scorer, placing second among rookies in that category.

And his presence on the Hornets has helped transform the franchise from lottery team to playoff contender, as they are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings.

The individual performance coupled with the team success has Ball as the odds-on favorite to win Rookie of the Year at -1600, according to FOX Bet.

Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings
Stats: 13.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 5.3 APG, 47.2 field goal percentage, 40.9 3-point percentage

While Edwards and Ball were selected in the top three picks of the draft as expected, Tyrese Haliburton's slide to the 12th pick in the first round was a surprise to many.

And that was good news for the Sacramento Kings, who appear to have struck gold with the guard out of Iowa State.

Haliburton's ability to stretch the floor and serve as a secondary ball-handler next to De'Aaron Fox has given the Kings two franchise cornerstones to build around in the years to come.

Haliburton has the ability to score from all three levels of the floor and has done so with the efficiency of a veteran, as evidenced by his shooting percentage from the field and from distance.

The Kings currently hold the NBA's longest playoff drought of 15 consecutive seasons, but with Haliburton's emergence as a potential star, they will have a chance to end that drought in the near future.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
Stats: 12.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.2 APG, 39.6 field goal percentage, 32.9 3-point percentage

It would be false to claim that it has been smooth sailing for Cole Anthony, the 15th overall pick of the 2020 Draft.

He has missed 25 out of 70 possible games for the Orlando Magic due to an ankle injury. But when he has been on the floor, he has shown the type of promise that makes him an intriguing player to watch in the years to come.

Anthony possesses a rare combination of athleticism and finesse at the point guard position, and it has been on display in the games that he has been able to play.

He's scored double figures in 30 of his 45 games and has already shown a knack for coming up big in the most important moments of games, with multiple game-winning shots this season.

Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons
Stats: 12.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 40.9 field goal percentage, 38.9 3-point percentage

The Detroit Pistons currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, but if there has been a silver lining, it has been the play of 19th overall pick Saddiq Bey.

Bey has already proven himself to be one of the premier shooters in the NBA, and with his 6-7, 215-pound frame, he has shown the potential to be an elite 3-and-D forward.

The Pistons currently have three rookies on their roster in Bey, Isaiah Stewart, and Killian Hayes, which gives them a solid foundation to build around.

And they appear to already have more than enough shooting amongst the three from Bey's presence alone.

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