Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
With the 2022-23 season months away, NBA rookies are working hard to prepare for their first year in professional basketball and the pressure that comes with playing at the highest level.
Fans and media are giving this year’s rookie class intense hype, which is reasonable given the incredible talent of the players. While the Summer League Tour provided these NBA rookies with a brief opportunity to prove themselves, there’s still a long way to go. Even after training camp and the regular season, many of these first-year players will be propelled into top roles or play for contenders.
In the past, we’ve seen rookies rise to the challenges offered to them at the pros. While some succeeded, others failed to overcome the pressure of the league. With that, here are three rookies with the most pressure.
Related: NBA Mock Draft – Top Prospects, Top Landing Spots
Jalen Duren’s back-to-back trades should spur him to have a monster rookie season
The 2022 NBA Draft provided a unique experience for Jalen Duren. The former Memphis Tigers big man was initially selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets. Before he could really celebrate, his draft rights were sent to the New York Knicks. Suddenly, minutes after hearing this news, he was dealt to the Detroit Pistons.
Duren hasn’t played a single game in the NBA, but he has already been traded twice in one night. As crazy as it sounds, I believe Duren is in a better situation with Detroit’s young core.
Related: 50 Best NBA Players of 2022 – Stephen Curry Leads the Charge After Brilliant Season
The young defensive big can prove to the Hornets and Knicks how they missed him. Duren is a promising young big who can provide a ton of defensive firepower for the Pistons. I think Duren will have a season that will make the Hornets and Knicks regret.
Miami Heat’s Nikola Jovic should live up to his hype
Coming into this year’s draft, Nikola Jovic was one of the players that was talked about. The hype surrounding Jovic when he was in Europe continued in the United States. Before being drafted, he was often compared to other European stars, including his compatriot, Nikola Jokic.
He fell late in the first round, where most mock drafts had him. Jovic is an incredible attacking talent. Standing at 6ft 10in, Jovic’s ability to stretch the defense is invaluable. However, he lacks the defensive skills to keep his man in front of him. The Heat are a defensive-minded team, and they will demand that Jovic be able to hold his own on defense.
Jovic’s defensive shortcomings early on could prevent him from seeing regular minutes, just like Duncan Robinson. During their 2022 playoff series, Robinson saw a very limited run due to his defensive incompetence. For Jovic to see more action on the pitch, he needs to be a better team defender.
Quarrel out of season puts extra pressure on Paolo Banchero
The NBA offseason is wild. This year, an off-season beef between Paolo Banchero and Dejounte Murray has become a big topic among NBA fans. Drafted No. 1 overall by the Orlando Magic, Banchero was already going to be among the NBA rookies facing the most pressure. Now it’s amplified because of a recent beef with Dejounte Murray.
Related: 3 NBA rookies who could surprise in 2022
Like everyone else, I didn’t see it coming. According to Murray, this is because Banchero was “flexing” the fact that he was the first choice.
No one knows the full story, but this new Seattle native rivalry has gotten a ton of attention from everyone. Banchero already has enough pressure to be the No. 1 pick, and now he has to face a former All-Star who is in the same division. They will face each other more than once this season, everyone counts on it to be intense.