The summer is a time to dream big about newly drafted rookies. But paths to NBA stardom are never linear, and every rookie has a unique set of roadblocks to overcome before they can capitalize on their potential. Jonathan Tjarks examines some of the draft’s top talents and how their team’s situation will affect their freshman season. Welcome to the Rookie Curve.
Jul 24, 2018, 6:10am EDT
August 15, 2019
The no. 2 pick was a one-man offense in college, but he won’t need to be that person in the NBA. Memphis’s new point guard can thrive by growing with his über-talented big man.
August 8, 2019
The Maple Mamba is no more. For Barrett to have any shot of getting New Yorkers to forget about Zion, he’ll need to learn how to share the ball.
August 2, 2019
Atlanta gave up a haul to nab Hunter in the draft. But if he fits as well as the team thinks he will, he could become a major contributor and the Hawks could become major players for star free agents a lot sooner than you think.
July 25, 2019
Zion could be the NBA’s next great superstar. But as a rookie, he’s more likely to be a super role player. We break down the challenges ahead for the Pelicans’ no. 1 pick.
September 11, 2018
The former Alabama star is a popular dark horse for Rookie of the Year honors, but to reach those heights, he’ll have to become, on the fly, the kind of playmaker the Cavaliers desperately need
September 4, 2018
Phoenix paid a steep price for the no. 10 overall selection, but the team has its eyes on the future, and Bridges’s sharpshooting could be the key to unlocking the rest of the team’s puzzle
August 30, 2018
Memphis is desperately looking to return to the postseason on the backs of Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. The team’s top rookie could be the key to ensuring that it does.
August 21, 2018
Despite an eye-opening performance in Las Vegas, the Duke standout faces a tough situation in his first year due to the competing agendas on a young Bulls team
August 16, 2018
The Kings seemed to be playing it safe by picking the dominant Duke freshman, but they have a long way to go to bring out the best of the no. 2 overall pick
July 31, 2018
The once-and-future Arizona big man has the physical superiority to be any kind of modern center he wants to be, but there are two dominant modes to consider. Which one will he choose?
July 24, 2018
Atlanta’s newest star-in-the-making won’t be able to avoid the Steph Curry comparisons, so he might as well lean into it. That means learning how to dominate opponents off the ball. That’s no easy task.