Whether you’re wondering which 2022 NBA rookies to look for when ripping packs or preparing your fantasy basketball draft board, you should know about the season’s rising stars. We put together a list of the top NBA rookies so you know who to watch. While it’s impossible to predict what the future holds, there are some incredible players who show a lot of promise. Ready to meet today’s up-and-comers and tomorrow’s legends? Read on.
1. Paolo Banchero — Orlando Magic
Paolo Banchero is poised to be Rookie of the Year after Chet Holmgren’s unfortunate injury. All signs point to Banchero being a starter. An offensive powerhouse who could easily become Orlando’s best player, out of all of the 2022 NBA rookies, this 6-foot-10 power forward is undoubtedly the player who seems most ready to become the NBA’s next fan favorite.
2. Bennedict Mathurin — Indiana Pacers
Bennedict Mathurin really showed his athleticism in Summer League, with his chemistry alongside Chris Duarte being especially noteworthy. He has a tight 3-pointer and has great potential to be an outstanding wing for Tyrese Haliburton. Mathirin has a bold, fiery playing style that could prove to be quite beneficial to the Pacers squad.
3. Keegan Murray — Sacramento Kings
Keegan Murray has shown time and time again that he has what it takes to rise to the top, not only of the 2022 NBA rookies, but the NBA as a whole. This combo forward is a strong 3-point shooter and an impressive all-around player. There’s no question that he’ll be able to perform well, but will he get the chance to flex his skills playing alongside players like Harrison Barnes, Domantas Sabonis, and De’Aaron Fox?
4. Jabari Smith Jr. — Houston Rockets
Jabari Smith Jr. is one of the top NBA rookies because he’s the most skilled spot-up downtown shooter, as well as an outstanding on-ball defender. His versatility as both an offensive and defensive player should make for some packed stats. At 19 years old, Jabari may be one of the younger 2022 NBA rookies, but he already plays like a seasoned pro.
5. Jaden Ivey — Detroit Pistons
Out of all of this year’s rookies, Jaden Ivey is widely regarded as the best guard and should be quite exciting to watch playing shooting guard beside Cade Cunningham. His jumping prowess, staggering speed, and ball-handling skills should make Jaden a very promising offensive and defensive player who can both drive and steal with the best of them.
Honorable Mentions: More Rookies to Watch
6. Tari Eason — Houston Rockets
Tari Eason is a high-energy player who brings a lot of potential to the floor. Stats have shown that when he’s playing, the whole team performs better. While it’s tough to shine playing alongside Jabari Smith Jr., Tari is undoubtedly one of the 2022 NBA rookies to keep a close eye on.
7. Walker Kessler — Utah Jazz
Walker Kessler is one of the top NBA rookies largely because of his astonishing defensive abilities, specifically his shot-blocking. Walker also comes from a basketball family — his father, Chad, and his uncle, Alex, were both former NBA draft picks, and his brother, Houston Walker, played basketball for Georgia. Walker played alongside Jabari Smith Jr. at Auburn, so should be fun to watch them go up against each other this year.
8. Shaedon Sharpe — Portland Trail Blazers
Shaedon Sharpe didn’t play ball in college, and he was injured right at the beginning of Summer League. However, in spite of those challenges, he’s still one of the 2022 NBA rookies to keep in mind. While he’s unlikely to be a starter, there’s a good chance we could see him emerge later in the season.
9. Jalen Williams — Oklahoma City Thunder
Jalen Williams brings a superb catch-and-shoot 3-point shot to the table, which could make him a very valuable addition to the Thunder squad. A master of both scoring and passing, and an especially skilled pick-and-roller, Jalen will certainly be exciting to watch when he gets the minutes.
10. Johnny Davis — Washington Wizards
A first-team All-American from Wisconsin, Johnny Davis decided to leave college early to pursue an NBA career — a wise decision, as he’s among the top 2022 NBA rookies to watch. He’s especially known for his mid-range skills that could improve the Wizards’ deep game.
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