Week 15 of the NBA consisted of games from Jan 23-29. This week we are highlighting the top 5 rookies of the week. Paolo Banchero, Walker Kessler, Jalen Williams, Keegan Murray, and Jalen Duren.
1) Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic)- Paolo Banchero is definitely living up to the hype that so many had seen coming out of Duke. This week he totaled two 23 point performances against the Celtics and Pacers respectively. Paolo’s stats this rookie season include 20.7 ppg, 6.4rpg, and 3.7apg and he has led his team to a 2-2 record in Week 15. The first overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft is expected to be the Magic’s franchise cornerstone with the intention of building a championship team.
2) Walker Kessler (Utah Jazz)- This week was led by Utah Jazz’s center on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. His best performance this week was against the Dallas Mavericks where he totaled 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks. The 7ft rookie out of Auburn is averaging 7.7 ppg, 7.3 rbg, and 2.0 bpg this season and the Utah Jazz have got to be pleased with the production Kessler is putting out for them. Jazz guard Mike Conley had some high praise for Kessler, “ I think [Walker] ability to comprehend is what’s allowed him to make these jumps that he’s taken over the year.”
Walker Kessler was selected with the 22nd pick of the 2022 NBA draft.
3) Jalen Williams (OKC Thunder)- Not to be confused with his brother, Jaylin, Jalen Williams has been an impactful player in his rookie campaign. Coming out of Santa Clara and the 12th overall pick, Williams was expected to perform however, I think he has exceeded expectations so far. In two games this week, Williams averaged 20.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist with a 1-1 team record. He posted 24 points in a losing effort against the Atlanta Hawks but he was active on both ends tallying 4 steals to go along with the 24 points.
4) Keegan Murray (Sacramento Kings)– With the 4th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Kings selected Keegan Murray from Iowa. Murray had a strong summer league and has continued that high level of play from a rookie this season. In week 15, Murray totaled 11 3 pointers in 3 games. His best performance came against the Memphis Grizzlies where he totaled 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 3 pointers in a 133-100 home victory.
5) Jalen Duren(Detroit Pistons)- The youngest player coming out of the 2022 NBA Draft, the athletic big man Jalen Duren has displayed that athleticism with sky high dunks and rebounds. In week 15, his best performance came against the Milwaukee Bucks where he posted 23 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. The Pistons only win this week came against Brooklyn where he posted 17 points and 7 rebounds. With Cade Cunningham out, it has been up to Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren to hold the fort down in his presence.