As we continue on this journey of ranking the “diaper dandies” of the NBA some names stay the same while some others are beginning to get their due.
Pistons rookie Saddiq Bey is such a quiet and cerebral player that most don’t know much about him, but his game speaks volumes. At this point in his rookie season, however, NBA teams are kicking themselves for letting one of the best shooters in the Draft drop to the 19th pick.
He was just named NBA Eastern Conference Player Of The Week, becoming the first “Motor City” player since Kelly Tripucka in 1982 and second overall rookie to receive such honors.
During a recent stretch, the Pistons posted a 3-1 record with wins over the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans.
During that span, he averaged 17 PPG, 6 RPG, 2 APG, and 1 SPG in 26 minutes of playing time. Following a bit of a shooting slump Bey broke out and went (25-35) overall (71 %) from the floor, and a hotter than fish grease (16-23) from three.
Bey became the first Pistons rookie to make at least four threes in back-to-back games. His breakout performance came against the Celtics where he poured in 30 points shooting (10-12) and making all seven of his triples while grabbing 12 rebounds.
As Blake Griffin tries to force his way out of Detroit, Bey ushers in a new era as the only rookie in NBA history to make seven threes in a game without a miss, and just the fourth to make seven from deep while scoring 30 points, joining Jason Kidd, Steph Curry and Lauri Markkanen.
The former Sidwell Friends (Washington DC) product just knows how to play correctly and at a high level. Playing for coaches like Eric Singletary (Sidwell) and Jay Wright aka George Clooney (Nova) the fundamentals of the game were stressed and you can see it in how he approaches the game.
Immanuel Quickley (NY Knicks)
According to a story in the New York Post, “former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy has compared the drafting of Immanuel Quickley late in the first round to the selection of Charlie Ward.
Both, Van Gundy said, are point-guard steals.
Ward was taken 26th in the 1994 draft. Twenty-six years later, Quickley was snared at 25.”
Don’t look now, but the New York Knicks would be a sixth-seed in the Eastern Conference if the season ended today and rookie sensation Quickley is a huge reason for the optimism in Madison Square Garden. The rookie guard was doing his thing prior to Derrick rose’s arrival in NY and now he is getting top-notch tutelage from a former MVP.
The Knicks did something right in choosing Quickley. In his last 10 games, the rookie is averaging 15.3 ppg in just 21 minutes, shooting 45 percent from the field, 41.4 percent from 3, and 93.9 percent from the charity stripe.
LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)
It’s becoming ever so obvious the youngest son of Lavar Ball should’ve been drafted #1 overall, and it shouldn’t even have been particularly close.
And that’s not a knock on either Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman, who are super talented young rooks themselves. But what Ball has been doing this season is just plain ridiculous.
"Stepped on the court. No warmup, no nothing. Was still cool."
LaMelo Ball explains how he was able to knock down seven threes in tonight’s win 😂 pic.twitter.com/y4PQwEMoOj
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 9, 2021
What makes his showing even more incredible is he’s been doing this off the bench for the most part. He only became a starter after his very loquacious dad LaVar commented that he should be starting. After some pushback from head coach James Borrego, immediately following those comments, he was inserted into the starting lineup and the transition has looked seamless.
He’s averaged 21 PPG, 6 APG and 5 RPG since. “Rookie Of The Year” is his to lose.
Tyrese Haliburton (Sacramento Kings)
This rookie is continuing to hold down the second spot, and since Ball should’ve gone first maybe Rese’ should’ve been given more thought as the #2 overall selection.
He gives the Kings such a savvy and cerebral combo guard off the bench. He plays both ends of the floor, which is crucial for this young team and their success. His biggest effect is how he’s allowed DeAaron Fox to play off the ball and become a flat-out star in his fourth year in Sac-Town.
Always a solid offensive weapon, he’s becoming a menace on the defensive end of the floor. Kings are usually awful at talent evaluation but they seemed to have lucked up with a player they’ll have as a part of “the core” for years to come. He’s averaging 17 PPG, 5 APG, 3 RPG, 2 SPG, 1 BPG while shooting a sizzling 66% from three the last 7 games.
Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)
The supremely athletic specimen, taken No. 1 overall by the Timberwolves, was getting his numbers early in the season but they were coming in a rather inefficient manner.
Now that his efficiency has improved, Edwards is beginning to flex the two-way stardom potential I’ve personally raved about. He’s still averaging around 18 PPG, while shooting 45% from the field and flamethrowing 52% from three lately. His D is on point, especially for a young player. He and Malik Beasley give the “Twin Cities” some real potential on the wings.
Desmond Bane (Memphis Grizzlies)
The rookie sharpshooter for the young, upstart Grizzlies is shooing 44% from distance when taking at least three 3’s per game and 48% when he takes 4 or more.
A pretty basic stat to most but it’s where he’s hitting them from which is all over the court from the corner, top of the key, wing threes etc. He’s a knockdown shooter made even better by the amount of space he’s being given to knock down shots. He’s shooting 54% when no one is within six feet of him, which a tribute to the Grizz’ ball movement and his willingness to work to get open without the basketball.
Jae’Sean Tate – Rockets
James Wiseman- Warriors
Kira Lewis Jr – Pelicans
Cole Anthony – Magic