Watching NBA rookies from week to week really shows you how difficult it is to play in this league.
The inconsistency is a part of growing up, so it’s fascinating to see a week like the one Donovan Mitchell just had. We’ll have more on him later, but Mitchell has answered the emergency siren the Jazz sounded with Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson all out of the lineup. If he wasn’t already before, Mitchell is now officially in the Rookie of the Year conversation.
On the other side of the coin you have Lonzo Ball, who’s taking a more traditional rookie path. From game to game, even quarter to quarter, Lonzo can look like two completely different basketball players. But the talent is there, and we get to see it come out in bursts from time to time.
And then every once in a while you get a rookie like Bam Adebayo, who comes out of nowhere when the opportunity for more minutes arises. Playing time can be scarce for guys on competitive teams, so seizing opportunities is vital to earning the coach’s trust.