The Raptors rookie Norman Powell ended the month of April with a bang, 30 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in Toronto’s 103-96 win over Brooklyn. He shot 5-6 from three-point range and 12-18 from the field as he led the Raptors in scoring to win number 56 on the season. This game was just the exclamation point on 17 straight starts for the rookie. If Powell doesn’t win the NBA Rookie of the Month for April in the Eastern Conference, something has gone very wrong.
Powell has never been on anyone’s NBA Rookie Ladder and until the middle of March, he really hadn’t played enough minutes to gain much attention outside of Toronto. However, Powell has started every game since then with the Raptors and in April, he’s continued to play the tough defense that got him into head coach Dwane Casey’s rotation and he’s been shooting the lights out from everywhere on the court.
The 22-year-old guard has made a big impression. He played in all eight of his team’s games this month as the Raptors went 6-2 while Casey kept giving his two All-Stars and other players in the regular rotation chances to rest before the playoffs. Taking advantage of his opportunities, Powell averaged 31.7 minutes in April, 15.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals while shooting 54.8 percent from the field and 53.6 percent from three-point range. He did this while playing in three sets of back-to-back games over the last two weeks.
Powell was second in minutes played (254) among Eastern Conference rookies in April, first in field goals attempted (73) and made (40), first in three-point shots made (15), first in free throws attempted (35) and made (27), fourth in assists (20) and second in steals (11). His 122 points scored was 35 more than the next closest rookie and his 15.3 points per game was first as well. The Raptors were a plus 37 points with Powell on the court in April, the second best plus/minus total among Eastern Conference rookies.
Eventually, Casey might have to stop calling Powell’s scoring gravy.