The NBA rookie class this season was one of the most anticipated rookie classes. With players like LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, and James Wiseman, the list is fruitful with talent. With the regular season coming to a close, LaMelo Ball will be one of the few notable rookies still competing come playoff time after the Hornets clinched a spot in the play-in tournament. However, some of the rookies not in the playoffs have made a name for themselves.
At the end of every regular season for the rookie class, the ultimate question is, who will have a better career? Let’s discuss:
1.) LaMelo Ball-Charlotte Hornets: 15.8 points, six rebounds, 6.2 assists
If there was a clear favorite for who would have the better career, I would take LaMelo. Ball is having a breakout season as a rookie and has managed to put his name back at the top of the rookie of the year race, despite a month-long absence from a wrist fracture. Ball has shown his court vision is at a level that most rookies take time to develop but Ball is already there.
Most importantly, Ball has helped put the Hornets into the play-in tournament for a chance at competing in the full playoffs. Any time a rookie can put up efficient numbers and put his team in a position to be in the playoffs, he has to be put at the top.
Ball should easily have the best career out of the top three picks from this season. While Anthony Edwards is scoring more per game, Ball is spreading the wealth by rebounding and passing at an efficient rate while he scores. In the long run, I would take LaMelo as a starting point guard to run the floor and run an efficient team to wins and playoff appearances.
2.) Anthony Edwards-Minnesota Timberwolves: 19 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists
Anthony Edwards has been one of the most electric rookies this season with his high-flying dunks and efficient offense. Edwards will pass Christian Laettner for most 20 or more point games by a Wolves rookie, but the Wolves will miss the playoffs by quite a bit as they will finish nearly 30 games under .500.
Edwards still has plenty of time to keep improving but if Edwards wants to build his resume, Minnesota will need to win more games. While that is easier said than done, the name of the game for a good career for Edwards will need to be more wins in a season.
However, Edwards has shown he can score a lot of points quickly considering he has scored over 40 points twice this season. Edwards can run the floor efficiently and if he can continue to improve his offensive efficiency and see the floor better, Edwards will be a force in the NBA for many years to come. When it comes to whether I would take Edwards or Ball for a better career, Edwards is my second choice.
3.) James Wiseman- Golden State Warriors: 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists
Coming into this season, Wiseman was one of the more anticipated rookies to be drafted. However, Wiseman was not blowing up the stat chart by any means. The worst part of this season for Wiseman is that it ended in early April after tearing his meniscus. Wiseman was drafted by a Warriors team who has not had or needed a true center like Wiseman since they had Andrew Bogut.
With guys like Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins on the team, a true center played a small role and Wiseman accepted that role. With Wiseman getting hurt, choosing Wiseman to have a better career than Edwards or Ball is quite a stretch.
The clear and obvious choice I would say is LaMelo Ball to have a better career. Despite Edwards playing so efficiently in Minnesota, not winning many games will hurt his resume in the long run. Wiseman has to improve his health and become a stretch five who can do everything on the floor much like Draymond Green before his impact will be fully felt on that Warriors team.
These top three picks hold incredible potential for long, accolade-filled careers but as of right now, give me LaMelo Ball to pan out better than Edwards or Wiseman.
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Stats from espn.com and nba.com