Handing out report cards for teams is one thing, but doing it for rookies is another. These guys are young, talented, and unfinished products. Judging them would be like judging a half-finished haircut. With that said, here are the grades on all 30 2020 NBA first-round draft picks from Anthony Edwards to Desmond Bane.
Grades Are in
No strict criteria here although a “N/A” goes to rookies who haven’t had ample time to show what they’re about.
1. Anthony Edwards: C+
Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
The first overall pick leads his peers in minutes played and has shown flashes like when he torched the Los Angeles Lakers for 28 points. But he’s generally struggled to score efficiently hitting the 50% shooting mark thrice.
2. James Wiseman: B
Team: Golden State Warriors
He missed a good chunk of the season and his 34 minutes on Thursday was a career-high. Wiseman has yet to make an impact for the Warriors though his per 36 stats of 201.4 points, 10.2 boards, and 1.9 blocks are promising.
3. LaMelo Ball: A
Team: Charlotte Hornets
The runaway Rookie of the Year favorite (barring injury) per NBA lines has been nothing short of spectacular. As a starter, Ball has averaged 20.7 points, 6.7 assists, and 6.2 rebounds while hitting 44.9% of his 3s.
4. Patrick Williams: B-
Team: Chicago Bulls
The former Tar Heel has quietly made a case for the All-NBA Rookie 1st Team thanks to his strong play on the defensive end. Williams has also flashes his offensive chops to the tune of 10.2 points per game.
5. Isaac Okoro: C+
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
He’s playing behind two other lottery picks in a similar position and his 12.3% usage rate explains why he’s only attempting eight shots per 36 minutes. But he’s at least been better on the defensive end.
6. Onyeka Okongwu: N/A
Team: Atlanta Hawks
Okongwu has not played enough to warrant a concrete grade. The big man for Atlanta is only averaging 10 minutes a game and is third on the depth chart. He’s managed to rack up more fouls (26) than field goals (21).
7. Killian Hayes: N/A
Team: Detroit Pistons
Like Okongwu, it seems unfair to give Hayes a grade when he’s only played in seven games. He’s shot poorly, however, hitting just 13-of-47 attempts. His 6.1 assists per 36 minutes is a positive sign of his playmaking, at least.
8. Obi Toppin: C
Team: New York Knicks
Toppin hasn’t played a lot and has been outshined by fellow rookie Immanuel Quickley. But he’s crafted some spectacular highlights and came one vote shy of winning the Slam Dunk contest.
9. Deni Avdija: C+
Team: Washington Wizards
Avdija, like Okoro, has played quite a bit but has little to show thanks to the low usage rate. Avdija is only taking 5.2 field goals per game but has been an all-around guy capable of hitting 3s, rebounding, and playing D.
10. Jalen Smith: N/A
Team: Phoenix Suns
Smith has yet to prove if the Suns’ reaching for him with the 10th pick was warranted. Outside of his first game, he’s mostly just seen the floor during garbage time.
11. Devin Vassell: C+
Team: San Antonio Spurs
Vassell has been a solid “3-and-D” player for the Spurs despite limited playing time. The rook has hustled on the defensive end and is good for at least one 3-pointer in just under 18 minutes a game.
12. Tyrese Haliburton: A
Team: Sacramento Kings
Few players have had a more efficient rookie season than Haliburton. He’ll finish as a runner-up to Ball with the ROTY online betting, but his advanced metrics of 61.9 true shooting percent, 125 offensive rating, and 24.7 assist percent are bonkers.
13. Kira Lewis Jr.: C
Team: New Orleans Pelicans
The speedy guard has yet to firmly establish himself with the Pels’ rotation, but his hustle and energy can be contagious. He’s yet to work on his shooting, but he’s a skilled playmaker and has a 4-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
14. Aaron Nesmith: C+
Team: Boston Celtics
Like Toppin on the Knicks, Nesmith has seen a fellow rookie take most of his shine. Nesmith has shown what he can do in seven games in February where he averaged 22.4 minutes and had advanced metrics of 69.4 TS% and a 127 offensive rating,
Best of the Rest
A good crop of rookies this NBA season have come beyond the 14 lottery picks.
15. Cole Anthony (B): Anthony was putting up 12.1 points and 3.9 assists in the 17 games he started before a rib fracture took him out. He’ll look to continue balling for an Orlando Magic team desperately needing guards.
16. Isaiah Stewart (B+): Stewart has been balling for Detroit with per 36 averages of 10.6 points, 11.3 boards, and two blocks. It’s too bad this NBA team has a logjam of players in his position or he’d be in the Rookie of the Year conversation.
19. Saddiq Bey (B-): Another Pistons rookie making an impact; Bey has put up 11.6 points and 4.5 rebounds as a starter in 17 games. He’s also shooting 90% from the line during this span.
25. Immanuel Quickley (B+): Knicks fans were in a frenzy when their surprise rookie was snubbed from the Rising Stars selections. Quickley has scored 25+ points in five games, the most by any rookie.
26. Payton Pritchard (B): Pritchard has emerged as Boston’s Sixth Man having scored in double digits in one-third of his appearances. His 40.2% shooting from deep is third among rookies with at least 100 attempts.
30. Desmond Bane) (B+): The Grizzlies appear to have snatched a sleeper. The 22-year-old has been playing effectively with per 36 averages of 15.1 points. His 43.3% 3-point percent is tops among rookies with at least 100 tries.
Rest of Round One
- 17. Aleksej Pokusevsk (Oklahoma City): D+
- 18. Josh Green: (Dallas G League team) N/A
- 20. Precious Achiuwa (Miami): C+
- 21, Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia): C+
- 22. Zeke Nnaji (Denver): N/A
- 23. Leandro Bolmaro (EuroLeague/ACB): N/A
- 24. R.J. Hampton (Denver): N/A
- 27. Udoka Azubuike (Utah): N.A
- 28. Jaden McDaniels (Minnesota): C
- 29. Malachi Flynn (Toronto): N/A