With the NBA season just getting underway, it’s time for the rookies to get adjusted to the highest level of basketball. It’s also time for some of the rookies to show that they’re better than the rest of the players in their draft class, and that they belong in the NBA. Three PAC-12 players were drafted in the top ten of the 2016 Draft, and all of them have played at least one NBA game. Each one of them played limited minutes, as none of them are starters off the bat, but they did show promise.
Games Played: 1
Stats: 2 points, 1-4 shooting, 2 rebounds, 5 fouls in 13 minutes
Poeltl’s first NBA game didn’t exactly blow anyone away. Luckily for him, it’s an 82 game season. He only played 13 minutes on a talented and deep Raptors team who made the Eastern Conference Finals last year. If he starts to get more minutes, expect him to put up impressive rebounding numbers. He already showed some skills in the preseason. When he played 24 minutes in a preseason game against Buenos Aires San Lorenz, he scored 12 points while also pulling down 6 rebounds. Poeltl just needs to keep working and he’ll get his chance. Expect him to impress when he does.
Games Played: 1
Stats: 7 points, 3-7 shooting, 2 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 block in 22 minutes
Chriss looked solid in his NBA debut. He seems to have earned a solid spot in the Suns’ bench rotation. Despite being the number 8 pick in the draft, he played ten more minutes than fellow 2016 rookie Dragan Bender, who went fourth in the draft. Chriss is getting a lot of hype, especially from what was once considered a “two man” draft. He has shown the ability to hit the three, and is an extremely gifted athlete. He doesn’t have as much potential as players such as Simmons and Ingram, but Chriss is already showing signs of being a solid NBA player, possibly a starter one day.
Games Played: 2
Stats in Game 1: 9 points, 3-4 shooting, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 1 steal in 19 minutes
Stats in Game 2: 8 points, 4-7 shooting, 1 rebound, 1 assist in 20 minutes
He may have been the third pick in the draft, but Jaylen Brown is already going into his first NBA season as an underdog. Many were surprised and disappointed when the Celtics selected him. However, Brown has one of the biggest upsides of anyone in this rookie class. He can attack the basket well, crash the boards, and block shots when he has to. He only had one assist in his first game, but it was an impressive bounce pass on the fast break to Isaiah Thomas. In his second game, Brown didn’t show us much more than he did in his first, but the Celtics showed they already have confidence in their rookie. He played most of his minutes in the fourth quarter. Even though the Celtics lost, they showed that they’re willing to play Brown down the stretch.