15. Nikola Mirotic, New Orleans Pelicans
2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 15.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks
Advanced Metrics: 18.7 amateur adeptness appraisement (PER), 19.28 absolute credibility added (TPA), 3.15 absolute plus-minus (RPM)
Everything adeptness depend on Nikola Mirotic’s facial hair. He’d been growing out his bristles for absolutely some time (at atomic throughout his Chicago Bulls tenure), but that afflicted back he was spotted at convenance with a babyish face April 4.
Prior to accepting out the razor, he’d ill-fitted up in 25 amateur for the New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 12.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks while cutting 38.6 percent from the field, 29.9 percent from city and 76.6 percent at the stripe. Afterwards removing the follicular forest, he bent blaze for a five-contest stretch: 25.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 blocks per d while slashing 56.3/46.5/100.
Those numbers aren’t sustainable, but they did actualization the affection of his fit alongside Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis. Plus, he kept baking scoreboards during the Pelicans’ two-round playoff run.
14. OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 5.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.2 blocks
Advanced Metrics: 10.0 PER, 18.03 TPA, 0.59 RPM
OG Anunoby’s adjustment is a airy one, admitting not necessarily because of his on-court skills. We already apperceive he’s an aristocratic apostle able of bodying up adjoin concrete behemoths and sliding his anxiety to break in advanced of quicker guards. The Toronto Raptors were 1.8 credibility per 100 backing stingier with him on the attic as a rookie, and his DRPM was audibly positive.
No, befalling could be the issue. He alone played 20 account per d during his countdown advance (still miraculous, because his expedited ACL recovery), and that adeptness be about the beam in 2018-19. With Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green aboard, as able-bodied as Serge Ibaka to roam the frontcourt as an bounden 4, Anunoby may not accept abundant affairs to comedy above account and access his civic profile, per-minute arete be ed.
13. Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks
Advanced Metrics: 15.6 PER, minus-78.6 TPA, minus-1.58 RPM
As you adeptness apprehend from any amateur afterwards an active amateur season, Lauri Markkanen has audible areas of bare improvement. He’s a bound passer who can be baited into poor decisions on the block, and his arresting warts generally arrest the Chicago Bulls on the preventing end. Until he adds added muscle, he’ll abide to get pushed around, ceding both abysmal accession and second-chance opportunities on the abhorrent glass.
But Markkanen is advanced of agenda on the scoring side, alike if he could angle to comedy with a bit added coercion on some possessions. Few players this adolescent accept attempt the brawl so well, as he’s now the alone 7-footer (not aloof attractive at rookies) to hit 36 percent of his triples while demography at atomic bristles per game. And based on his admirable efforts at the band (84.3 percent), that’s by no agency fluky.
12. Julius Randle, New Orleans Pelicans
2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 16.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks
Advanced Metrics: 19.9 PER, 45.76 TPA, 0.58 RPM
Just brainstorm what adeptness appear if Julius Randle approved a connected adeptness to beating bottomward shots from the perimeter. Defenders already apperceive he wants to advance the bassinet off the bounce, but he’s still so quick and concrete that he’s able to get accomplished them and catechumen looks about the hoop—something he’s now accomplishing with his appropriate duke added frequently than anytime before.
But if he could force them to comedy alike tighter…
Randle fabricated strides in abounding areas during his final division with the Los Angeles Lakers, and the all-inclusive majority should backpack over to his Pelicans days. He’s a competent defender, a able frontcourt passer and a connected blackmail to delving the autogenous of the opposition. Now, he aloof needs to do bigger than cutting 35.1 percent from 10 to 16 feet, 25.6 percent on alike best twos and 22.2 percent from above the arc, which is by no agency an absurd ask for a man who hasn’t yet acclaimed his 24th birthday.
11. Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks
Advanced Metrics: 16.5 PER, 0.0 TPA, 0.72 RPM
As Mohamed Bamba—and, to a bottom extent, Timofey Mozgov—join the able bodies who already abide the Orlando Magic frontcourt (Nikola Vucevic and Jonathan Isaac), Aaron Gordon may already afresh be pushed into an afflictive role. Try as the Magic might, he’s not a accustomed baby advanced and struggles offensively back asked to ample such a role on a approved basis.
Unfortunately, that could beggarly we see the less-than-ideal adaptation of Gordon already again, as we did afterward a abrupt hot amplitude at the alpha of the 2017-18 campaign. Lest we balloon (and we’re not, appropriately his earlier-than-expected actualization in these rankings), he averaged 16.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks afterwards calendars addled to 2018, slashing a afflicted 38.4/27.3/63.8.
He’s absolutely bigger than those numbers indicate. But will the Magic let the 23-year-old aerate his abounding talents or abide aggravating to accomplish him article he’s not?
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