If the 2019-20 NBA season ended today, several rookies have already made a deep enough impact to secure a spot in the All-Rookie Team. These are the best 10 rookies from this season:
All-Rookie First Team:
Ja Morant (PG) — Memphis Grizzlies
Morant took the NBA season by storm from his first day with the Grizzlies, making the most of his opportunity as the starting point guard, putting up 17.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Murray State product also shot a baffling 49.1% from the floor — elite efficiency for a player at his position — one seldom seen for a point guard, let alone a rookie floor general.
Morant is a downright no-brainer for the Rookie of the Year award, helping Memphis greatly accelerate their rebuild by putting them in playoff contention.
Kendrick Nunn (PG) — Miami Heat
Nunn is a name that came out of the woodwork, as he spent last season as a member of the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G League, never seeing the court with Golden State during the regular season.
The Heat sniped him at the end of 2018-19 and he flourished enough to force head coach Erik Spoelstra to make a change at point guard, relegating the older Goran Dragic to a sixth-man role. Averages of 15.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game make him a no-brainer here.
P.J. Washington (PF) — Charlotte Hornets
Washington didn’t take long to put himself high on the rookie ladder, debuting with a 27-point performance, including seven threes in his first game as a pro.
Length, versatile defense, and a strong acumen from long-range make him a sound piece to build around after the departure of Kemba Walker. Washington averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists for a rebuilding Hornets team, taking over the starting power forward spot.
Zion Williamson (PF) — New Orleans Pelicans
The No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft missed the entire first half of the season, but the 19-game sample shows he would be a stud and likely Rookie of the Year had he played more games.
While a torn meniscus ruined that chance, Williamson made a statement in his debut against the San Antonio Spurs, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter to give his team a chance.
The 6-foot-6 forward is averaging 23.6 points with a monstrous 58.9% field goal percentage efficiency, along with 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. The sky is the limit for this stud and the rest of the NBA can’t wait to see just how high he can take his game next season.
Brandon Clarke (PF) — Memphis Grizzlies
Clarke was perhaps the main sleeper in this 2019 NBA Draft, despite not boasting a decent shooting ability. Yet his fast-twitch muscles and raw athletic ability were enough to prove he should have gone higher than the 21st overall pick.
He showed that quickly by becoming the MVP of the NBA Summer League and bringing that same intensity into the regular season.
Clarke still prospects as a versatile defender and an opportune scorer, averaging 12.0 points and 5.8 rebounds while burying 62.3% of his shots from the floor, 40.4% from deep, and a crisp 78.5% from the foul line. Not bad for a rookie.
All-Rookie Second Team:
Coby White (PG) — Chicago Bulls
The North Carolina product was expected to be a fireball scorer at this level and he provided just that for the Bulls in his first season. Averages of 13.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists made him a sound weapon for coach Jim Boylen, as well as a capable fill-in starter.
White turned a summertime meme from draft day into a memorable rookie season. His efficiency will need some work eventually, as he only canned 39.4% of his shot attempts and 35.4% of his 3-pointers.
Tyler Herro (SG) — Miami Heat
The Kentucky standout was hailed as one of the best pure shooters along with UNC’s Cam Johnson, yet it was his brash penchant for scoring that made him a better option.
Herro quickly found a place in Erik Spoelstra’s rotation with averages of 12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. His defense still needs plenty of work, but he’s fit seamlessly in a rather intricate offense in South Beach.
Michael Porter Jr. (SF/PF) — Denver Nuggets
Porter could have been a top-five NBA Draft pick in 2018 had it not been for his repeated back and hip injuries. Yet the Nuggets smartly gambled on him with the 14th pick, redshirting him for his first season to get him fully right.
Unfortunately for Porter, he didn’t get the right opportunities until midway through the season due to a stacked Nuggets roster. He put up only 7.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this season, but canned 49.5% of his field goals, including an impressive 42.2% from deep.
If he’s unleashed at some point next season, the Nuggets could have a real long-term gem on their hands.
Eric Paschall (PF) — Golden State Warriors
The Warriors’ last NBA Draft pick wound up being their best, as the Villanova senior outplayed No. 28 Jordan Poole and No. 39 Alen Smailagic, as the rookie most ready to contribute.
For a while, Paschall gave Ja Morant a run for his money for the Rookie of the Year race before his opportunity waned with the return of Draymond Green from a multitude of injuries. Paschall is smart, aggressive, and has a motor to go with it.
While there are questions about his fit with the team, his offensive potential is undeniable — averaging 14.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists through 60 games this season.
Rui Hachimura (PF) — Washington Wizards
Much like with Paschall and the Warriors, the Wizards were looking for a player who could contribute right away upon hiring Tommy Sheppard as their full-time general manager.
Hachimura did just that, posting averaged of 13.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game this season while shooting a strong 47.8% from the floor and a solid 82.9% from the foul line.