NBA: 3 rookies who have surpassed expectations, 2 that have fallen short

Looking back at how a few of the top prospects from the 2023 NBA Draft are performing during their rookie seasons.
2023 NBA Draft
2023 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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More than a quarter through the NBA regular season, we break down three rookies that have exceeded expectations and two that have fallen short.

There is so much, great, young talent all around the NBA today. It seems like almost every team has at least one young stud to build around. While the 2023 NBA draft was the sweepstakes for Victor Wembanyama (the most hyped incoming prospect since LeBron James), the class has had some very strong performers overall and it looks like this could be one of the sneakier, good NBA draft classes that we've had.

While Victor Wembanyama is off to a great start for his NBA career, it was to be expected, so you will not see him on this list. While other players like Brandon Miller, who was taken 2nd overall by the Charlotte Hornets, have played well enough to not have fallen short of expectations, yet haven't played well enough for us to say that he has usurped expectations as the 2nd pick.

With that, let's take a look at three rookies who have surpassed expectations and two who have fallen short.

NBA Rookies that have surpassed expectations

Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder (surpassed expectations)

Is it technically cheating to say that Chet Holmgren is a rookie who has surpassed expectations? I mean he isn't technically a rookie, he was drafted with the second overall pick in the NBA 2022 draft but missed the entire year with a foot injury. To add to that, he was the 2nd overall pick, so it's not like he wasn't supposed to be a good NBA player. But THIS good?

Solely looking at the glamour stats, Holmgren is checking the boxes: he averages 16.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, 2.8 BPG with a shooting split of 52.1/37.3/87.1 (FG%/3PT%/FT%). These are rockstar numbers for a rookie. Diving a little bit further into his impact on the game, according to StatMuse, the league average true shooting percentage is 59.9%. Chet Holmgren's true shooting percentage is 63.5%, almost four percentage points higher.

Another measurement of Holmgren's meteoric rise to stardom is his player efficiency rating. A player's PER is a measurement of their per-minute production, standardized such that the league average is 15. According to basketball reference, Chet's PER is 21.1 which is significantly higher than the league average.

Many NBA pundits will use PER as the singular measurement of a player's quality of play. If Holmgren continues playing like this, he has a chance to put together one of the most remarkable statistical NBA rookie seasons we have seen in quite some time.