The first week of the 2021/22 NBA Season has thrown up not just a few competitive displays and exciting matchups from teams and individuals, but also from a number of rookies who have are making their inclusion count where and when it matters. With No-1 overall draft pick in the 2021 Draft , Cade Cunningham sidelined with an ankle injury, other top picks have grabbed the spotlight with eye-catching performances. Note that this is not an attempt to put any of the players in the Rookie of the Year standings. With that straightened out, here is a look at the top rookies from the opening week of the season. CHRIS DUARTE Despite a defeat on opening night for Indiana Pacers, 24-year old Chris Duarte put up a 27-point display in his NBA debut, shooting 6 of 9 from deep and 5 rebounds in the process. He has started in every game due to injury plaguing Caris Levert and has been able to show off his playmaking ability, attacking mismatches and taking defenders off the dribble for both easy buckets and tough shots.
phew 😳@C_Duarte5 | #GoldBlooded pic.twitter.com/l5j1YM3MXg — Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) October 26, 2021
The rookie is showing he is capable of contributing on a nightly basis as he is averaging 20.3 Pts (40.4% FG and 45.8% 3P), 4.7 Rebounds, and 2.3 Assists on 39.8 Minutes per game.
SCOTTIE BARNES The drafting by Toronto Raptors of Scottie Barnes was met with mixed reactions after he was picked ahead of Jalen Suggs. But in the early days of the season, it is looking like the Raptors made a smart move with that selection. He is averaging 18 Pts (52.4% FG and 20% 3P), 10 Rebounds, and 1.7 Assists on 32.5 Minutes per game.
Unmatched hustle by the rook @ScottBarnes561 pic.twitter.com/ztoh7DFhs7 — Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 28, 2021
He takes a defender off the dribble quite easily and his athleticism and size make him a tough player to guard in the paint, opening up possibilities for a coach as creative as Nick Nurse. In the second game of his career, he put up 25 points and 13 rebounds against the Boston Celtics, punishing them for their lack of size in the interior.
JALEN GREEN After showcasing his playmaking and all-around game in the Summer League, Jalen Green left no one in doubt that he would ruffle feathers when the season begins. The No-2 overall draft pick is so far living up to the expectation After a combined 18 points in this first two games, Green versus the Boston Celtics exploded for 30 points and set a new Rockets rookie record draining eight 3-pointers in the game.
Jalen Green put on a SHOW tonight! 📊 30 PTS 📊 4 REB 📊 3 AST Green is the first #Rockets rookie in history with 30+ points and 8+ threes in one game. pic.twitter.com/NAH0T2YYq8 — Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 25, 2021
Should he continue in this fashion and goes on a similar season to that of Anthony Edwards, he would be in the conversation for the top rookie honor at the end of the regular season.
EVAN MOBLEY In the annual GM survey, Mobley was voted to be the best rookie in five years, an honor that no one was surprised by even before he was drafted. The take on Mobley is that he is a 7-footer who has all the expected skills of a center, with the added perk of the capacity for handling the ball like a guard.
He is averaging 14.3 Pts (56.3% FG and 25% 3P), 8.3 Rebounds, 2.8 Assists and 2.0 Blocks on 35.3 Mins per game. Easily adapting to his role and becoming an impactful player on a decent Cavs team.
Through four games, @evanmobley is averaging 14.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 2.0 BPG and 1.3 SPG. He also leads the entire league with 72 contested shots. Not bad, Rook 👀 pic.twitter.com/AktvEcRaXl — Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) October 27, 2021
He does the majority of his damage underneath the basket, as his 3-ball game has yet to unleash just yet. But it’s promising to see that at least for right now he is still able to show dominance in offensive runs. He is proving to be a defensive stalwart having already blocked four shots in a game and is still only figuring things out. He is also a candidate to lead this class in scoring and rebounds if things break a certain way.
JOSH GIDDEY Giddey is proving to be versatile as he does a bit of everything on the offensive of the floor well. He is currently leading all rookies in assists with 4.7 average. He garnered 9.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals in the time frame. He is showing quite the ability to rebound from the guard position and has shown some scoring touch. Efficiency was the concern going into game one, the stats which he was able to noticeably sway by the third game.
Gid mid 🔒@joshgiddey | #ThunderUp pic.twitter.com/Hybn7o2IH2 — OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) October 28, 2021
The shooting will remain the swing skill for Giddey to remain on this list for the rest of the season but for now, the Thunder have to feel good about the player they got with the sixth pick in the draft.
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