2020 PBT Awards: All-Rookie

Coby White, Zion Williamson, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, R.J. Barrett, Ja Morant and De'Andre Hunter
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
0 Comments

The NBA regular season might be finished. Heck, the entire NBA season might be finished. Even if play resumes with regular-season games, there’d likely be an abridged finish before the playoffs (which will also likely be shortened).

So, we’re making our 2019-20 award picks now. If the regular season somehow lasts long enough to reconsider our choices, we’ll do that. But here are our selections on the assumption the regular season is over.

Kurt Helin

First team

Ja Morant, Grizzlies

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

Kendrick Nunn, Heat

Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies

Coby White, Bulls

Second team

RJ Barrett, Knicks

P.J. Washington, Hornets

Eric Paschall, Warriors

Rui Hachimura, Wizards

Terence Davis, Raptors

With most of the awards in our end-of-season series, I am comfortable with my picks. When the official NBA ballot come,s my Sixth Man, Rookie, and MVP picks likely will not change. All-Rookie team, however, I may keep changing around because picking the second team this season is challenging — there’s a lot of flawed young players at about the same level. I hated leaving off Matisse Thybulle and Tyler Herro. Michael Porter Jr. came on at the end but just didn’t play enough minutes this season to make the cut.

Dan Feldman

First team

Ja Morant, Grizzlies

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

Kendrick Nunn, Heat

Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies

Terence Davis, Raptors

Second team

Eric Paschall, Warriors

Rui Hachimura, Wizards

Matisse Thybulle, 76ers

P.J. Washington, Hornets

Coby White, Bulls

I had an easy cutoff for the first team – my top four for Rookie of the Year plus Terence Davis, who put his stamp on the Raptors even in a limited role.

By the final second team spot, I ran out of rookies I felt good about including. Coby White, Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. and Heat guard Tyler Herro had the brightest flashes but were also unreliable. Timberwolves guard Jordan McLaughlin came on too late. In over his head with the Knicks, RJ Barrett was too often destructive. Ultimately, I landed on White, who had just enough explosive performances and contributed just enough between.

Keith Smith

First team

Ja Morant, Grizzlies

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

Kendrick Nunn, Heat

Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies

RJ Barrett, Knicks

Second team

Rui Hachimura, Wizards

De’Andre Hunter, Hawks

Tyler Herro, Heat

Darius Garland, Cavaliers

Eric Paschall, Warriors

Normally, by the time you get to the All-Rookie second team, you’re searching a bit. Not this year. There were enough good players to fill at least three teams’ worth of slots. The first team is pretty much no-brainers. Ja Morant, Zion Williamson and Kendrick Nunn were the three best rookies by a decent margin. Brandon Clarke might have edged out Nunn, and maybe even Williamson, if he had played just a bit more. RJ Barrett might be far from a finished product, but he produced solid all-around numbers.

The second team was a little tougher, but only because of the players who were omitted. Rui Hachimura was a clear pick, and he could have beat out Barrett for first-team honors. De’Andre Hunter was more quietly solid and consistent than most realize. Tyler Herro and

Darius Garland came in and immediately assumed scoring and playmaking roles for their teams, albeit in different competitive environments. Eric Paschall made the most of the Warriors’ injuries and snagged a role for himself with very good play all season. The toughest omissions were P.J. Washington, Terence Davis and Coby White. Washington could have made it, as he had a nice year for Charlotte. Davis just didn’t play enough, but his shooting numbers are great for a rookie. And for White it was a “too little, too late” sort of deal. But he might be the best of the non-Ja/Zion group when all is said and done.