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Five NBA rookies most likely to outperform this season

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Alperen Sengun's sweet nutmeg pass catches Jalen Green by surprise (0:17)

Alperen Sengun sends a pass between the defender's legs, but Jalen Green catches it while he's out of bounds. (0:17)

Every season there are rookies outside the top 10 who contribute in a much bigger way than what their draft slots might indicate. Last season, Tyrese Haliburton (No. 12), Isaiah Stewart (No. 16), Saddiq Bey (No. 19), Immanuel Quickley (No. 25) and Desmond Bane (No. 30) headlined the group. Some undervalued players emerge as superstars, like Donovan Mitchell (No. 13 in 2017), Devin Booker (No. 13 in 2015) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (No. 13 in 2013), further proving how inexact a science the draft process can be.

Is there a superstar lurking outside of the top of this year's draft? Here's a look at five players drafted outside the top 10 who could have the biggest rookie impact, along with a few additional players with the tools to emerge as early contributors if playing time opens up.


Alperen Sengun | 6-10 | PF/C | Houston Rockets

Draft pick: No. 16

If his summer league play is any indication, I'd expect Sengun to be one of the most productive rookies in the NBA this season. Sengun has the perfect combination of opportunity and NBA-ready skill to be a dark horse Rookie of the Year candidate. The Turkish big man averaged an impressive 23.3 points, 17.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 4.8 blocks and 2.0 steals per 40 minutes in Vegas while knocking down 38% of his 3s. Although just 19 years old, the 6-foot-10 Sengun has 56 Turkish league games and considerable senior national team experience to lean on as he transitions to the NBA.