NBA Rookie of the Year Watch: Jan. 30
The race for NBA Rookie of the Year is an exciting time for fans and teams alike. It gives the teams that are looking to turn their franchise around a spark of hope. Or the one missing piece to a starting five a potential contender.
Today we look at some of the top rookies in the league and what they have to offer.
Bennedict Mathurin, G, Indiana Pacers
The Pacers have been struggling lately to say the least. A losing skid throughout January has placed the team below a .500 record, and a tough schedule awaits them moving into February.
Something to be excited about though is their young guard Bennedict Mathurin. Who recently has strung together some solid performances. Going 10-17 from the field with 26 points, and leading the Pacers to a comeback win against the Chicago Bulls.
The following game saw very similar production from Mathurin. Scoring 26 points again with a couple 3-pointers against the Orlando Magic.
It was a hard-fought match that saw the Pacers lose 126-120 in that game against another top rookie in the league. Let’s talk about him next.
Paolo Banchero, F, Orlando Magic
Paolo Banchero has been solidifying himself as an NBA Rookie of the Year favorite with how he’s been playing this season.
As of late, Banchero has had a pair of 23-point games for big wins against the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers. There was a stretch earlier in January that saw him lead the Magic in points for four consecutive games with point totals of 25, 30, 25 and 17 in that order. Banchero leads the team averaging 20.5 points and 3.7 assists.
The lethal combo of Banchero and second-year teammate Franz Wagner is a nod in the right direction for this team’s future.
Jaden Ivey, G, Detroit Pistons
Jaden Ivey has had steady production as of late. Doing what he can on a pitiful Detroit Pistons team.
Over this past week, Ivey scored 12 points with four rebounds and 11 assists against the Milwaukee Bucks, 16 points with three rebounds and eight assists facing the Brooklyn Nets, and 16 points with seven rebounds and five assists against the Houston Rockets.
Not too shabby at all. As some more development and maturity in the league could see Ivey boosting those numbers even more and consistently finding double-doubles and even triple-doubles. Ivey is certainly in the mix for the league’s top rookie.
Keegan Murray, F, Sacramento Kings
Although Keegan Murray might not be putting up the kind of stats that the other rookies on this list have, there have been instances where he came through when needed the most.
A good example being one of if not his best game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. Where Murray scored 23 points including an impressive six 3-pointers.
His 3-point shot has been among the best in the rookie class, and he’s allowed the Kings to feel comfortable with his ability to create space offensively and defend effectively due to his good size.
Murray’s smooth mechanics and natural play-making ability have helped the Kings stay towards the top of the Western Conference.
Jake Irwin is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Jake Irwin is a junior at Penn State University. He is majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in sports studies. Jake is involved in CommRadio and the Ice Lions for clubs, where he is looking to gain more experience in sports broadcasting, and play-by-play broadcasting in particular. He started an intership with the Altoona Curve last spring where he worked as a board operator and Trackman, and has done play-by-play work for Penn State Altoona softball, Hollidaysburg high school football, and women’s high school volleyball. He can be found on Instagram @jake_irwin08.