The early returns on the 2021 NBA Draft class have been very encouraging for lottery teams like the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers, as both of them appear to have drafted stars in Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley. The latest NBA Rookie ladder shows that these two aren’t the only teams who hit home runs.
Not only have star prospects like Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green shown that they can be solid pieces for the future, but some prospects picked later in the first round gave already flashed brightly. Even second-round picks like Herb Jones, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and Dalano Banton have had their moments.
The 2021 class is easily one of the best in years, and it’s helped some teams that were stuck at the bottom of the standings get the shot in the arm they needed to make runs at the postseason this season.
Which rookies have already made themselves into stars capable of playing an impactful role on their new teams? This week’s NBA Rookie ladder shows which players are improving and which ones are miles clear of their contemporaries drafted in the same range.
NBA Rookie Ladder: Is Scottie Barnes ranked over Evan Mobley?
While Jalen Suggs has been starting to turn his offense around in a very gradual manner, Hyland gets the nod here by providing some solid play on a Denver team eyeing a championship. With 7.3 points per game, Hyland has helped make up for the loss of Jamal Murray.
Hyland might not necessarily be guaranteed a ton of time when Murray comes back, but the backcourt combo of Murray, Hyland, and Monte Morris is about as deadly a point guard rotation as there is in the league. Picked just before the end of the first round, Hyland has found a home with the Nuggets.
The Rockets ended up nabbing four first-round picks this year, yet only Sengun and Green have seen regular rotation time. Daniel Theis and Christian Wood might be what the present looks like at the center position for Houston, but Sengun’s first few games make it clear he’s the future.
9.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game would be impressive enough, but with a few assists and nearly two steals per game also in his back pocket, Sengun has acclimated to the NBA lifestyle after just a few weeks. If he keeps this up, Stephen Silas may have to shake up the rotation.