Everybody expects a lot out of top-notch prospects during their rookie seasons, although the most conservative fans and executive realize that it’s going to be a while before they’re able to actually impact the game and show their full potential.
Nonetheless, there have been a lot of young ballers that have peaked since day one and didn’t slow down since there, proving the world that they deserve a spot in basketball elite right out of the gate.
Over the course of history, there have been some historic performances by rookie players during their very first NBA game, and today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 rookie debuts ever.
10. Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard didn’t miss a beat during his first ever game as a professional, recording 23 points to go along with 11 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers, recording his first double-double ever en route to a Rookie of the Year campaign where he averaged 19 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists on 42% from the floor.
9. David Robinson
The Admiral proved that he was going to be a major stud for a very long time right out of the gate, logging quite a dominant double-double with 23 points and 17 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers, even recording a very strong block on Magic Johnson, also easily winning the Rookie of the Year with averages of 24.3 points, 12 boards and 3.9 blocks a contest.
8. Brandon Jennings
Brandon Jennings had made a lot of noise before even making his NBA debut after skipping college to spend one year overseas, and he definitely made a statement when he was finally able to make it to the Association, flirting with a triple-double while scoring 17 points, 9 assists and 9 rebounds for the Bucks against the Warriors, making the All-Rookie team that season with averages of 15.5 points and 5.7 dimes a game.
7. Allen Iverson
Everyone in the nation already knew what Allen Iverson was capable of, after all the attention and controversy that surrounded him prior to his NBA debut and well-known fame as a standout two-sport athlete.
Obviously, he was one of the most hyped ballers in the world at the time and he was extremely quick to show his offensive skill set, logging 30 points and 6 dimes, and winning the ROY after posting 23.5 points, 7.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
6. Isiah Thomas
The Babyface Assassin proved that he was going to own this league for a very, very long time ever since the first day he set foot on an NBA hardwood, recording a terrific debut with 31 points and 11 dimes against the Boston Celtics, and his season averages of 17 points, 7.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game granted him a spot in the 1981-82 All-Rookie squad, but the ROY eventually wind up in Buck Williams’ hands.
5. LeBron James
The kid from Akron was keen to strive for greatness and prove the world that he was going to make a case for the greatest player in the history of basketball, and it didn’t took him too long before showing glimpses of quite a promising NBA career.
During his debut, the young King recorded 25 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 steals against the Sacramento Kings, eventually winning the ROY with averages of 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.
4. Lamar Odom
Lamar Odom’s skillset was vastly impressive for a player his size, and it’s a great shame that he wasn’t able to live up to that kind of talents due to his self-destructive nature. Still, the former Laker posted a hell of a debut, with 30 points, 12 rebounds, a couple of steals and 2 blocks.
Also, he made the All-Rookie team with averages of almost 17 points, almost 8 boards and just over 4 assists per game, but the prize went to Elton Brand and Steve Francis.
3. Oscar Robertson
If anybody knew how to efficiently fill up the whole stat sheet, that was Oscar Robertson, and that’s exactly what he did from day one as a professional basketball player. During his debut, the Big O logged 21 points to go along with a dozen boards and 10 assists, starting the legend of Mr. Triple Double. Also, he won the Rookie of the Year after averaging 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and a league-leading 9.5 assists per game.
2. Michael Carter-Williams
We all thought Michael Carter-Williams was going to become a major stud, especially considering his terrific debut against LeBron James and the Miami Heat, when he flirted with a quadruple-double after logging 22 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds and 9 steals.
He also won the Rookie of the Year award during that season with averages of 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.3 dimes and 1.9 steals per game, but the lack of a jump shot, inconsistency and several injuries made his career took a major downfall from there.
1. Wilt Chamberlain
And the greatest debut ever has to go to Wilt Chamberlain, AKA The Big Dipper, after he completely torched his opposition from day one with a 43 point performance, rounding it up with 28 rebounds on an era where they didn’t even count blocks then.
Obviously, this dominating big man would go on to win the Rookie of the Year after posting absurd numbers of 37.6 points and 27 rebounds per game, leading the league in both points and boards throughout his rookie season.