Sport NBA Rookie Rankings: Chuma Okeke shines for the Magic; Anthony Edwards comes up clutch for the Timberwolves
Wolves 123, Suns 119: The Future is Now
KAT & Ant team up for 40+ points EACH.Suns commit 10 turnovers, Wolves unable to takeover.
The NBA trade deadline caused some shake-ups on several rosters around the league, as a number of contenders added and subtracted to improve in time for the playoffs, and lottery-bound squads sold off assets to prepare for the future. While no rookies were traded last Thursday, there were several around the league who benefited from the moves made by their teams.is a prime example of that this week, but more on that later. We're inching closer toward the finish line of the regular season, and some rookies have started to hit their strides with more opportunities, while others are just getting more comfortable at the pro level.
Fantasy Basketball: Week 14 Starts & Sits, teams to target and position breakdowns
What you need to know to set your lineups for Week 14Teams with four games: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz
Now moving on to this week's rookie rankings. These rankings will reflect a rookie's performance on a week-to-week basis only, not the collective season, so these aren't Rookie of the Year standings. With that straightened out, here is a look at the top rookies this week.
Edwards was just named Rookie of the Month for his monster performance throughout March where he put up a career-high 42 points in one game. He's really come alive on offense for thesince the All-Star break, and he continued that hot streak by scoring 20-plus points in three of his four games this week. Against the , he showed how clutch he can be by scoring 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Wolves to a comeback win.
Fantasy Basketball: Week 15 Starts & Sits, teams to target and position breakdowns
What you need to know to set your lineups for Week 15Teams with four games: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
Anthony Edwards put up 24 PTS and TOOK OVER in a comeback win over the Knicks ????— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport)
He was incredibly efficient from the floor, shooting 42.9 percent through four games, but as has been the story throughout this season, his 3-point shooting leaves a lot to be desired. He attempted 7.5 3-point shots this week and made only 23 percent of them. Edwards has to get better from beyond the arc, otherwise, teams will begin to adjust and sink in to take away drives and mid-range jumpers.
After trading away much of its core players at the trade deadline last week, theentered full rebuild mode. Little did everyone know, Okeke would be the new face of the franchise. OK, that may not be entirely true, but his performance this week definitely showed that Okeke was underutilized while being trapped behind and on the depth chart. He was pushed into the starting lineup after the trade deadline, and proceeded to score a career-high 22 points Four days later, he led a comeback against the to secure a win.
Nets vs. Timberwolves odds, line, spread: 2021 NBA picks, Mar. 29 predictions from proven computer model
The SportsLine Projection Model has simulated Timberwolves vs. Nets 10,000 timesApr 9, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; NBA referee Brent Barnaky (36) makes a call in the second quarter of a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Hornets at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
⚪️????⚫️ Dieschaffen das 16-PTS Comeback bei den L.A. Clippers!
Chuma Okeke: 18 PTS
Terrence Ross: 15 PTS
Otto Porter Jr.: 13 PTS, 7 REB— NBA Germany (@NBA_de)
He can do a little bit of everything: pull up from long range, work in a few mid-range jumpers and put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. Against the Clippers, he knocked down some tough shots in traffic, bouncing off defenders and getting off-balanced looks for buckets. If there's one bright spot from the Magic selling off half their roster, it's that Okeke gets more opportunity the rest of the season. Let's see what he can do with it.
The month of March has by far been the best for Maledon this season, and in this week's three-game stretch withsidelined, the rookie stepped up. Thunder coach Mark Daigneault has called Maledon a because of his commitment to continuously improve without settling for less. It certainly shows when you watch him play, because he's constantly making the right play on offense, whether it's the timing of his pass to a teammate for an assist, or not settling for a poor shot selection in favor of a high percentage attempt. The may be in the middle of a rebuild, but Maledon's progression this season has shown OKC that they may have a diamond in the rough with this young guard.
Kings vs. Timberwolves odds, line, spread: 2021 NBA picks, April 5 predictions from proven computer model
The SportsLine projection model has a pick for the clash between the Kings and Timberwolves. Here are the resultsApr 9, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; NBA referee Brent Barnaky (36) makes a call in the second quarter of a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Hornets at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Haliburton's maintained his spot in the starting lineup since returning from injury back in February, and the move has paid off thus far. In the nine games he's started, thehave gone 7-2, and Haliburton has played exceptionally well during that span. This week, he logged his second career double-double, putting up 15 points and 10 assists in a win over the , to go along with four boards and two steals. He's been a stat-sheet stuffer for Sacramento this season, and his versatility to be able to play on or off the ball alongside in the backcourt allows the Kings to play incredibly fast.
Thehave been running more pick and rolls with Wiseman and to try and establish some chemistry between the two that can serve as a foundation for next season and beyond. It's something that many people have called for, as Wiseman's natural athleticism makes him a pretty dangerous lob threat, and his ability to knock down jumpers gives him the ability to pop out and knock down a mid-range shot. Here's how it looked this week against the :
Obvious directive from the Warriors to get James Wiseman in more ball screen action with Steph Curry. Three examples from their first quarter back together. Final one was an ATO with an ambitious lob attempt from Curry.
NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Four-man race at the top with no true consensus No. 1 pick
NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Four-man race at the top with no true consensus No. 1 pickHere’s a look at Yahoo Sports’ updated first and second round for the 2021 NBA draft.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater)
On the first two plays in that video, the Bulls opted to double Curry on the switch, the first of which resulted in a made 3-pointer from him and the second a lob assist to Wiseman who was left wide open in the paint. More of that is going to happen as teams have to quickly decide whether they're going to double Curry and leave Wiseman open for a potentially easy bucket at the rim, or allow Curry to go to work after the screen. It has the potential to create all sorts of headaches for opposing teams if Curry and Wiseman can build chemistry.
When the Wolves faced off against thethis week, McDaniels gave some problems while guarding him. Look at this:
Wolves fans: take a minute to watch Jaden McDaniels locking down James Harden.
Jaden showed off the quickness, footwork, and shotblocking tonight. He’s got full package on the defensive end.
McDaniels can be a game-changing defensive player, which is rare in the modern NBA.— Timberwolves Talk (@threesley)
Rookies really shouldn't be able to do this, especially against an MVP and one of the best in the league at creating his own shots and scoring on just about anyone. McDaniels showed patience in guarding Harden that night, along with great footwork and overall awareness on that end of the floor. He's a 6-9 power forward who is locking up guards on a rather regular basis, and this week his offensive game started to bloom. If he's able to be more productive on offense, and continue to progress on the other end of the floor, the Timberwolves would've gotten a steal with this draft pick as a late first-round selection.
NBA Rookie Rankings: Saddiq Bey breaks Pistons record; Theo Maledon, Aleksej Pokusevski shine for Thunder
There are only six weeks left of the regular season for rookies to make their impactBy this point in the season, some first-year players hit that "rookie wall," succumbing to the grind of their first full year in the NBA and their performances on the floor start to waver. But what we're seeing this season is consistent performances from many of the draft class' top players, and several late bloomers, like R.J. Hampton and Chuma Okeke down in Orlando.
Pokusevski is currently sidelined due to health and safety protocols, but prior to that he had an impressive performance against thewhere he posted 21 points. He's still incredibly raw, and hasn't found his touch yet from beyond the arc, as he shot 21.4 percent in his two games this week, but he's shown flashes of being able to knock down that shot. If he can find some consistency from deep, and progress in other areas of his offensive game, he'll likely get that unicorn tag given to guys like who can be a threat from long range despite being seven feet tall.
With every passing game, Tate proves every team in the league wrong for letting him go undrafted last year. At 25 years old he's naturally far ahead of where most rookies are mentally, and over the course of the season he's only gotten more comfortable in the league. From the way he attacks the game, which is basically always running at 200 percent energy, to the smart decisions he makes while on the floor, he consistently makes big plays for the.
So this will be the most insane thing you probably see all week:
Patrick Williams erased this lob ❌— NBA TV (@NBATV)
Williams is 6-7,is 6-11, and Williams met the 2018 No. 1 overall pick at the top of that lob and simply said "nah." That's a typical play Phoenix runs, and Ayton has a pretty high success rate at jamming home those lobs, but Williams just absolutely obliterated that idea blocking and then snatching the ball all in mid-air. Insane.
Bey had the worst game of his career this week, where he went 0-for-8 from the field and 0-for-7 from deep for zero points in a loss to the Blazers. A game that would be a whole lot more worrisome if he wasn't consistently putting up solid numbers on a nightly basis. He became the first rookie to make 100 3-pointers this season, which is far more indicative of how he's played all season long.
Spurs vs. Magic odds, line, spread: 2021 NBA picks, April 12 predictions from proven computer model .
The SportsLine projection model has a pick for the clash between the Spurs and Magic. Here are the resultsApr 9, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; NBA referee Brent Barnaky (36) makes a call in the second quarter of a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Hornets at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.