Rookies Wembanyama, Miller and Henderson are tough to watch


The 2023 NBA Draft was highly anticipated as a three-team draft, with Victor Wembanyama, Brandon Miller, and Scoot Henderson being the main attractions. Each player had the potential to become a franchise cornerstone, regardless of their position on the court. However, as the season progresses, it is becoming clear that these rookies are facing significant challenges in their respective teams.

The San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, and Charlotte Hornets, the teams that acquired these rookies, are currently struggling with poor records. Collectively, they have only won 15 out of 56 games played. Each team is at the bottom of the barrel in different aspects of the game, and it is evident that they need reinforcements to improve their performance.

Expectations were high for at least one of these rookies to be on a competitive team. The Hornets have the talented LaMelo Ball, the Blazers signed Jerami Grant to a long-term contract, and the Spurs have the experienced Gregg Popovich as their head coach. However, the reality is that these rookies are stuck in a development phase until their teams can secure a better position in the draft.

Let’s start with the San Antonio Spurs. They currently have the second-worst record in the league and are on a 14-game losing streak. Their defensive performance has been particularly disappointing, and it’s hard to find players on the roster who can make a significant impact apart from Wembanyama. While Wembanyama has shown promising numbers, averaging 19 points, 9 rebounds, almost 3 blocks, and a steal per game, his shooting percentages need improvement. He is shooting 43 percent from the field and only 27 percent from beyond the arc. The lack of spacing and playmaking around Wembanyama is a major concern, and the team’s reliance on players like Tre Jones for assists is not ideal.

Moving on to the Portland Trail Blazers, their offensive struggles are evident. Despite having talented players like Deandre Ayton, Shaedon Sharpe, Malcolm Brogdon, Jerami Grant, and Scoot Henderson, they are scoring only 105 points per game, which is below par in today’s NBA. The team lacks a clear game plan, and players often resort to individual plays instead of cohesive team efforts. Henderson, in particular, has struggled with foul trouble, averaging 4.1 fouls in just 25 minutes per game. His shooting percentages are also below average, and his overall performance has been inconsistent. The team’s reliance on Ayton, who needs structure and a strong team to excel, has not yielded positive results.

Lastly, the Charlotte Hornets have not seen much improvement despite the return of Miles Bridges. The team’s defense has been a longstanding issue, and their attempts to address it by relying heavily on Mark Williams have not been successful. Brandon Miller, the rookie guard, has shown promise with his shooting percentages, making half his attempts from inside the arc and close to 40 percent from beyond it. However, the team’s offense is heavily focused on Ball, who takes a high volume of shots despite having capable scorers around him.

In conclusion, the 2023 NBA Draft was expected to bring a new wave of talent to these struggling teams. However, the reality is that these rookies are facing several challenges in their development due to the overall weaknesses of their respective teams. While they have shown glimpses of potential, there is still a long way to go before they can truly become franchise cornerstones.

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