By: Kyle Morgan
Week 6 of the 2018-19 NBA season has come and gone. With the most recent crop of rookies heralded as one of the most talented in recent memory, KCOU Sports’ Kyle Morgan looks at who has stood out above the rest, and who is still working on finding their game.
Studs: Aaron Holiday, Indiana Pacers- Holiday, the 23rd overall pick out of UCLA has only appeared in 10 of the 20 games so far for Indiana, but the 22-year old is starting to pick up the pace in the last 5 games. Seeing an increased role off the bench in lieu of Darren Collison’s struggling start to the season, Holiday is averaging 13 PPG on 51 percent shooting in his last five appearances. He isn’t the best 3-point shooter (28 percent) and his assist numbers are low for a player at his position (1.2 PG), but those can easily improve as he continues to see more action.
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies- Jackson Jr. may be the youngest player in the NBA, but he has made a much larger impact for a Memphis squad that 12-7 and just 1.5 games out of 1st in the West. The 19-year old has been terrific in his last 10 appearances, posting a 14.8/4.6/1.5 line. His defense has been nothing short of spectacular, as well, with Jackson Jr. leading all rookies with 2.8 BPG to go along with 1.2 SPG. The 4th overall pick out of Michigan State is committing an appalling 3.9 fouls per game, and his free throw shooting is a subpar 62.5 percent, but those haven’t stopped Jackson Jr. and the rest of his Grizzlies teammates from vaulting to the top of the Western Conference standings.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks- The Slovenian star has fought through an array of injuries to lead Dallas to a .500 record and has emerged as the top scoring rookie for most of the season. In the Mavericks last game against the Celtics, Doncic took over point guard duties for an injured Dennis Smith Jr., and promptly notched his highest assist total of the year with 8. His FG percentage has slipped a bit in his last 5 games (40 percent), but his percentage from three is an impressive 43 percent in the last five. If Smith Jr. continues to miss time with a wrist injury, Doncic may be expected to produce even more, and that could be a problem for the rest of the league.
Duds: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks- Young has endured his worst stretch of the season these past 10 games, shooting an abysmal 32 percent from the field and averaging 12.4 PPG as a result. His three point percentage has dropped to 24 and his TOPG are creeping ever closer towards 4 a game. The Hawks should expect these types of growing pains when they acquired Young at the 5th slot. He still has the keys to the Atlanta offense, and is viewed the cornerstone of the franchise. The Hawks can only hope his recent performance is just a rough patch.
Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks- Robinson has jumped in and out of the starting lineup in the past few weeks, but his MPG don’t reflect the one of a starter. He’s putting up just 4.5 PPG in his last 10, and he’s having a hard time staying out of foul trouble. In fact, it took him just17 minutes to foul out last night against Detroit. The Knicks have been on a small hot streak, but it’s been more about the impressive performances of Tim Hardaway Jr. and fellow center Enes Kanter. Even when Robinson gets the starting nod, he’s failed to produce adequate numbers. It’ll be interesting to see how head coach David Fizdale addresses the starting lineup going forward.
Grayson Allen, Utah Jazz- Allen has certainly been quiet since the Jazz made it the No. 21 pick out of Duke. The 23-year old has appeared in just 14 of the Jazz’s 23 games, including 6 of the last 10. His FG percentage has been poor all year (34.5 percent), and he hasn’t even eclipsed the 5 PPG mark. It’s been hard for Allen to see playing time when he’s stuck behind Donovan Mitchell and Alec Burks on the depth chart. Barring an injury to any of Utah’s backcourt members, Allen will continue to spend plenty of time on the bench.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org