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The Best Starts To An NBA Career

With Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren putting together solid starts to their rookie years, we thought we’d look at the best starts to an NBA career (over their first 14 games).

Analyzing and ranking the best starts over 14 games in NBA history by a rookie requires a thorough examination of various statistical aspects such as scoring, efficiency, and overall game impact. This data set features some of the NBA’s legendary and promising players like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Zion Williamson, Allen Iverson, and others. Here’s a detailed analysis and ranking of these performances:

1. Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)

  • Points: 381
  • Efficiency: 49.5% FG, 84.3% FT
  • Rebounds: 84, Assists: 59, Steals: 40, Blocks: 26
  • Game Score: 20.9
  • Impact: Michael Jordan’s start was nothing short of spectacular. He displayed an exceptional blend of scoring, defensive prowess, and athleticism. Jordan’s ability to impact the game in multiple facets right from the start of his career laid the foundation for his legendary status in the NBA.

2. Shaquille O’Neal (Orlando Magic)

  • Points: 312
  • Efficiency: 51.3% FG
  • Rebounds: 209, Blocks: 50
  • Game Score: 17.4
  • Impact: Shaquille O’Neal immediately established himself as a dominant force in the paint. His rebounding and shot-blocking were unmatched, showcasing his potential to become one of the greatest centers in NBA history.

3. Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)

  • Points: 327
  • Efficiency: 58.1% FG
  • Rebounds: 95
  • Game Score: 17.7
  • Impact: Zion Williamson exploded onto the NBA scene with his remarkable efficiency and athleticism. His high-flying dunks and ability to dominate games underscored a bright future ahead.

4. Allen Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers)

  • Points: 323
  • Assists: 99
  • Steals: 34
  • Game Score: 15.5
  • Impact: Known for his scoring and playmaking, Allen Iverson also displayed impressive defensive skills. His quickness and aggressive style of play were evident from his early games, setting the tone for a remarkable career.

5. Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks)

  • Points: 318
  • Efficiency: 44.5% FG, 47.7% 3PT
  • Assists: 79
  • Game Score: 15.0
  • Impact: Brandon Jennings showcased impressive scoring and playmaking abilities, particularly notable for his three-point shooting. His early games hinted at his potential to be a significant offensive threat in the league.

6. Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic)

  • Points: 320
  • Rebounds: 100
  • Assists: 49
  • Game Score: 15.4
  • Impact: Paolo Banchero demonstrated a versatile game, excelling in scoring, rebounding, and facilitating. His all-around skills hinted at his potential to be a multifaceted player in the NBA.

7. Terry Cummings (San Diego Clippers)

  • Points: 343
  • Efficiency: 52.5% FG
  • Rebounds: 137
  • Game Score: 11.0
  • Impact: Terry Cummings had an impressive start with robust scoring and rebounding. His performance as a rookie set a strong foundation for a productive NBA career.

8. Mark Aguirre (Dallas Mavericks)

  • Points: 315
  • Rebounds: 76
  • Game Score: 6.7
  • Impact: Mark Aguirre showed his scoring abilities early on. Although his other statistical contributions were less pronounced, his scoring talent was clear from the beginning of his career.

9. Darrell Griffith (Utah Jazz)

  • Points: 313
  • Efficiency: 48.8% FG
  • Game Score: 2.8
  • Impact: Darrell Griffith had a solid start as a scorer, but his overall impact on the game was comparatively lower. His early career highlighted his potential as a reliable scorer in the league.

Each of these players brought unique skills and talents to their teams, leaving a significant mark on the NBA from their rookie seasons. This ranking, based on a comprehensive view of each player’s early performance, reflects not just their scoring ability but also their efficiency, rebounding, assists, and defensive contributions. Michael Jordan leads this list, exemplifying his all-around excellence from the onset of his illustrious career.

Listicled Staff
Listicled Staff
Listicled staff covers everything from sports to entertainment, politics to parenting, and everything in-between.

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