Rookies peaking at the right time
NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - March 25, 2020 - 12:00am

The big-name rookies like Zion Williamson and Ja Morant had lived up to expectations and had the NBA not been indefinitely halted 2 weeks ago, we would have been continuing to see first-year players who had started to prove their value to their teams.  But the league hibernated, like every other leagues around the world and if, and when the season resumes, they can maintain their momentums.

CODY and CALEB MARTIN – Like the Lopez twins of Milwaukee, they are Charlotte’s version of a twin brother act, and both can the play 2- and 3-spot.They started slow but bloomed prior to the league suspension.  Caleb went undrafted last June but when he became part of the rotation, he transformed into a good scoring option off the bench with his strong moves to the basket and a dependable shooting touch from long range.  Brother Cody was the Hornets’ #36 pick in the Draft and is a more of a facilitator than a scorer, his impact more on passing and defense. 

KEVIN PORTER, JR. - Cleveland could be having one of their franchise futures in Porter, Jr to build on.  He’s a streak-shooting guard with good one-on-one plays and he had executed those moves in the Cavs’ final games.  He can defend and distribute the ball but his downside is his supposedly lack of maturity.  He has the potential to be an all-around player with his passing and defense.

RJ BARRETT – He could be the light on the richest franchise in the league many years lost in darkness.  New York has a gem in the 19-year old Barrett, the #3 pick after Zion and Morant and I hope they won’t be mishandling him like what they do sometimes to second-year small forward Kevin Knox.  Another slow starter, Barrett thrives in pull-up and spot-up jumpers and could be a clutch shooter.  He shows some passing creativity and that’s an area he can improve on.  But he’s on a Knicks organization whose handling of the team had more criticism than praise.

CAM REDDISH – Like Zion and Barrett, Reddish is one of the three Duke players on the 2019 Draft class.  A 2 and 3 player, he has slowly developed confidence that compliments well with second-year All-Star guard Trae Young.  He has the ability to anticipate passes, make spectacular plays on the break and if the lane is open, Reddish finishes drives to the basket with a dunk.  Like Barrett, he’s good in pull-up jumpers.

COBY WHITE – Chicago’s starting point guard could be the man the Bulls are looking for to be their long-term playmaker.  He has the ball-handling skills and the explosive speed around the perimeter that can make him create space and drop defenders.  White can score but is sometimes hasty in his decisions resulting in turnovers. 

When the season resumes, hopefully these guys can pick up where they left off.

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