Kia Rookie Ladder: Class of 2022 ready to debut

Orlando striker Paolo Banchero has been impressive in pre-season.

Gentlemen, launch your careers.

As eager as NBA fans are for the start of the 2022-23 season, the rookies that make up the Class of 2022 are excited to get going, period. Shaking hands with commissioner Adam Silver on draft night was one thing; dressing up and playing in NBA regular season competition is a whole other level.

For top picks such as Orlando’s Paolo Banchero, Houston’s Jabari Smith Jr., Sacramento’s Keegan Murray and Detroit’s Jaden Ivey, their high draft positions portend lucrative and decorated careers, starting with All-Rookie recognition. and leading in time to All-Star spots and the championship. rings.

The Class of 2022 rookies have set the stage for their NBA debut.

For one of the newcomers there will be a special prize in about eight months: the Kia Rookie of the Year Award. And there’s a good chance that if it’s not from one of the names mentioned above, the winner will be one of the 14 players selected as the 2022 lottery picks.

It’s not safe, even if it’s terribly close. Since the lottery began in 1985, 39 of the players who have won all 37 ROY awards (with two ties) have been lottery picks. The only exceptions: Mark Jackson of New York in 1988, 18th overall pick in the previous spring’s draft; and Malcolm Brogdon of Milwaukee in 2017, rising from No. 36 overall.

Only two other times in the lottery era has the prize even been awarded to a player chosen later than the No. 6. This happened in 2003 with Phoenix’s Amar’e Stoudemire (9th overall in 2002 ) and again in 2014 with Michael Carter-Williams (11th overall).

Here’s a recap of the lottery picks, then, with their expected 2022-23 debuts and some observations from their offseasons and preseasons:

1. Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic

• NBA debut: Wednesday at Detroit (7 ET, League Pass)

Banchero led Orlando in preseason scoring (14.0 ppg), made 45% of their shots and got more comfortable by the day. He exudes confidence, which was even noticeable in his summer job in Las Vegas. “Just to be patient,” he told reporters Tuesday of his early-season schedule. “There is a lot more space and a lot more openness. You can take your time getting to your seats.

2. Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder

• NBA debut: N/A

As eager as Thunder fans were to see Holmgren play before the August foot injury that wiped out his season, they could be even more excited if the setback tips OKC into a shameless “2023 Draft” strategy. The prospect of nabbing super-prospect Victor Wembanyama to play alongside Holmgren could create one of the NBA’s most intriguing tandems.

3. Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets

• NBA debut: Wednesday at Atlanta (7:30 a.m. ET, League Pass)

A left ankle sprain limited Smith to just one preseason appearance, though it was a good one: 21 points and eight rebounds against San Antonio, hitting five of his eight 3-pointers. He sees an opportunity on the Rockets front line with Christian Wood in Dallas, and looks ready. “I feel like all my nervousness went away after summer league and I played my first preseason game, so it’s just basketball,” the Auburn product said. 6 feet 10 inches.

4. Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings

• NBA debut: Saturday vs. LA (10 ET, League Pass)

Murray’s debut will not take place on Wednesday night as he remains within health and safety protocols. He was the MVP in Las Vegas, then averaged 16 points and shot 70% from the arc in his two preseason games. His spectacular development in the second year at Iowa suggests he will be one of the top candidates for ROY.

5. Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons

• NBA debut: Wednesday vs. Orlando (7 ET, League Pass)

His shooting showed room for improvement – ​​34% overall, 14.3% from the arc – but most people expected that. Meanwhile, Ivey impressed with his work in the open court and his ability to get to the edge. The Pistons are considering a backcourt duo with last year’s No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham, to match their Isiah Thomas-Joe Dumars tandem in longevity if not outright achievement.

6. Benedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers

• NBA debut: Wednesday vs. Washington (7 ET, League Pass)

Mathurin sparked snickers shortly after being drafted with a “show me” remark about LeBron James (“He’s gonna have to show me he’s better than me”). That could boost the ratings for the Pacers’ Nov. 28 game against the Lakers in Los Angeles, but the newcomer rose to the challenge by succeeding in the preseason. He led Indiana in scoring (19.8 ppg) and all rookies in total points (79) with an average of 23.5 minutes, making 48.2 percent of his shots.

7. Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers

• NBA debut: Wednesday in Sacramento (10 ET, League Pass)

Sharpe’s debut won’t just be his first professional game; it will be his first legitimate game since high school, as he did not play in his only season at Kentucky. Then he suffered a left shoulder injury early in his Vegas debut. The so-called mystery man, 19, will be vying for a rotational role on the wing as he tries to provide insight into Portland’s future.

8. Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans

• NBA debut: Wednesday in Brooklyn (7:30 a.m. ET, League Pass)

Hopes are high for the Pelicans and that’s partly because, rather than despite, of the Australian rookie. He was injured in the summer league but showed his ability as a two-way threat in four pre-season tests. His length (6-foot-8) and defense could boost him in a crowded but small New Orleans backcourt. His shooting is a work in progress.

9. Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs

• NBA debut: Wednesday vs. Charlotte (8 ET, League Pass)

Sochan arrives as Spurs’ highest draft pick since Tim Duncan in 1997, giving you a quarter-century of excellence. The widely traveled Baylor product might break the starting lineup, but it likely will with glue production. A model that has been mentioned: Draymond Green, up to the “triple-single” offensive results.

10. Johnny Davis, Wizards of Washington

• NBA debut: Wednesday at Indiana (7 ET, League Pass)

There were some rumblings from the Wizards fan base about Davis playing in the summer league and they came back this month. Averaging 2.5 points and 9.5 percent shooting in five games and 19.3 minutes per doesn’t suit a lottery pick. Despite all the work he will continue to put into his game, the most vital area to address is confidence. Says teammate Bradley Beal: “I tell him every time, ‘You belong here for a reason.'”

11. Ousmane Dieng, Oklahoma City Thunder

• NBA debut: Wednesday at Minnesota (8 ET, League Pass)

With Holmgren out, Dieng has the distinction of being the unnamed Thunder rookie (Jaylin or Jalen) Williams. He’s a 6-foot-10 player with promising guarding skills and, at 19, it’s time to polish them into something special. He averaged 11.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 57.9 percent overall and 47.1 percent on three.

12. Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder

• NBA debut: Wednesday at Minnesota (8 ET, League Pass)

The Thunder’s 6-foot-6 rookie Williams (not the 6-foot-10) has shown versatility at both ends of the preseason. He hit 61% of his shots with an average of 14.4 points in five games and he led all rookies with 26 total assists (5.2 per game). He also led new players with 9 steals (1.8 per game), a byproduct of his 7-foot defensive span.

13. Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons

• NBA debut: Wednesday vs. Orlando (7 ET, League Pass)

Drafted there by Charlotte, then traded twice (to New York, then to Detroit with Kemba Walker), there’s no denying the Pistons’ enthusiasm for Duren’s potential. It’s even been suggested that seeing him up close in Vegas dampened their interest in making an offer to Phoenix center Deandre Ayton. He will be the league’s youngest player this season (18 for another month) and will likely see action while Marvin Bagley III heals.

14. Ochai Ogbaji, Utah Jazz

• NBA debut: Wednesday vs. Denver (9 ET, League Pass)

The four-year-old Kansas product ended up in Salt Lake City as part of Cleveland’s bounty for Donovan Mitchell. He played well with the Cavs in Las Vegas (15 ppg, 4.8 rpg) but could now get more reps with the rebuilding Jazz. “More opportunities and more chances to see the ground and have more impact – just keeping the same mindset,” the 6-foot-5 shooter said.

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Steve Aschburner has been writing about the NBA since 1980. You can email him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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