This year’s off-season was one of the most exciting and polarizing in the league’s history. With Demarcus Cousins joining the juggernaut that is Golden State, James joining the Lakers and a battle between two of the most promising prospects in a while, this season was set to be a thriller. And it lived up to the expectations until now. However, one who is not is Trae Young, who the Atlanta Hawks got in a trade for Luka Doncic, the Slovenian phenom a lot of analysts poised to be the number one prospect this year. Doncic, on the other hand, is breathing new life into the Maverick’s attack and is bringing them closer to a .500 team, which is beyond the expectations for the otherwise modest roster. Let’s take a look at what we believe are the top three prospects this year and how they’re progressing so far.
Number 1 – Luka Doncic – Mavericks
Doncic is picking right back up where he left the Euro League and is setting the league on fire this year. The Mavs have won 7 of their last 10 games, and the young Slovenian player has played a huge role in it. While his assists numbers seem low compared to his Euro League numbers, this may mainly be due to him adapting his style to the pace of the NBA.
But one of the areas where he greatly improved was his shot from deep, which was concern at first. He’s shooting .396 from the arc right now, which wasn’t expected for the young player. He’s also putting up great rebound numbers this year, which is why the Mavericks have looked so good in transition lately. And he’s making the Mavs a huge favorite with online sports betting fans looking for favorable odds as well, as they’ve been looking a lot better since the turnaround, despite their record showing otherwise.
Number 2 – Deandre Ayton – Suns
While the Suns are dead last in the western conference, you certainly can’t put the blame on Ayton. He has been one of their more efficient players this year and has been averaging a double-double on their last three games, though they were in losses.
The number one pick also showed that he could stand toe to toe with some of the biggest matchups and even was able hold his own against Steven Adams, which is no small feat. He also added some play making abilities into his game and reached the 5-assist mark for the first time in his short NBA career this week. The Suns are trying to use Ayton as a playmaker and facilitator more given their struggle at the point. We can expect to see great things from Ayton as the season progresses and the big man starts getting into his own.
Number 3 – Jarren Jackson Jr – Grizzlies
The Grizzlies are a shocker this season with them being second only to the Warriors in the western conference. And Jackson has been developing a lot faster than many expected and is one of the reasons the Grizzlies are such a defensive force this year. He’s shooting much better from 3 as well, with him knocking down 4 out of 8 three point attempts this week.
These three prospects are definitely living up to the hype and should continue their progression throughout the year. Expect these rookies to gain more attention as the season goes and the wildcard picture starts to become clearer.