With a wealth of talent drafted in this years NBA draft, prospects are currently showing their skills in Summer League play. There is no doubt that there are some primed and ready to contribute to their ball clubs right away. Some players might not make an immediate impact, but we have a few players we think are going to take the league by storm. Here are predictions for the NBA 2015-16 All-Rookie lineup:
Center – Jahlil Okafor (Philadelphia 76ers)
Although he slipped to the third pick, where the Sixers quickly snatched him up, Jahlil Okafor and his offensive prowess is going to make him a lock at this position. He might not grade out better than Karl-Anthony Towns on defense, but there is no denying his skill around the basket. We expect the former Duke standout to command a lot of double teams, making things easier for his teammates on the perimeter. Okafor also happens to be my pick to win Rookie of the Year.
Forward – Frank Kaminsky (Charlotte Hornets)
“Frank the Tank”, as he is often referred to, is an easy pick here. The guy has an incredible work ethic that will help him develop along nicely. He brings a lot of intangibles with him; he can space the floor, attack the basket and is a great rebounder. He’s going to work hard and get better as time goes on. Kaminsky will be that high energy guy that finds himself all over the place, which is the type of player that the Hornets have been desperately seeking.
Forward – Stanley Johnson (Detroit Pistons)
Johnson has been impressive in Summer League and we think he will continue to bring that success into training camp and into the season. Johnson will flourish more in transition where he is possibly one of the most athletic players in the draft. With Reggie Jackson and Brandon Jennings leading the break, expect a lot of high flying acrobatic moves and finishes from the former Arizona Wildcat. His defense might be his strongest attribute, and we expect him to be a solid wing defender just on that athleticism alone. Johnson here is more of a sleeper pick and don’t be surprised if he shows off his athleticism in the dunk contest also.
Guard – Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets)
The legal trouble for Ty Lawson seems to be getting bigger and bigger. The Nuggets were shopping the point guard, but no teams really showed a big interest. The next step for Denver would be to waive Lawson, and there have been some reports saying that the Nuggets will do it soon. In turn, that would put Mudiay in the driver seat of the Nuggets offense. Mudiay has the size to play two-guard, but with Lawson’s days close to being over he should take over with no problems. So far he has been one of the most impressive players in Summer League, although he is only shooting 40% from the field and a lowly 11% from three point range, he has been attacking the basket with ease and finding open teammates. If he can build on his play and have the momentum carry over into the season, Denver might turn some heads this year.
Guard – D’Angelo Russell (Los Angeles Lakers)
I try not to put to much into Summer League, especially if a player with a ton of talent struggles. Russell has shown some flashes, but it hasn’t been an ideal showcase for him so far. I expect when the team gets together for training camp and he has Kobe in his ear, along with Head Coach Byron Scott showing him the nuances of the game, he will catch on quickly. Russell is going to score and I wont be surprised if he is near or possibly leading all rookies in scoring this year. Once he cleans up the turnovers and has better shot selection, in a couple of years he will be one of the best point guards this league has to offer. I know those are pretty strong words but Russell has that much talent, so the NBA better watch out.