The Kia Rookie Ladder has seen its final update of the season from NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner and, while Portland Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe did not make his projected All-Rookie First Team or Second Team, the 19-year-old is first to be listed among honorable mentions.
All-Rookie First Team
Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder
Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz
Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers
Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings
All-Rookie Second Team
Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons
Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets
Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons
Andrew Nembhard, Indiana Pacers
Tari Eason, Houston Rockets
Honorable mentions: Shaedon Sharpe, Jeremy Sochan, Mark Williams, Malaki Branham, A.J. Griffin
Sharpe spent most of the season coming off the bench with a focus on learning. Mistakes were made early and often, leading Trail Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups to pull him from play on occasion. However, there was never a time when Sharpe was not electric, and that electricity only increased over time.
When the Trail Blazers officially unofficially entered tank mode and several injured starters remained out of action, Sharpe got the starting nod and produced like the organization hoped he would. Over the his last 10 games of the season, he averaged 23.7 points per game.
If sustained for a longer period of time, it is possible that Sharpe would be among expected All-Rookie players, however, for analysts like Aschburner, Sharpe’s late-season push was reasonably too little too late.
Still, it is nice to see Sharpe acknowledged in some way. Perhaps if the Trail Blazers were tanking all along, like the Pistons or Rockets (who each have two rookies listed above) and Sharpe saw more of the floor, we would be looking at a Second-Team selection here.
Regardless, we know that Sharpe is better than an honorable mention, and that’s good enough for fans going forward. Given what we witnessed this season – be it high-flying dunks, big-time blocks, or silky threes – there is a lot to look forward to in Sharpe’s sophomore season to come.