NBA Rookie of the Year Watch: Feb. 16

Story posted February 16, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Juan Mendez

Days away from All-Star Weekend, the future stars of the NBA continue to make a name for themselves around the league.

While it could be a one horse race, there is plenty of time for others to catch up.


Paolo Banchero, F, Orlando Magic

Mr. “NBA ready” keeps the crown in the rookie ladder.

The No. 1 overall pick was strong against the Denver Nuggets, recording a double-double and handing them their 18th loss of the season.

He also put up 22 points in a victory against the Chicago Bulls.

Banchero is averaging 20 points, almost 7 rebounds, and a selection in Team Pau for the 2023 Jordan Rising Stars game.


Bennedict Mathurin, G, Indiana Pacers

Making a case for Sixth-Man of the Year, Mathurin leads all scorers off the bench with 17.4 points per game.

While he is consistent on a team fighting to stay afloat, five losses in a row overshadow the young guard's efforts on the court.

Scoring 21 points against the Utah Jazz was not enough for a win, but the talented sixth man remains number two in the Rookie Ladder.

Mathurin also earned a selection in Team Pau for the 2023 Jordan Rising Stars game.

Jalen Williams, F, Oklahoma City Thunder

Not much has changed at the number three spot.

Coming off a strong week, Williams posted 22 points and 7 rebounds on a tough loss against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The No. 12 draft pick is improving plenty off the ball, but averaging 12 points and 4 rebounds is not enough to move up the ladder.

Keegan Murray, F, Sacramento Kings

A rough stretch of away games saw Murray dropping only 74 points in 3 games.

However, the forward saw an opportunity in a two-game series against the Houston Rockets where he put up a combined 40.

Two subpar performances later, against the Dallas Mavericks, show why Murray lands here on the ladder, but every flash of greatness boosts his odds.

Murray is averaging 12 points and 4.6 rebounds this season.


Jeremy Sochan, F, San Antonio Spurs

While the Spurs are not very impressive, Sochan’s numbers from the second half of January until today certainly are.

In the last 10 games, Sochan has averaged 15 points and 5.5 rebounds.

While it does not mean much around the league, he is a rookie worth looking into early on.

Sochan had arguably his best performance of the season days ago against the Atlanta Hawks, chalking up 18 points and nine rebounds.

Juan Mendez is a Junior majoring in broadcast journalism and spanish. To contact him, email

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Juan Mendez

Second-year / Journalism

Juan S. Mendez is a second-year student from Sogamoso, Colombia majoring in journalism at Penn State University. He is a frequent CommRadio contributor through play-by-play and production for Penn State sports, primarily soccer. As a writer and podcast member, he also contributes in covering the NFL, NBA, international soccer, college sports, and occasional music reviews. Bilingual, and with a substantially dispersed knowledge, Juan intends to work covering multiple sports internationally in English and Spanish at a professional level.
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