NBA Rookie Rankings: Walker Kessler records historic stat streak; Paolo Panchero leads a winning comeback against the Sixers

With the calendar turning to February, that means we’re in the middle of the busiest month during the NBA season. The trade deadline is just a few days away on February 9th, followed by All-Star weekend just over a week later. For starters, All-Star weekend means the 2023 Jordan Rising Stars Championship on February 17, and this year the pool of first-year players to choose from is deep. rookies who will be Representing their teams during the Rising Stars tournament We are:

All of these players totally deserve this honor, as they were all featured multiple times during these weekly rankings. This list is also not exhaustive of the many other rookies who are having strong seasons for their teams, showing just how deep the 2022 NBA draft really is.

Now it’s time to analyze this week’s rookie rankings. Keep in mind that these ratings will only reflect the rookie’s performance on a weekly basis, not the collegiate season. These are not the Rookie of the Year rankings, but a reflection of the player’s performance over the past week.

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Entering the trade deadline, the Jazz announced that the only untouchable players on their roster were Lauri Markkanen, who could earn an All-Star selection for the first time when the reserves are announced, and Kessler, a 7-foot-tall rookie who keeps getting bigger. Next question from everyone watching: How did he slip to 22nd in the draft?

Two weeks ago, Kessler turned heads when he posted a 20-point, 21-rebound double-double, and this week he did something similar with a 17-point, 14-rebound, and 7-block performance in a win over wild birds. He is the first player since Dwight Howard in 2009 to post that baseline while shooting at least 80 percent from the field. He is also the only player this season to record seven blocks in two games.

Each number from that baseline is more impressive than the last, and it all ties in with how Kessler plays the game. He is aggressive on the offensive glass which leads to second chances for himself.

Its mass creates transitional opportunities to jazz it up, which then leads to a dump like this at the other end of the upstart:

It’s rare to see Kessler’s ability to time blocks and influence shots without making mistakes from a rookie. Because of his height and length, he can cover a great deal of space, but he also has the cat-like agility to make second blocks.

“He’s very quick late on, if that makes any sense,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said after the win over Toronto. “Not only does he turn himself in early, he’s able to close down a lot of spaces with his last stride and his length.”

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Eason had one Most of the box results are weird You will see not only from a newbie, but from any player in the league. In a win against the Thunder this week, Eason grabbed 12 offensive rebounds, a number rarely seen in the league. In fact, it has happened three more times in NBA history. Popeye Jones accomplished the feat in 1994, Zydrunas Ilgauskas did it in 2005, and Tristan Thompson did it in 2014. It’s something that seems to happen almost every decade, and Eason is the one to do it this decade.

You would think that with so many offensive boards, Eason must have had a monster game of rebounding on the other end, but oddly enough, he only had one defensive rebound. It’s a strange square to stare at, but if you’ve watched Eason play all this season, you’ll notice he’s a footballer when it comes to offensive rebounds.

Just look at Eason’s commitment on this play as he caught four offensive boards on one possession and was finally rewarded with a -1 after all of his hard work.

He ranks third among all rookies in offensive rebounds this season with an average of 2.4 a game, but the two youngsters ahead of him — Kessler and Jalen Doreen — start their teams while averaging more than 20 minutes a game. Eason does all this while coming off the bench and playing 19 minutes every night. The rebound earned Eason and the Rockets second-chance points, and on a night when Houston was without two of its top scorers in Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., Eason’s aggressiveness on the offensive glass helped the Rockets shock the Thunder into a victory.

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Mathurin has now scored at least 20 points in five games, capping off a 27-point, eight-rebound performance against the team. grizzly. Even though the Pacers have only gone 1-4 during Mathurin’s impressive run of games, he continues to prove his worth off the bench for the slugging Pacers team. But we all know Mathurin can rack up points, and what stands out most during this stretch is that he averages 6.2 rebounds a game. In that two-point loss against Memphis, he led Indiana in total rebounds while coming off the bench. In Mathurin’s last two games combined, he grabbed 16 rebounds in total, seven of which came on offensive glass.

It’s a fascinating area of ​​Mathurin’ that has unfolded in recent weeks. When he catches those defensive boards, he promptly pushes the pace for the Pacers, often getting into the paint for an easy bucket hit. When the offensive glass shatters, it gives Indiana a chance to reset or another scoring opportunity for Mathurin.

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The Magic had a big win over the Sixers this week as Banchero scored 29 points on 50 percent from the field and 60 percent from deep. He also grabbed nine rebounds and three assists in the win. It’s the latest example of Banchero really playing to the competition, which we’ve already seen countless times against Boston Celtics this chapter. Banchero was essentially unstoppable in that first game against Philadelphia, taking it straight into Joel Embiid’s chest on one occasion, maneuvering through the pick-and-roll with ease several times.

But what goes up must go down, and two days later when the Magic played the Sixers again, Banchero was held to an ineffective 13-point loss. It had to happen after Philadelphia surrendered a 21-point lead to a 20-win Orlando team. But he has proven that Banchero is not afraid of the moment, even against some of the best teams in the league.

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Suchan put up a career high 30 points against Phoenix Suns This week, he’s made three three-pointers, grabbed eight rebounds and made five assists. We’re starting to see several parts of Soochan’s game coming together and changing the bar on what his career could be. His continued improvement in his 3-point shooting hints that with more development, maybe he can do some damage from long range two years from now. But his assists this week turned heads to show there is a lot of untapped potential for this kid going forward.

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