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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

NBA Rookie Report: Grading the top draft picks so far

NBA Rookie Report: Grading the top draft picks so far

Headlined by Victor Wembanyama, the 2023 NBA draft class is shaping up to be one of the most interesting in years. While still very early, as we see more of the rookies play we get a picture of what we can expect. Here are my grades for the top 3 picks of the 2023 draft so far, as well as the 2022 second-overall draft pick and rookie Chet Holmgren.

 

Victor Wembanyama: B+

San Antonio Express-News

It’s going to take time, but Wemby has always been a project. While Wembanyama hasn’t fallen apart by any means, he’s been a bit rough around the edges, with some mixed shooting despite 18.8 points per game and a lukewarm 29.3% from three on 5.1 attempts per game. It’s clear he’s still figuring out his game, but that’s par for the course especially when it comes to a unicorn like Wembanyama. If there’s anyone to develop him, it’s Greg Popovich and the SAS coaching staff. The bottom line is, I’m still as high on Wembanyama as ever. Some plays I’ve seen by him are legitimately mind-boggling. Defensively he’s been incredible with 2.4 blocks per game, dominating both the perimeter and the paint, and his 38-point explosion on the road against Phoenix was a reminder of his potential. I like what I’m seeing for sure, but it could be better.

Brandon Miller: B-

Charlotte Observer

Brandon Miller isn’t a loud player nor a flashy one, and that’s a lot of the reason why Hornets fans wanted the Hornets to pick Scoot Henderson with the second pick instead. Even throughout all the skepticism surrounding Miller, I maintained that he’d be a strong and consistent piece of a Hornets’ young core. Overall, Miller has gotten off on the right foot, but I’d like to see more consistency. Throughout his first three games, Miller averaged 17.3 points on 47.4% from the field alongside 43.8% from three on 5.3 attempts per game, but ever since, his stats have suffered a concerning dropoff. In his next four games, Miller has averaged only 10 points on a lower 41% despite shooting nearly 3 fewer shots per game. Beyond the arch, he’s also entered a cold streak, shooting 2-12 over the past four games. He’s had a solid start to the season all in all, but I don’t know what to expect from him.

Scoot Henderson: C-

The Oregonian

There’s a reason GMs are GMs and fans are fans. The Hornets’ selection of Miller was met with boos and outcries from fans who wanted to see Henderson in Charlotte threads, with some of his bigger proponents even claiming he’d be better than Wembanyama. Well, Henderson hasn’t had the best start. In the 5 games he played before an ankle tweak, Scoot has struggled to transition into the NBA with 8.8 points per game on 34.6% from the field on 10,4 attempts per game. From deep, Henderson has especially failed to get into rhythm, shooting 9.5% from three, or more shockingly put 2-21. It’s still early but Henderson has not just been disappointing, he’s been disastrous. Hopefully he can pick it up soon.

Chet Holmgren: A+

The Oklahoma Gazette

Maybe it is Holmgren’s bony frame, or the fact he’s coming off a foot injury that sidelined him for the entirety of what was supposed to be his rookie season last year, but I don’t think anyone thought Holmgren would immediately get going like he has. Plain and simple, Holmgren is a great player on a great team. He is already an established starter, averaging 16.8 points per game on 60.6% from the field, in addition to perimeter threat with 62.5% from three on 4 attempts per game. Defensively, Holmgren is as great as he was drafted to be, with 2.8 blocks per game and 1 steal, including a statement 7-block game against Cleveland in his second performance. Was extremely hopeful of Holmgren coming into the season, and he has exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait to see his development and how he continues to contribute to a strong young Thunder team that’s gotten off to a 5-3 start this season.

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About the Contributor
Sam Dababneh, Review Editor & Asst. Sports Editor
Sam Dababneh is a Sophmore at Niles North High school. This is his second year on North Star News.

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