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Early 2023 NBA Rookie Stats Predictions

This might be extremely early, but why not. The NBA draft has concluded and we finally get to see where some of the top prospects have landed. We all knew that Wembanyama was going to the Spurs after the lottery, but the picks after in the lottery were a mystery. Would the Hornets go with Miller or Scoot at #2 was a huge discussion.

It’s always tricky to figure out what the stats will look like for the rookies. It really depends on whether they’ll get the play time out the gate and be put in the best positions to play well.

Victor Wembanyama, C, San Antonio Spurs

Highly regarded as the greatest prospect of all time lands in San Antonio. The Spurs will have plenty of opportunity for Wembanyama and I think he’ll truly flourish in the Spurs offense. Wembanyama isn’t a very selfish player and will look to incorporate himself within the offense.

With that in mind, if people think he’s going to average 25+ out the gate, that’s just not going to happen. Expect him to play winning basketball and raise the floor of the Spurs immediately with elite rim protection and a consistent threat offensively in his rookie season.

Stats Prediction: 16.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.9 BPG, 52.4% FG, 36.1% 3PT (31.1 MPG)

Scoot Henderson, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers

Not sure what’s going to happen with the Trail Blazers, but I’m writing this in the mind that the Blazers keep Damian Lillard. Scoot has shown the ability to be an extremely dangerous player with the ball in his hands and I think he will flash that throughout his rookie year.

I just don’t think he will get the volume that he needs to truly showcase his abilities with the other guards on the team with Dame and Anfernee Simons.

Stats Prediction: 14.2 PPG, 4.2 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 42.6% FG, 32.7% 3PT (26.6 MPG)

Brandon Miller, SF, Charlotte Hornets

I think of all the prospects, Brandon Miller is set up the best to win ROTY. The Hornets need a lead scorer and a player in the frontcourt desperately to take over and Miller will do just that. Being able to pair Miller with a point guard of LaMelo’s capabilities should give Miller plenty of opportunities to score and succeed on the Hornets.

With his shooting ability, ability to score from anywhere, and use his length to his advantage, he will be a dangerous weapon for the Hornets to utilize. He will be given a ton of shots in the Hornets offense and probably take over as the #1 option by the end of his rookie season.

Stats Prediction: 18.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 46.5% FG, 38.1 3PT (33.6 MPG)

Amen Thompson, PG, Houston Rockets

One of my favorite picks in the draft. I think Amen Thompson will bring some solidification into the Rockets backcourt that they’ve needed. His ability to make plays for others, play solid defense, and also be explosive driving to the rim himself, he’s a great addition.

I think he’ll be a great fit for Ime Udoka’s system and will be the leader of the Rockets very soon. I don’t expect him score a ton in his rookie year, but you’ll see flashes of his playmaking and defensive abilities on display immediately making an impact.

Stats Prediction: 12.2 PPG, 6.1 APG, 4.4 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 45.3% FG, 31.1% 3PT (28.9 MPG)

Ausar Thompson, SF, Detroit Pistons

The Pistons needed a defensive wing to pair with Cade and Ivey and Ausar was a near perfect fit. He can improve his shooting, but Ausar is a perfect fit to be an off the ball player that can lockdown the opposite team’s best offensive player while being a consistent threat on the fast break or making cuts baseline. I don’t think Ausar will be relied on to score and won’t get the volume. Nonetheless, he will do what he was drafted to do, be a lockdown defender and a wing that score without the ball in his hands.

Stats Prediction: 10.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 46.6% FG, 32.1% 3PT (27.4 MPG)

Anthony Black, PG, Orlando Magic

The Magic have a logjam at point guard, but Anthony Black was still the right pick. He’s a 6’7 point guard that can play defense and make plays for others. He’s not going to get you 25 a night, but give you consistent effort at the PG position and make winning plays.

He still leaves a lot to desire on the scoring end, but has shown scoring flashes. His production will really matter on what the Magic do at the PG position. Do they trade away Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony, or Markelle Fultz… they need to make a decision now.

Stats Prediction: 8.5 PPG, 5.3 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 45.3% FG, 34.6% 3PT (25.2 MPG)

Bilal Coulibaly, SF, Washington Wizards

Although Bilal Coulibaly is still largely a huge project, I loved this move for the Wizards. The two things that the Wizards needed were athleticism and defense on their team. Enter Bilal Coulibaly. Even if Coulibaly never develops on the offensive end like he’s shown flashes of, he’ll still be a more than capable defensive player.

His 7’2 wingspan is no joke and will be important in the Wizards rebuild. I don’t expect Coulibaly to score much in rookie season, but show flashes of his defensive versatility and his explosiveness as a wing.

Stats Prediction: 7.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 43.3% FG, 35.9% 3PT (24.1 MPG)

Jarace Walker, PF, Indiana Pacers

The Pacers have had an empty void to fill at the PF position for some years now. Ever since the departure of Thaddeus Young, they’ve had trouble filling that PF position. Getting a versatile and agile defender in Jarace Walker was a great move.

Walker is a winning player that can hit the mid-range, pound it inside, and also make plays for others. He’s a perfect fit with Myles Turner with his rebounding ability from the PF position and versatility. I don’t expect Walker to light the world on fire offensively, but immediately raise the floor for the Pacers. They’ve needed a versatile forward to help defensively for a bit now.

Stats Prediction: 11.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 BPG, 48.2% FG, 33.5% 3PT (26.5 MPG)

Taylor Hendricks, PF, Utah Jazz

Another versatile forward that is a winning player. I had to adjust Hendricks stat projections after the Collins trade, but it doesn’t diminish the value that Hendricks will provide. It’s going to be quite interesting to see how the Jazz frontcourt rotation looks with Lauri, Kessler, Collins, and now Hendricks.

Nonetheless, Hendricks will provide some defensive versatility with his ability to guard wings on the perimeter from the PF position. Not only that, he’s more than capable of hitting shots from the perimeter, hitting 39.4% of his threes at UCF.

Stats Prediction: 9.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 0.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 45.4% FG, 37.9% 3PT (23.3 MPG)

Cason Wallace, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder are full on focused on winning and Cason Wallace is exactly what they needed. Their starting lineup lacked perimeter defense and Cason Wallace has been regarded as the best on-ball defender in the draft. Wallace won’t score a ton of points, but play the role of a Jrue Holiday. Someone who will lockdown the opposition’s best perimeter player, then make plays for others, and hit the occasional shot here and there. The Thunder don’t need him to do much more and that’s fine. He’s going to be extremely important if the Thunder are intending on making the playoffs this season.

Stats Prediction: 10.1 PPG, 4.1 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 44.1%, 35.5% 3PT (27.9 MPG)


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