10 NBA Rookies Who Will Thrive This Season And 10 Who Will Struggle

With the NBA Draft being over a month ago, and the summer league giving us some glimpses of this draft class, fans can now think of how the players will fare in the pros. This draft could end up having a huge impact on how the league plays out in a couple of years, as some of the guys selected in this year's draft are going to be absolute superstars. As of right now, each NBA franchise is excited and feeling optimistic about the young players they selected, however, once the season begins, we will really be able to see which rookies are able to produce right out of the gate, and which rookies will struggle in their debut season. These predictions will be based on the player themselves such as needing to add more weight to bang with NBA bodies night in and night out, and the team they were drafted to as well.

We will be looking at 10 NBA rookies who will thrive for their new team this upcoming season, and we will look at the other end of it with 10 rookies who will struggle for their new team. All of these guys are incredibly young, so their first season is not a guarantee of how their career will go in the slightest.

As always, feel free to leave any comments you have on this article in the comment section, as we would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Here are 10 NBA rookies who will thrive this NBA season and 10 who will struggle.


20 Thrive: Deandre Ayton - Phoenix Suns

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The Suns had a gaping hole at the center position that they wanted to fill with their number 1 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft. Despite this draft class having excellent big man talent, they went with Deandre Ayton from Arizona, which will prove to be the right selection in our opinion. He is going to come in with a bang in Phoenix alongside all of their young players there, and will certainly be the favorite for winning rookie of the year considering his talent and the situation he is going into. His play in the summer league so far has only reinforced just how gifted he is offensively. Fans in Phoenix should be excited.

19 Struggle: Jaren Jackson Jr. - Memphis Grizzlies

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It was a surprise to fans around the league when the Memphis Grizzlies selected Jaren Jackson Jr. with the 4th pick in the draft.

The Grizzlies drafting Jackson was a surprise, because he had made it clear he didn't want to get drafted by the franchise, as he didn't give the team his medicals while they were scouting him a week earlier.

Also, the Grizzlies already have a very talented center in Marc Gasol, and we don't see Jaren Jackson Jr. making too much noise in his first season, maybe even making noise in Memphis at all honestly, as he may want to take his young talent elsewhere when the time is right.

18 Thrive: Collin Sexton - Cleveland Cavaliers

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Collin Sexton was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 8th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. This pick was interesting to many fans around the league, due to the fact the franchise wasn't yet sure of what LeBron James' plans were. Now that LeBron is out of Cleveland, the Cavs will be looking to their young players to carry them next year. While they won't see much success as a team, Sexton should be able to put up excellent numbers. Sexton is an excellent young point-guard, and the Cavs will end up needing his services this summer considering LeBron is gone.

17 Struggle: Miles Bridges - Charlotte Hornets

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Miles Bridges was one of the more talented players in college last season, but his ceiling is certainly not as high as some of the other players selected in this draft. The Clippers selected him with the 12th pick in the draft, only to subsequently trade him to the Hornets.

Miles Bridges most likely won't be an all-star player during his career, but he could end up being a serviceable scorer.

It will most likely take him a few seasons to find his stride, which is why he will struggle with his first season with the Charlotte Hornets. Will Kemba Walker be in Charlotte to help him?

16 Thrive: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - Los Angeles Clippers

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The Clippers may have made the biggest splash in the 2018 NBA Draft, as they were able to select two rookies in the lottery portion to every other team's one selection. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was selected with the 11th pick by Charlotte, only to be traded to the Clippers in the Miles Bridges deal. It will prove to be beneficial for Gilgeous-Alexander, as he will most likely serve as the team's starting point-guard due to how thin the Clippers are at the guard position. Alexander will have a great year for the Clippers, as they look to rebuild from their Lob City days a few seasons back.

15 Struggle: Luka Doncic - Dallas Mavericks

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Luka Doncic was one of, if not the, most hyped player to ever come out of the European game of basketball. He was a dominant player in the top Euro league as an 18-year-old kid, and he has been playing professionally for Real Madrid since he was 13 years old. He is now playing for the Dallas Mavericks after being drafted by Atlanta with the 3rd pick, then being traded to Dallas, but this first season could be bumpier than people expect. He could end up being a top player in this league in a few seasons, but his first season will be a struggle as he tries to transition from EuroLeague players to NBA talent.

14 Thrive: Trae Young - Atlanta Hawks

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The Hawks believed they had their point-guard for the future with Dennis Schroeder before news came out that he wanted to be traded. With that news, the Hawks wanted to get themselves a guard from the draft, and after drafting Doncic, swapped picks with Dallas to end up getting Trae Young.

Young was the most dominant player in college basketball last season as he led the NCAA in scoring and assists.

Young will take the reigns on a young Hawks team, and could end up putting up incredible numbers in his rookie season as he is not afraid to let it fly.

13 Struggle: Zhaire Smith - Philadelphia 76ers

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Zhaire Smith was selected by the Suns but traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. He had a better chance of having a successful rookie season with a struggling team like the Suns, however he is now going to be in a minute struggle among the 76ers as they already have excellent young players and are expected to contend for a spot in the NBA Finals with their core as it is. Smith will most likely show flashes of being a good player as a rookie, but the small minutes he get will end up hurting his numbers in his first season.

12 Thrive: Marvin Bagley Jr. - Sacramento Kings

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The Kings really wanted to add a big man to their young team to pair up with De'Aaron Fox. Marvin Bagley Jr. of Duke turned out to be that guy, as he was selected with the 2nd pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Fans were surprised to see Doncic slip down to third, but Bagley is going to a good situation. Bagley is going to get plenty of minutes to show what he has with Sacramento this season, and he is going to be a front-runner for rookie of the year. Bagley could end up being one of the most dominant players in the league in just a few seasons.

11 Struggle: Troy Brown Jr. - Washington Wizards

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The Wizards should have swung for the fences with their 15th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft in order to hopefully have this pick turn into a star player.

Troy Brown Jr. was the wrong pick for them, as they already have enough wing players and adding him to fold is why he is going to struggle.

He can do it all but his game doesn't stand out as spectacular, and he will end up struggling during his first season with the Washington Wizards. The team won't have much room to squeeze him into the starting lineup on a consistent basis, and he likely won't make much of an impact.

10 Thrive: Mikal Bridges - Phoenix Suns

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Unlike a lot of the other top picks, Mikal Bridges played multiple seasons in college with Villanova, and even won multiple national championships. Mikal Bridges was selected by the 76ers with the 10th pick in the draft, and while he would have flourished there (and would've been a fan favorite as a hometown boy), he was traded to the Suns.

Bridges will still thrive with the Suns this season, as he is older than some of the young players on that team who have been drafted years ago. Bridges is going to be an instant leader on the Suns and him being traded there may end up being a blessing in disguise.

9 Struggle: Donte DiVincenzo - Milwaukee Bucks

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Another Villanova product, Donte DiVincenzo was drafted with the 16th pick by the Milwaukee Bucks. Donte made headlines after scoring over 30 points in the National Championship game as he and the Wildcats took home the trophy. He also showed incredible athleticism at the NBA Draft combine.

Despite all of this, Donte will struggle his first season with the Milwaukee Bucks. He will be given time to produce, but we won't see Donte show his true talent for at least a few more seasons. The Bucks will be looking to take a step forward after a solid 2017-18 season, but DiVincenzo won't be ready to be a major contributor.

8 Thrive: Mohamed Bamba - Orlando Magic

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Mohamed Bamba is going to be the centerpiece for the future of Magic basketball due to his immense talent and high ceiling.

He will most likely start for the Magic if Orlando understands their best move would to be trading guys like Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier for picks or young players.

Bamba is a huge presence on the court, and we will see him progress throughout the season as he continues to master his raw talents. He gets to enter a no pressure situation in Orlando and he should get every opportunity from the get-go. Orlando will just have to stay the course.

7 Struggle: Wendell Carter Jr. - Chicago Bulls

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The Bulls are already well manned in the front-court with young guys such as Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis. While it is not completely outrageous that they selected forward Wendell Carter Jr. from Duke, he is not going to have the impact his first season like some of his other fellow top ten draft selections. He was a solid defender in college, but still has a long way to go before he is a reliable every night guy for the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are still in a rebuilding stage and likely won't give their fans much excitement over the next couple of seasons.

6 Thrive: Lonnie Walker IV - San Antonio Spurs

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Lonnie Walker IV was a talented scorer at Miami last season and scouts loved what he brought to the game in the NCAA. The Spurs liked what they saw of course, as they ended up picking him with the 18th selection. Spurs draft selections have a track record of being good players upon entering the league, and I don't believe this will be any different with young Walker. His first season in the league will be a good one, as the Spurs try to move on from their reign of championship contending for the last two decades. If Kawhi Leonard is traded, that may open up even more playing opportunities for Walker.

5 Struggle: Kevin Knox - New York Knicks

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Kevin Knox was the youngest player available in the draft, and the Knicks ended up selecting him with the 9th overall pick. This was a good pick by New York, however, Knox's first season in the league won't be anything special.

Booed when he walked across the stage by Knicks fans, Knox will have to adjust to the New York lifestyle quickly, and that could have an affect on his young game.

Knox will be a very good player in a few seasons, but he will struggle for New York this season as he tries to find his footing.

4 Thrive: Jerome Robinson - Los Angeles Clippers

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Jerome Robinson from Boston College was one of the more low-key names of the draft, but he ended up slipping into the lottery as the Clippers selected him with the 13th overall pick. The Clippers wanted to pair him up with other rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and it will end up being a nice young match for the 2018-19 NBA season. Robinson will be given a longer leash than a lot of these rookies, and that will help him a lot as he tries to develop his game on the Clippers this upcoming season, as they will most likely be one of the worst teams in the league.

3 Struggle: Michael Porter Jr. - Denver Nuggets

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Watching Michael Porter Jr. slip all the way to the 14th pick was interesting to watch, however, it shoes that something else is up with the young player as he was expecting to be drafting somewhere from 1-5. A back injury ruined his lone season at Mizzou, and it is yet to be known if he will play for the Nuggets this season. I believe he will get some minutes off the bench for the team, but it will be sparse and he will have trouble getting his shot going. The Nuggets knew drafting him that he may need some development for the next few seasons, and his first season will have NBA teams feeling good about passing him up, for now.

2 Thrive: Kevin Huerter - Atlanta Hawks

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A two year player from the University of Maryland, Kevin Huerter was expected to be a first round selection due to his scoring abilities in the college game.

A knockdown shooter, Kevin will be given plenty of opportunities to let it fly for the Hawks this season, as they are looking for young players to step up in their rebuild.

There isn't much pressure on Huerter other than to hit his shots and play his game, and I believe Kevin will have a great first season on the Hawks. With the way the game is played today, Huerter will do just fine.

1 Struggle: Grayson Allen - Utah Jazz

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It could end up being a rough season for Grayson Allen, as he will realizes the NBA game is much different than the NCAA. Grayson was a well known star on Duke for both good and bad reasons, and there will be eyes on him as he tries to make a name for himself on the Jazz.

The Jazz already feel they have a solid squad as they made a bit of a run in the west last season, and Allen will have to shown a lot of production in order to get real minutes on the team. You can expect Allen to play in some garbage minutes, as I don't know if he's ready to make a impact in his first season as he still has some growing up to do.

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