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8 NBA Rookies That Can Have an Immediate Impact
By: Jake Lofgren
The expectations of the top 3 picks in this past summer's NBA draft is huge. Everyone knows about Zion, Ja, and RJ, but that doesn't mean that other rookies can't come in and have an immediate impact. We've seen some lower draft picks come into the league and contribute immediately (Kuzma) and even win Rookie of the Year (Brogdon). Here are some of this season's rookies that might not have been the highest picks, but should still get your attention.
1. Tyler Herro - Miami Heat, Kentucky, SG
Alright now I just want to get this one out of the way. If you paid any attention to the Summer League or Preseason, then you've already been introduced to Tyler Herro. The hype is already growing for him because of his natural ability to score. The Heat added Jimmy Butler this summer who will inevitably lead them in scoring, but he will need some help from the rest of the roster if this team wants to make the playoffs. Tyler Herro should and will need to be a big part of that.
2. P.J. Washington - Charlotte Hornets, Kentucky, SF/PF
P.J. is already the second guy on this list from Kentucky who will walk into a role immediately this season. It's no secret that Charlotte is going to struggle this year after losing their two best players this summer in Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb. This will open up a ton of shots for the rest of the roster this season, and for a team that knows they aren't a championship contender, they might as well let their young pieces develop.
3. Brandon Clarke - Memphis Grizzlies, Gonzaga, PF
Brandon Clarke was considered by many to be a sleeper in the draft before it even happened, yet he still fell to 21. He proceeded to have a monster Summer League campaign by helping the Grizzlies win the championship and take home Summer League MVP. Now winning Summer League MVP is a great accomplishment, but there have been many players to win that and never make it in the league. Although Clarke has just about everything you'd want in a forward nowadays. He can score inside, stretch the floor from the outside, fantastic athleticism, and has the defensive ability to go with it. Clarke also finds himself on the Grizzlies with some other extremely talented young players like Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson that the franchise definitely will want to get plenty of minutes together this season.
4. Matisse Thybulle - Philadelphia 76ers, Washington, SF
The 76ers gave out some big contracts this summer to give themselves a chance to contend. They extended Simmons and Harris, while deciding to give Al Horford a long-term deal. Embiid is also not a cheap player to keep around, meaning most of their money is tied up into those four players. Meaning the 76ers have a bench unit consisting of Mike Scott, Kyle O'Quinn, and James Ennis. This gives Matisse a huge opportunity to break into this team as a role player immediately. He has the physical ability to compete immediately on defense, while still being able to spread the floor at the other end.
5. Carsen Edwards - Boston Celtics, Purdue, PG
During his time in college, Carsen did not see many shots he didn't like. His final year at Purdue saw him average 24.3 points while taking about 19.5 shot attempts to go with them. The Celtics already have a lot of guys that need the ball in their hands to be successful in Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Hayward. So Carsen will not be able to come in and get as many shots as he might want, but he steps right into the spot at backup point guard to replace Terry Rozier. This means that Carsen will get a sufficient amount of minutes this season, and will be relied upon to give them a scoring boost off their bench.
6. Jordan Poole - Golden State Warriors, Michigan, SG
The Warriors a few seasons ago used to live by their mantra "Strength in Numbers" because of their fantastic depth off the bench. Well they sacrificed that depth when they decided to sign Kevin Durant, but now they've lost Kevin Durant. Key role players in Iguodala and Livingston have left now as well, leaving the Warriors with an extremely young and inexperienced bench. Very similar to Carsen Edwards, there aren't many shots that Jordan Poole doesn't think he can make. His offensive capability to score on the perimeter while being able to play make for others should translate very well to the professional game. With Curry and Russell in the backcourt their first unit should still be able to put up points, but they'll need a scoring boost from the bench. Jordan Poole will be the first one they look to for that job.
7. Terance Mann - Los Angeles Clippers, Florida State, SG/SF
After an extremely successful summer, the Clippers now look like they own the most talented roster in the NBA. Although the additions of Kawhi and Paul George are amazing, they both have suffered injuries recently that have seen them miss the majority of a season. The Clippers will be trying to give these two as much rest as possible so they can have a healthy team come playoff time. This is where Terance Mann could come into the equation. The Clippers have plenty of guys on their roster who can score, but having a player in Kawhi and George's spot that can still guard multiple positions will come in handy this season.
8. Eric Paschall - Golden State Warriors, Villanova, PF
The second Warrior on this list proves that it's a new beginning for this Warriors team. Having Steph Curry, D'angelo Russell, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green on your roster is still a great spot to be in, but this team is not as deep as they once were. Paschall looks like he already has the ability to play immediately in the league. During his time at Villanova he was a fantastic scorer down low, improved tremendously from outside shooting, and was a versatile defender. The Warriors may not have the same pressure to win like in previous years, but if Klay could return for the playoffs, this team is not one that anyone would want to face in the playoffs.
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