The NBA Rookie Class of 2013 was expected to be one of the worst in recent memory and more than halfway into the season, it seems to be looking that way. Out of this draft class, only a few have shown that they belong in a professional league. The rest have just been downright disappointments.
No. 1 draft pick Anthony Bennett is slowly turning into another Kwame Brown (2001) or Michael Olowokandi (1998). These two big men were chosen No. 1 in their class but their careers were marred by injuries and inconsistencies. Bennett’s conditioning and lack of talent is so glaring that the Cavaliers even considered bringing him down to the D-League. He is barely cracking the rotation in a weak team and is only averaging about 10 minutes per game.
Another potential bust is No. 3 pick Otto Porter of the Washington Wizards. He is barely scoring 2 points a game and like Bennett, has been relegated to the bench.
Still, there are some notables in this class who look to establish themselves as NBA stars. Here are the top 5 rookies so far.
1. Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia 76ers, 11th pick overall)—My pick to bag the Rookie of the Year Award, MCW leads all rookies in scoring (17.2), assists (6.7), rebounding (5.6) and even steals (2.4). He is the complete package and will be an essential component as the 76ers slowly dig themselves out of irrelevance.
2. Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic, 2nd pick overall) —Oladipo has the skills and size to become one of the top combo guards in the league. He is somewhat reckless when he drives to the rim and is a streaky shooter but his blue-collar work ethic is impressive. Oladipo still gets lost in sets but NBA-level plays are complex but he’ll slowly learn these. Together with sophomore Tobias Harris, Oladipo represents the future of the Magic.
3. Trey Burke (Utah Jazz, 9th pick overall)—After missing a month at the start of the season, Burke was quickly inserted into the starting line-up after a few games. He already controls the flow of the game like a veteran and will continue to thrive in a team that is not expected to do much this season.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks, 15th pick overall)—The 19-year-old rookie from Greece is one of the few bright spots in the Bucks’ dismal season. He is not as productive as the other rookies but his stats are respectable. A slew of injuries in the team allowed him to get minutes and is slowly gaining confidence. He is most dangerous in the open court with his length and brings energy to the team on the defensive end. I can’t still pronounce his name right but he is definitely getting noticed.
5. Pero Antic (Atlanta Hawks, Undrafted)—The injury to Al Horford has given Antic some minutes which he is putting to good use. He is currently injured with a fracture but should be back in a few weeks. At 31 years old, this Macedonian is no spring chicken but his range from beyond the arc and high basketball IQ makes him an intriguing short-term prospect.