David Zalubowski/Associated Press
Mikal Bridges: Three-Point Shooting
Mikal Bridges had a good argument to make an All-Rookie team. He was fifth among the class in box plus-minus.
If he wants to prove the voters wrong, he’ll probably need to pour in threes at a higher rate. His profile suggests he can be a three-and-D specialist, but shooting 33.5 percent from deep isn’t going to cut it.
Miles Bridges: Playmaking
Miles Bridges had NBA-ready athleticism before he entered the league, and he had a chance to show it off with some highlight-reel dunks as a rookie. But he’ll need to improve his on-ball skills a bit to take full advantage of his physical gifts.
Among Charlotte Hornets players with at least 500 minutes, Bridges was ninth in drives per 36 minutes and 11th in assist percentage out of drives. As the game grows increasingly positionless, Bridges will need to leverage his athleticism into open shots for his teammates.
Wendell Carter Jr.: Shooting
Wendell Carter Jr. has a chance to be a Swiss army knife for the Chicago Bulls. Among rookies across NBA history who played at least 1,000 minutes, Sam Bowie and Tim Duncan are the only two who matched or exceeded Carter’s rebounding percentage, assist percentage and block percentage. Carter is the youngest of those three by two years.
To fully unlock his versatility, he’ll have to be more efficient as a scorer. On the season, he shot only 6-of-32 from three (18.8 percent) and 72-of-207 (34.8 percent) on all shots from outside of three feet.
Mohamed Bamba: Defense
Shot blocking was one of Mohamed Bamba’s most exciting traits heading into last year’s draft. And his 7.0 block percentage as a rookie lived up to that hype.
However, the Orlando Magic surrendered 4.0 more points per 100 possessions when Bamba was on the floor, which put his defensive rating swing in the 14th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass.
Teammates can have a lot to do with that, but as a potential defensive-system anchor, Bamba has to be able to clean up others’ mistakes on the perimeter.
Kevin Knox: Everything
Kevin Knox played 2,158 minutes this season. Among the 197 rookies in the three-point era who logged at least as many minutes, Knox’ box plus-minus ranks last.
The New York Knicks’ net rating (net points per 100 possessions) was 11.3 points worse when Knox was on the floor.
In other words, the No. 9 pick had a rough rookie season.
He did show some flashes, though. A 34.3 percent clip from downtown is encouraging for a 6’9″ player, but he has to cut out or improve in the mid-range (he was last in mid-range shooting percentage this season), pass more, turn it over less and defend anything.