The NBA season is just around the corner, and every season some of the most high profile and impactful new players on most teams are rookies, and this year will be no different. This year holds to have more rookies than any other year in NBA history. So what rookies will be most impactful for their new teams?
Traditionally, the rookies who have the biggest impact for their teams have been those draft high in the draft. Of the last 20 rookie of the year winners, six have been the number one overall pick, and all except last years winner Malcon Brogden have been drafted with the first 10 picks of the draft.
So which of the top 10 will have the biggest impact? The easy obvious choices will be the #1 and #2 overall picks in last years draft: Philadelphia's Markell Fultz and Los Angeles' Lonzo Ball. And while both will have huge impacts this year, they are both going to be handicapped by their respective teams. Fultz will play alongside some of the best young talent in the league in Philadelphia, and Ball will need another year or two of fine tuning before he reaches his full potential.
The rookie taken in the top 10 that will have the most impact this year will be Dallas guard Dennis Smith. The Mavericks need a new star now that Dirk Nowitzki is aging and Smith fulfills that role. Unlike other top 10 picks he will not have the restraints that will hinder him from being the guy. Betting lines for next season also have Smith in their top 3 for rookie of the year candidates.
Besides the top 10, there is always a guy taken in the late lottery who has a massive impact on his teams future. This year that guy will be Utah's Donovan Mitchell. With the loss of Gordon Hayward, the Jazz will look for someone to score and Mitchell fits that role like a glove fits a hand. Look for the Louisville standout to get a lot of touches.
Of the guys taken in the late first round Atlanta's John Collins holds a lot of potential to be a solid contributor. The Hawks depleted roster will need Collins and he will deliver.
The first round is comparatively easy to find a decent player, but the second round is here GM's make their money. Last year the Bucks Brogden shocked the world by becoming the first 2nd round pick to ever win ROTY, and while this years class is a lot better than 2016's class it does not mean that gems will not be found in the 2nd round.
Of the 2nd round picks the one that will most likely be the biggest steal is Orlando's Ivan Rabb. A bulking forward Rabb will get some major minutes with the Magic as they try to rebuild.
With every steal and gem of the draft there are also as many if not more busts. The 2016 draft was full of busts, and the 2017 draft will surely have a few. Who fits this mold the best? New York's Frank Ntilikina .
Foreign prospects with little exposure to the American game are always high risk. For every Dirk Nowitzki there are seven Nikolai Tsikisvili's out there. Ntilikina's biggest problem will be that he was drafted to fit a system that the Knicks no longer run. This will cause him problems and expect him to have a difficult rookie season.