This year's NBA rookie class was expected to be strong and it has lived up to the hype in the first week of the season. But has been the best? Here are your top 10 rookies of the season so far. Keep it locked here on The Corner Three every Tuesday for your indepth analysis on all the youngsters the association has to offer. So without further ado, here is the top 10!
1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Yep, Karl-Anthony Towns' ceiling is limitless and he is already making history. Watch out world.
Towns' 28 point, 14 rebound showing was easily the most impressive rookie performance thus far, but all three of his games so far have been great. Towns is averaging a touch below 58% shooting, leading to nearly 18 points per contest, adding a touch over 10 rebounds per game as well. Not to mention he as also been a defensive monster, he has had four blocks in his two most recent matches. Towns has been one of the driving forces to the Timberwolves' great start to the season, opening the year 2-1. The only loss has come at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers, a game in which they lost a 17 point lead to Damian Lillard's 34 point monster night.
2. Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers
Okafor's opening game extravaganza against the Celtics' weak frontcourt rotation that consists of David Lee and Kelly Olynyk, was simply sensational. He made his first five shots and was only slowed down after the Celtics decided to put Jared Sullinger on him. Even then, Okafor finished that game with 26 points and 7 rebounds. He added a somewhat disappointing 10 and 6 the following game against Utah, but decided to put the foot on the accelerator again with 24 points, but only 3 rebounds. Okafor leads all rookies in scoring at 20 per game, but has been rather weak on the boards with only 5 per game and as advertised, he hasn't been great on defense. Still, Okafor is basically already a guaranteed two points when he gets the ball on the low block.
3. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
I'm going to say something right now that no New Yorker wanted to say after the 2015 NBA draft: Kristaps Porzingis is good! Yes, Porzingis is a good player at there is a reason why Derek Fisher decided to start Porzingis from day one. Porzingis is one heck of a talented player, he clearly has a nice stroke and is highly athletic, as shown by his massive putback on LaMarcus Aldridge last night.
Sorry Knicks fans, it isn't going to get better than this for the 2015-16 season.
Porzingis hasn't shot the ball incredibly well (36% from the field), but is still averaging 11.75 points per game and despite many saying he isn't strong enough, has been going at 8.25 boards, including 14 against Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge.
To imagine, that this guy has probably the highest potential of all of these guys.
4. Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento Kings
Many criticized the pick of Willie Cauley-Stein, but he has looked really good in his first three games.
After starting his first game on the bench and only finishing the matchup with 2 points and 2 rebounds, Cauley-Stein entered the starting lineup, replacing Kosta Koufos, for his latest pair of contests. The results, will be incredibly pleasing to George Karl.
In WCS's second match of his career, he tallied 17 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in a dominant victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. In his most recent game, a loss against the Clippers, Willie Trill's 8 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and solitary block was incredibly impressive.
Cauley-Stein is definitely the partner to DeMarcus Cousins going forward. He adds a much needed defensive presence, that Cousins simply doesn't have. Hopefully his last two performances keep him in the starting lineup for good and we continue to see their partnership develop.
5. Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets
Emmanuel Mudiay should be higher up on this list, if it weren't for one stat that exists; turnovers. Mudiay, over his first three contests has averaged more turnovers than assists. He has actually averaged over 6 turnovers per game, including 11 against the Rockets, which granted they won (by 20 points), but it still isn't a fantastic sign.
Him shooting 33% isn't fantastic either, but to be fair, the Nuggets are asking him to a heck of a lot because of the lack of talent on that team. If you take away the slight turnover problem and the poor shooting percentages , he should easily be higher on this list. His 13 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds have been great for the rebuilding Nuggets, who need a piece like him to take them forward into the future. He looks at home on a basketball court, he's a natural and as the season progresses, he will probably rise up this list.
6. Jerian Grant, New York Knicks
The other half the Knicks' excitement this season comes at the point guard position.
Grant has been consistently good coming off the bench and probably should be starting instead of Jose Calderon to enhance Phil Jackson's rebuilding process. His 8.5 points, 3.75 assists and 3.5 rebounds make him an all-round threat that has looked adapt at running an NBA offense and defending his position in the NBA, shown by his 1.5 steals.
The triangle offense looks extremely suited to Grant early on in his career. He is a willing, intelligent passer, who showed that he is great at attacking on the pick and roll. He looks to be the long-term solution at the point guard position in New York.
Grant has been somewhat of a surprise early on, but needs more minutes to continue developing as a player. Unfortunately, with Arron Afflalo returning from injury in due time, Grant's minutes will probably decrease.
7. Nemanja Bjelica, Minnesota Timberwolves
Unless you watch the Timberwolves or European basketball, you probably don't no much about this guy, so I'll quickly fill you in.
Bjelica is a 6'10'' power forward, who is able to take the ball up and shoot threes with absolute ease. He won the Euroleague MVP last season with Fenerbahce, before heading over here, as the T-Wolves owned his draft rights from 2010.
Bjelica has been great to start the season. He looks like the long-term partner for Karl-Anthony Towns, after Kevin Garnett retires. He has been excellent shooting the ball going at 50% from the field and 43% from long range. His rebounding has also been fantastic. Bjelica has added more than 7 rebounds per game, 8 and 9 in his past two.
To go along with his clearly talented offensive game and being a glass eater, Bjelica has not been weak on the defensive end like many Europeans tend to be when they enter the NBA. Bjelica has been quick on his rotations and has consistently contested shots.
Bjelica's start to the season is encouraging for the young Wolves, who will be looking for continued to development from their entire team.
8. Justise Winslow, Miami Heat
If there was ever an example for being drafted by the perfect team, it would be Justise Winslow. He has been put in a place where there is no pressure to perform immediately, he gets to learn off of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and has Pat Riley, Mickey Arison and Erik Spoelstra mentoring him.
Winslow was quiet in his first couple of games, he didn't do too much except show good defense and a strong rebounding side to his game that he flashed in college. But it was his most recent matchup versus the Rockets, where he stamped his mark on his rookie season so far. Winslow scored 10 points, pulled in 3 rebounds and dished out 2 assists. He managed to guard James Harden for stretches of the game and showed off his shooting touch, with two three-pointers. He did all of this in 31 minutes, clearly a sign of how much Spoelstra already trusts him.
The Heat will have to include Winslow in more and more lineups. The versatility, defense and hustle that he brings to the team is too much to pass up and his offensive game continues to show signs of life. Look for Winslow to eventually take the starting position currently held by Luol Deng at small forward.
9. Montrezl Harrell, Houston Rockets
Harrell is here pretty much on the basis of one game, a Friday night blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors, in which he played 21 garbage time minutes.
In that game Harrell showed his explosiveness and a big spark off the bench. He finished the game with 17 points (7 of 9 shooting) and 3 rebounds, to go along with a big block.
Harrell hasn't been as good in his other games, but has looked solid when he has been on the court. With Dwight Howard getting back to full fitness however, Harrell's minutes are set to decrease, as shown by just 3 minutes of court time against Oklahoma City.
With that in mind, Harrell probably won't be here for much longer.
10. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
After missing his first match with a niggling ankle injury, Turner bounced back with two notable showings, 8 points and 4 rebounds, a block and 2 steals against the Grizzlies in a loss. He followed that up with a similar performance of 10 points, 4 rebounds and a block. He has shot 57.1% from the field in his two efficient games so far.
Turner has brought energy off the bench and has officially become the primary backup to starting center, Ian Mahinmi, according to coach Frank Vogel.
Turner brings athleticism and a half decent jump shot, both of which he showcased in college. He can play both center and power forward, but with Paul George taking up a majority of the minutes at the four, Turner will be seen primarily as a center.
His fantastic showings early on in his young career could see his minutes increase and possibly, lead to him acquiring the starting spot. Fingers crossed for the young fella.