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The definitive All-Rookie teams of the 2019-2020 season

I guess it’s time to start talking about the postseason awards now, no?

Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Every time an NBA player tests positive for coronavirus, the chances that we see another Charlotte Hornets basketball game this season dwindle further and further. That’s okay, though. We smile through the pain. Plus, we can always hold on to the sliver of hope that things go back to normal in time for the Hornets to play a few games before the playoffs start. The rumor is that NBA owners want to salvage this season “no matter what,” so anything can happen I guess.

In the meantime, it is our job at At the Hive to deliver Hornets content even with no games to cover. I’m confident that it won’t be hard to keep ourselves occupied between draft talk, postseason awards, free-agency, and the ever-evolving situation with the ending of the season. To start, here is what the 2019-2020 All-Rookie teams would look like if my vote counted for anything, featuring two of our beloved young Hornets.

DISCLAIMER: You will notice that Zion Williamson is not present on either team. That would be because he only played in 19 games, far less than 25% of the season and that’s my baseline requirement to make these teams. He wouldn’t be eligible for Rookie of the Year, either. For him to make this team would discount the hard work and effort that another player put in for two-to-three times the amount of games and practices as Zion did. He got hurt, it’s nobody’s fault, he’s fine and he’ll win plenty more awards in his career.

G - Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant is the clear and obvious Rookie of the Year after being selected second overall in the 2019 draft by the Memphis Grizzlies, so by default he is a first-teamer. We’ve all seen the highlights by now, and they are spectacular. He plays with a fearlessness that can only be rivaled by Russell Westbrook. His ball-handling and control is advanced for a 20-year-old. He will dunk on you. He will bury a step-back 3-pointer in your eyeball. He averaged 17.6 points and 6.9 assists per game on 49.1% shooting from the floor. Memphis has its point guard of the future.

G - Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers

A lot of people clowned the Cavaliers after they picked a point guard in the lottery for the second year in a row, but the two-point guard lineup of Collin Sexton and Garland worked out okay. They were able to find a good balance at times where Sexton acted as more of the shooting guard while Garland ran the point and defended the smallest player on the floor. Garland shot 35.5% 3PT on 5.0 attempts and averaged 12.3 points and 3.9 assists per game. The long-term viability of Cleveland’s backcourt, but it worked well enough for Garland to have one of the better seasons of any rookie.

G - Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat

I’d rather not give Kendrick Nunn any sort of award because of what he did at Illinois. He doesn’t get the typical “undrafted rookie” praise because he went undrafted for character issues. Most NBA teams knew he was capable of putting up numbers. But, Nunn did start all 62 games that he played in, averaging 15.6 points per game shooting 36.2% from long-distance. His efficiency is solid, and for more of a scoring guard than a lead guard, he distributes the ball well without turning it over. He’s better-suited as a bench scorer than starting point guard long-term, though, especially on a team that is trying to compete.

F - Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies

A model of efficiency, Brandon Clarke averaged 12.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game shooting 62.3% from the field, 78.5% from the free-throw line and 40.4% from beyond the arc. It was a miracle that Clarke lasted until the 21st pick in the 2019 draft, and that has become even more apparent as time passes. Clarke is poised to be one of the best players from the draft and carve out a long career as a hyper-efficient role player in Memphis’ front court.

F - PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets

Let’s go PJ! Fifth among all rookies in total minutes played with 1759, he put up 12.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game shooting 45.5% FG and 37.5% 3PT. He and Miles Bridges are set in stone as the team’s forwards of the future, and PJ showed flashes of ability to play some small-ball center. Not many people liked the pick at time, and his missing Summer League didn’t help his cause, but cases like PJ’s humbly reminds us why we are fans on our couches and Mitch Kupchak gets paid the big bucks to make decisions for the Hornets. With floor-spacing, gritty rebounding and switchable perimeter defensive ability, PJ is going to be a big part of the future in Charlotte.

2019-2020 All-Rookie second team

G - Coby White, Chicago Bulls

It was tempting to put Coby White on the first-team due to his end-of-season rise, but his efficiency and overall production lacks in comparison to Garland’s. He did score 13.2 points, grab 3.5 rebounds and dish out 2.7 assists per game in a reserve role. His 39.4% FG/35.4% 3PT /79.1% FT shooting splits aren’t great, nor is his 50.6 TS% and he has a -0.3 VORP. Advanced stats don’t paint a nice picture of White as a rookie, but it’s clear the Bulls have a productive scorer in the future in him.

G - Terence Davis, Toronto Raptors

The Raptors found three productive players on the undrafted free agent market; Oshae Brissett, Matt Thomas, and Terence Davis, whose per-game numbers aren’t eye-popping but his impact on Toronto’s season definitely was. He had three 20-point games and one 31-point game between Jan. 8 and Feb. 8, and was a key figure off the bench for the Raptors throughout the season. He shot 39.6% 3PT and legitimately kept them in games with his scoring and guard defense at times. Not often can you say that about an undrafted rookie.

F - RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

The lows were very low, but the highs were high enough to warrant Barrett being one of the 10 best rookies of the season. Barrett is a model of inefficiency; he slashed 40.2% FG/32.0% 3PT/61.4% FT and had -0.5 win shares, a -4.3 BPM, and a -1.0 VORP. His TS% was 47.9 while his usage rate was 24%. Still, though, he hit the 20-point mark 13 times and averaged 14.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. There’s something to build on.

F - Eric Paschall, Golden State Warriors

The second-round pick out of Villanova played huge minutes for the Golden State Warriors in their single-season rebuild, thanks in part to Draymond Green only participating in 43 games and averaging 28.4 minutes played. Eric Paschall’s 14.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 49.1% shooting from the field cannot be discounted, though. He is a forceful player on the interior with the touch, speed and coordination to stretch his game out to the perimeter. Golden State has a really solid piece for the future in Paschall.

F - De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks

De’Andre Hunter played 2,018 total minutes in 2019-2020 — nearly 2,000 more than any other rookie — and averaged 32.0 minutes per game. Needless to say, Lloyd Pierce and the Atlanta Hawks let Hunter have ample opportunity to grow. It became clear pretty early on that Hunter lacks the upside that most other top-5 draft picks have, but he still seems to be a good role player. He averaged 12.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists while hitting 35.5% of his long-range shots.

Honorable Mention

G - Tyler Herro, Miami Heat

Tyler Herro is going to make a lot of 3-pointers in this league. He may not ever be a great defender, but he was much less of a negative on that end than anticipated as a rookie. He was limited to 47 games with an ankle injury, but still averaged 12.9 points and 4.0 rebounds shooting 39.1% on 5.4 attempts per game from long-range. With Nunn, Herro, Duncan Robinson, Chris Silva, and most of all Bam Adebayo, Miami has a really nice young core in place around Jimmy Butler.

F - Cody Martin, Charlotte Hornets

Here’s a fun stat: Cody Martin was fourth among all rookies with a 0.37 PIPM (player impact plus-minus) last season behind Zion Williamson, Brandon Clarke and Terence Davis. Not too shabby. His shooting splits were 43.4% FG/23.4% 3PT/64.6% FT, so it’s clear that his offensive game in the half court needs a ton of work. As a rookie, he showed ability to fill the lane and handle the ball in transition, some sneaky athleticism, and tenacious defense both on and off-ball despite the middling statistical profile. Charlotte has made some solid second-round draft choices as of late. Keep hitting singles and eventually the runs start to score.

F - Grant Williams, Boston Celtics

Much like Cody Martin, Charlotte native and Providence Day School alum Grant Williams does not have an impressive stat profile, but his impact on the court is felt nonetheless. Despite missing the first 25 3-pointers of his career, he worked his way back up to a smooth 24.7% 3PT. He did average 8.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals per 36 minutes, though. He sets hard screens and battles for rebounds with players much larger than his 6’ 6” self. In some ways, he’s Boston’s younger, taller, bulkier version of Marcus Smart. I think he’ll be getting considerably more minutes for them next season.

Let me know what you guys think about this, and what you All-Rookie teams would look like if you got to pick. I know I left Matisse Thybulle off of these teams, but his presence on Tik Tok is too much for me to give him an award. I needed to take a stand somehow. He’s good, though.