This week 8 in the NBA some young talents have stood out. Let’s go through the NBA Top 5 rookies of the week with Andrew Nembhard, Paolo Banchero, Keegan Murray, Jabari Smith, and Tari Eason. All of those players had a huge impact on their team during this week’s games.
1. Andrew Nembhard (Indiana Pacers) – This week’s games have been marked by the strong performance of the Indiana Pacers’ point guard, Andrew Nembhard against the Golden State Warriors. Nembhard has been selected in the second round and the 31st overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft and has shown that the ranking is sometimes just a number. The Pacers won their game 112-104 against the Warriors and the Canadian rookie went for a career night with 31 points, 13 assists, and 8 rebounds while shooting 62% from the field. He played 41 minutes. With Tyrese Haliburton of the Pacers out Nembhard had space to show what he was able to bring to his team. He did a little bit of everything against the Warriors from jumpers, passing by floaters to shooting threes while Stephen Curry while guarding him. This night for Nembhard was the first one where he really showed his potential. However, after the Warriors game, the Canadian didn’t continue on this path. In a loss of 121-115 of the Pacers against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Nembhard played 32 minutes and only shot 30% from the field with 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. The next two games have been similar. In a 121-111 win against the Washington Wizards, he played 29 minutes and only shot 33% from the field with 3 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. On Saturday, December 10 the Pacers lost to the Brooklyn Nets and the 6-foot-3 point guard played 32 minutes and only shot 33% from the field with 5 points, 7 assists, and 2 rebounds. It will be interesting to see if Andrew Nembhard will have some game of the same level as the one against the Warriors.
2. Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic) – Paolo Banchero of Orlando Magic is number two of this week’s top five NBA rookies of the week because he is one of the reasons his team won a game after losing nine in a row. Banchero, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, showed in the 116-111 overtime win against the Los Angeles Clippers that he has the strength to become an important franchise player for the Magic. He played 38 minutes and shot 38,5% from the field and went for 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. At first sight, this performance has nothing quite outstanding. However, Banchero scored 6 free throws in the last seven seconds of the game. It is actually what the Magic is waiting for from its 6-foot-10 power forward, to be present when it matters. Banchero avoided any pressure and got the job done. In his two next games, both against the Toronto Raptors, he has been solid. On Friday, December 9, in a 113-109 win, he played 38 minutes and went for 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists while shooting 73% from the field. Then, on Sunday, December 11, in a 111-99 win, he played 37 minutes and went for 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists while shooting 43% from the field.
3. Keegan Murray (Sacramento Kings) – At the end of this week, the Sacramento Kings have a 14 wins and 11 losses record. They finished the week at the 5th seed of the Western Conference. The Kings rookie, Keegan Murray, the No. 4 overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, has shown his efficiency on the court. However, this week, the Kings finished on a win and 2 losses record. What is different for Murray is that his impact is most of the time done without the ball in his hands. Cutting to the basket is his specialty. On Wednesday, December 7 the Kings lost 126-113 to the Milwaukee Bucks, and the 6-foot-8 small forward played 27 minutes and shot 60% from the field with 15 points and 4 rebounds. Then, on Friday, December 9 the Kings won 106-95 to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Murray played 30 minutes and went for 18 points while shooting 75% from the field. Finally, in the last Kings game of the week, despite the 112-99 loss to the New York Knicks, the No. 4 2022 NBA Draft pick played 35 minutes and went for 18 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 40% from the field. The Kings rookie really stood up from all of the other rookies by his capacity to cut to the basket and make important plays for his teammates.
4. Jabari Smith (Houston Rockets) – Jabari Smith from the Houston Rockets has been productive on the court and as a result, his team finished the week with 2 wins and one loss record. However, Smith’s best performance of the week was in a 118-109 loss against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, December 8. The 6-foot-11 power forward played 34 minutes and went for 23 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 69% from the field and 57% from the three-point line. On Monday, December 5, the Rockets won 126-113 in overtime to the Philadelphia Sixers and the No. 3 overall pick from the 2022 NBA Draft played 39 minutes and went for 16 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 37.5% from the field (7-9 free throws). However, on Sunday, December 11, in a 97-92 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Smith had a tough night. He played 35 minutes, scored 6 points, and got 10 rebounds while only shooting 11% from the field (1-9 FG). Despite this tough game, Smith has shown some great basketball plays this week. The Rockets rookie is an important asset for this team even though the Rockets finished this week with 8 wins and 18 losses.
5. Tari Eason (Houston Rockets) – Another Houston Rockets rookie is in this Top five NBA rookies of the week 8. It’s Tari Eason, the No. 17 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. When he is on the court, Eason shows his efficiency, exactly as he did this week. The 6-foot-8 forward is now number seven on the NBA rookie ladder. On Monday, December 5 the Rockets won 126-113 to the Philadelphia Sixes in overtime, and Eason played 21 minutes and went for 18 points and 6 rebounds while shooting 63.6% from the field. Despite a tough game on Sunday, December 11, playing 13 minutes without scoring, the No. 17 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft showed his toughness and competitiveness. It will be interesting to see how Eason will evolve during this year in the NBA.