Seventy-five first-year players were signed by NBA teams heading into the 2018-19 season, either on standard rookie deals or two-way G-League contracts. Fifty-five have logged minutes through the first five games (four in some cases) of the season. Several were day one starters including a few who lead their teams in points, rebounds or assists. Some are rotation players who have already or will be impacting teams and others have gotten minutes here and there but will continue to see their roles evolve over the course of the season.
Before diving into what we’ve seen from this group on the court so far though, I wanted to look at who they are collectively, where they came from and what differentiates them from rookies classes of past seasons.
Where are they from?
International born: 13 players / 11 countries
Australia (2), Germany (2), Bahamas, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Canada, France, Greece, Latvia, Nigeria, Slovenia, Ukraine
US born: 62 players / 27 states
North Carolina (7), California (6), Pennsylvania (5), Texas (5), Florida (4), Louisiana (3), Georgia (3), New York (3), Ohio (3), Missouri (2), Tennessee (2), Nevada (2), New Jersey (2), Arizona (2)
Where did they play before the NBA?
Colleges with 2+ players: Duke (6), Kentucky (5), Villanova (4), UCLA (3), Arizona (2), Cincinnati (2), Kansas (2), Maryland (2), Miami (2), Michigan State (2), USC (2)
Conference with 2+ players: ACC (14), Pac-12 (10), SEC (8), Big 12 (8), Big Ten (8), Big East (5), AAC (5), Missouri Valley (3), A-10 (2)
Pro International Leagues: 7
EuroLeague, Liga ACB (Spain), Basketball Bundesliga (Germany), LNB Pro A (France), Croatian League (Croatia), Lietuvos krepšinio lyga (Lithuania)
Average age: 21 years
Range: 19 to 29 years
Oldest player: Brad Wanamaker, Boston Celtics (29 yrs, 3 mos) — Wanamaker played at Pitt from 2007-2011 then spent eight seasons playing in Europe before the Celtics signed him to a one-year contract in July.
Youngest player: Jaren Jackson, Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (19 yrs, 1 mo) — Jackson was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in his one season at Michigan State. He was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 draft.
Second generation pros
Jalen Brunson: son of Rick Brunson (played 9 NBA seasons with 8 teams)
Jaren Jackson, Jr.: son of Jaren Jackson (played 9 NBA seasons with 9 teams)
Marvin Bagley III: grandson of ‘Jumpin’ Joe Caldwell (2x All-Star, played with three different NBA/ABA teams over a 12-year career); Marvin’s father, Marvin Bagley, Jr., played in the Arena Football League for the Arizona Rattlers
Wendell Carter, Jr.: son of Wendell Carter, Sr. who played professionally in Puerto Rico; WCJ Jr.’s mother, Lydia, also played collegiality at Ole Miss