5 NBA Rookies Everyone Should Look Out For in 2022

Photo by John Locher/AP

Basketball is one of the most beloved sports in the world, with millions eagerly tuning in to the NBA every year to watch as new and old favorites dominate the court. With this year’s season quickly approaching, there’s lots of excitement about this year’s new league drafts.

Many of these players performed well in the Summer League with their respective teams and are already establishing themselves as players to watch. You can take a look at the Odds to Win NBA Finals here to find out more.

That being said, here are the 5 NBA rookies everyone should look out for in 2022.

1. Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic

Paolo Banchero made waves after being named ACC Rookie of the Year but hit further heights as the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic. 

The talented forward possesses many skills that separate him from other 2022 rookies. To start, he is extraordinarily smooth-running and well-tuned as a ball handler and has plenty of dribble moves in his repertoire that can easily get him out of tight spots.

He’s a talented passer who is also unafraid of attacking the basket. He is also a versatile and impactful defender with brilliant agility and an elite handle that emphasizes his dominance on the court.

Banchero’s mid-range game is a real threat to his opponents as he uses his body to create space and make contested shots. 

2. Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets

Another rookie to look out for in 2022 is Jabari Smith Jr., who was selected with the third pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

The Houston Rockets power forward is the son of Jabari Smith Sr., a former American professional basketball player, and is a modern version of him in every aspect.

With a 7-foot-2 wingspan, Smith can use his height to his advantage to score points on the offense. However, it is his major defensive potential that makes him a true asset to the Rockets.

He also has an impressive shooting ability that is a poignant selling point in his career. This, in combination with his impressive drive and meticulous playing approach, has made him an impressive force in the NBA at such a young age.

If this high level of play continues into his rookie season, there’s no doubt that he will achieve great things!

3. Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers

Another rookie to look out for is Indiana Pacers small forward Bennedict Mathurin. After an impressive sophomore season with the Arizona Wildcats, Mathurin became one of the top picks of the 2022 NBA Draft — picked sixth overall by the Pacers.

He’s one of the most talented three-point shooters in this year’s draft class and an explosive finisher who enjoys finishing at the rim with some force. He uses his instincts to create turnovers and deflect passes, even if he isn’t the main defender for that play.

All in all, Bennedict Mathurin is a valuable asset for a Pacers team who struggled from deep last season. Because his impressive skillset already complements the team, this upcoming season will give the Pacers the chance to rebuild.

4. Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons

Drafted 5th overall pick by the Detroit Pistons, Jaden Ivey’s lightning-quick speed, impressive basketball IQ, and general explosiveness make him one of the best prospects to enter the league this year. 

Whether it’s a quick two-dribbles to dunk or a nifty pass, this point guard looks great on offense when on the fast break. He has an athletic prowess that few players can match and a unique ability to drive or shoot with pace.

Ivey has long strides and a sound shooting form. When he is sprinting down the court, it doesn’t take long before he can release from behind the arc. He can also improvise if defenses collapse by locating shooters or cutters on the perimeter.

As a rookie, Jaden Ivey is a name to look out for this season.

5. Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings 

Keegan Murray was one of the best players in college basketball last season and was the 4th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft class. 

Generally, the combo forward is pretty well built for the NBA today and has a well-rounded game that allows him to plug into several lineups and systems. He has excellent mobility, a mesmerizing straight-line speed, and is also an explosive leaper which helps him on both sides of the ball.

He has an excellent offense and can easily find his spot down low, and is also very active on the defense. Murray is also a consistent and reliable shot-maker which, among the unpredictability of the Kings, will likely prove to be extremely useful.

He was named the NBA Summer League MVP in 2022, so we can assume his rookie season with the Kings will be nothing short of epic.


Each of these NBA rookies has the potential to find themselves at the top of the list for Rookie of the Year. With such new and exciting talent in the league, we can expect to see some fresh plays from their respective teams.

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