The NBA is as packed with talent as ever, with players' longevity improving thanks to advancements in sports science and individualized nutrition plans.
Another part of what is making the NBA stronger is that big data analysis techniques are being used to enable NBA franchise scouts to look even further than ever before for those players that could become the next Kobe or LeBron.
Here we take a look at the league's freshest faces to see which rookies are taking to the big leagues like ducks to water and which ones are struggling to find their feet on the NBA's red hot parquet.
Scottie Barnes – Toronto Raptors
Raptors fans still dream of that night in 2019 when they defied the betting odds and tipsters to take down their maiden NBA Championship title in the most dramatic of circumstances. Since then, some of their stars jumped ship, and those same fans were left wondering if that fleeting high had been just a one-off, and they would be back to see their franchise omitted from the online NBA betting guide due to being an unviable team to back. Thankfully for such fans and Torontonian sports bettors, there is hope in the form of standout rookie performers like Scottie Barnes. He has already shown during his short time in the NBA that he can compete comfortably against the likes of Kevin Durant.
Not only is Barnes a menace on the defensive side of the floor, but he is also a scoring threat, having upped his three-pointer output throughout the 2021 season thus far. As long as factors beyond his control do not hold him back too much, there is no doubt he could become a top 10 player in the NBA in the not-too-distant future.
Alperen Şengün – Houston Rockets
It's always exciting to see a huge talent come out of a part of the world that most NBA fans have never heard of, let alone been to visit, and so Turkey's Alperen Şengün has been a welcome addition to the Houston Rockets roster. It is not just his mystique that sets this center apart. He has all the moves in the post and only trails two or three of the league's elite players when operating in that position. The only thing holding him back appears to be his over-eagerness in defense, as he continues to give away too many fouls for Stephen Silas' liking. However, as soon as he rectifies that part of his game, he will become one of the hottest tickets in the NBA. As far as some Rockets fans are concerned, he already is.
Davion Mitchell – Sacramento Kings
Sometimes a struggling franchise doesn't need flashy dunks and showy fadeaways, but instead some true blood and guts defending to give themselves a shot of winning games both at home and out on the long and challenging NBA road. In this regard, Davion Mitchell perfectly fits the bill for the limping Sacramento Kings. His energy and verve on defense have so often kept opponents at bay this season and have allowed the Kings to at least get a respectable amount of wins on the board in the Western Conference. Kings fans will hope Mitchell can now hone his relationship with Tyrese Haliburton and De'Aaron Fox.