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Stepping Up

October 15, 2018 AT 12:00 AM

Contributing in the postseason is a daunting task for most young players, but these rookies have shown that they are unfazed by the challenge

Most rookies take some time to adapt to the rigor and schedule of the NBA, and often see minute restrictions in their first year. These growing pains are a part of every regular season, but tend to exemplify in the playoffs due to a general lack of big-stage experience. For these rookies though, the postseason has been their playground as they managed to take their game up a notch.

Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers): The Australian led his team on a huge run to finish the regular season and has continued his fine form with Joel Embiid’s return. Establishing himself as a player to watch in the League for the coming decade, Simmons is determined to carry the Sixers along as far as he can, dropping a historic rookie triple-double performance along the way.

Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz): The explosive guard has been on a scoring tear in the playoffs, showing no sign of rookie fatigue or nerves as he cements his place as a franchise player for the Jazz. Throughout the season, Mitchell has shown that he already belongs among the top backcourt players in the NBA with his two-way play.

Zach Collins (Portland Trail Blazers): Despite the Portland Trail Blazers’ early exit, they may have unearthed a gem. His regular season play has been inconsistent, but Zach Collins has stepped right up in the playoffs to replace Jusuf Nurkic on defensive duty against the otherworldly play of Anthony Davis. The 7-footer out of Gonzaga showed the ability to hold his own and even managed to knock down some perimeter shots to help stretch the defense. 

OG Anunoby (Toronto Raptors): The 6-foot-8 swingman has been a defensive force for Toronto, while being assigned to guard the smaller and quicker Bradley Beal. Anunoby has taken the usually-dependable Beal off his game with his length, quickness and anticipation. At the same time, he has also been on fire from deep, spreading the floor for his team with his efficient three-point shooting.

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