NBA Rookie Power Rankings: 10 first-year players most affected by this year's trade deadline
Some rookies saw their teams change quite a bit over the course of a week
The NBA trade deadline has come and gone and -- whew -- have you caught your breath yet? We saw a flurry of deals come in over the past week, over 20 of them, and while Anthony Davis stayed in New Orleans, we did see big names like Kristaps Porzingis, Marc Gasol and Tobias Harris sent packing.
But the thing about trades is, they don't just affect the players who are traded. There are players involved on both sides when a deal goes down, and for a rookie that can be quite an adjustment. These guys are all past the halfway point of their first NBA seasons, and throwing a wrench into the works at this point can delay or accelerate their development. So instead of the regular rankings this week, let's take a look at the rookies who were most impacted by this year's trade deadline.
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks SF
|Not only did Doncic see the Dallas backcourt opened up by the departure of Dennis Smith Jr., but he also received a potential superstar running mate for years to come with Kristaps Porzingis heading to the Mavericks. Porzingis is just 23 years old, so he aligns perfectly with the 20-year-old Doncic, and if both are healthy they'll form one of the most skilled one-two punches in the NBA.|
Jaren Jackson Jr. Memphis Grizzlies PF
|It had been rumored for weeks, but the Grizzlies finally traded Marc Gasol, paving the way for Jackson to take over in the middle. Memphis elected to keep Mike Conley, giving Jackson at least one accomplished veteran to learn from, but the rest of his team has essentially been disbanded. This shows the Grizzlies' commitment to rebuilding around Jackson, who will get all the minutes and usage he can handle for the foreseeable future.|
Landry Shamet Los Angeles Clippers PG
|Shamet was affected as much as anyone on the list because he was actually the one traded. He performed admirably as a gunner and 3-point shooter in Philadelphia, and that experience should give him the confidence to thrive in Los Angeles on what has been a disciplined team with good chemistry. Doc Rivers coached JJ Redick for years, so they might run some of the same sets for Shamet, as he's well versed in filling Redick's shoes.|
Kevin Knox New York Knicks SF
|It's hard to imagine, but by this time next year Knox could be the young protege on an Eastern Conference power led by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. OK, that's getting a bit ahead of ourselves, but the trajectory for the Knicks, back in action on Thursday against the Pistons (7 p.m. ET -- watch on fuboTV), certainly changed when they dealt Porzingis to the Mavericks. Knox also received a young point guard with whom he can progress in Dennis Smith Jr., even if the team whiffs on free agency.|
Marvin Bagley III Sacramento Kings PF
|Most felt Bagley was being drafted onto a Kings team that could vie for the worst record in the NBA. Instead they find themselves smack dab in the playoff hunt, and their moves to bolster their roster with Harrison Barnes and Alec Burks might be the bump they need to get into the postseason. A playoff run as a rookie would be invaluable for Bagley, who could gain winning experience that would affect his progression in the league.|
Mo Bamba Orlando Magic C
|Bamba's going to be out for a while with a leg injury, but Orlando's addition of Markelle Fultz adds an intriguing wrinkle to the big man's career. Orlando hasn't had much of a point guard presence for years, and the Magic are hoping that Fultz can progress to create the next Big Three with Bamba and Jonathan Isaac. If Fultz can fulfill even a small portion of the potential he displayed to make him the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, he and Bamba could develop into quite a tandem.|
Wendell Carter Jr. Chicago Bulls C
|Carter may not play much for the rest of the season due to thumb surgery, but the Bulls added a long-term piece in Otto Porter Jr. who will help space the floor for the shooting-deprived Bulls. Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker were traded in the deal, so if Carter does come back this season he'll find a much less crowded frontcourt in which to operate.|
Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns C
|The Suns have long been looking for a point guard, and they got one ... sort of. Tyler Johnson may take over as the lead guard in Phoenix, but he's been more of a combo guard up to this point in his career. He is capable of running the pick and roll, however, which will make Ayton a much more dangerous weapon with his ability to finish around the rim or pop out and knock down a mid-range jumper. With Devin Booker waiting on the wing instead of being the primary ball-handler, it should create more space for Ayton inside.|
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Los Angeles Clippers PG
|The Clippers opened up some space for Gilgeous-Alexander in the Clippers' crowded guard rotation by dealing Avery Bradley to Memphis (we'll see how much time Landry Shamet can carve out), and the departure of Tobias Harris will presumably leave more of the team's offensive burden on the rookie's shoulders. If the team decides to keep Garrett Temple around, he can provide some mentoring for Gilgeous-Alexander on how to use his length to become an effective NBA defender. The Clippers shifted things around, but keep a nice mix of veterans around SGA, which seems to fit his game as a facilitator rather than a ball-dominant scorer.|
Trae Young Atlanta Hawks PG
|Young wasn't affected by the deals the Hawks made, but rather the deals they didn't make. Kent Bazemore has long been on the trade block, and he was recently joined by Taurean Prince, but neither ended up being dealt and they'll continue to flank Young on the wing in Atlanta. Young has been playing phenomenal basketball of late, so it's probably a good thing that his flow isn't being disrupted.|
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