Five rookies to watch in the NBA Eastern Conference

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Newsday's Al Iannazzone looks at five rookies to watch in the Eastern Conference for the 2017-18 NBA season.

Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

At 6-foot-10, he's a matchup nightmare. The 2016
(Credit: AP / Julie Jacobson)

At 6-foot-10, he's a matchup nightmare. The 2016 No. 1 overall pick is a point guard in a big man's body. Simmons, who missed all of last season with a foot injury, showed great vision and passing ability in the preseason. If he stays healthy, the Sixers could have a star in the making.

Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers

The 2017 No. 1 overall pick is more
(Credit: Getty Images / Abbie Parr)

The 2017 No. 1 overall pick is more of a scoring point guard. So he will play shooting guard when Simmons is on the floor and point when he's not. Fultz is strong and can get to the basket, but he needs to fix his shot. He changed it over the summer, and the Sixers want him to change it back.

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Considered the most polished offensive first-year player, Tatum
(Credit: Getty Images / Maddie Meyer)

Considered the most polished offensive first-year player, Tatum excels in isolation but can score a lot of ways. He also showed he can defend little in preseason. Tatum probably won't play as much as some of the other rookies because the Celtics are legitimate contenders, but he figures to be in the rotation.

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Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets

He has a slight frame, but he was
(Credit: Getty Images / Streeter Lecka)

He has a slight frame, but he was one of the best scorers in college basketball last year - and he landed in a great spot. Steve Clifford is a very good coach. Monk will play with and learn from Kemba Walker and will get playing time with Nic Batum out for a couple months.

Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic

He also needs to work on his body,
(Credit: AP / John Raoux)

He also needs to work on his body, especially since he will be banging with guys much stronger and more physical than him. Isaac is 6-foot-10, 210 pounds with long arms and moves well. He has some perimeter offensive skills, so he could develop into a stretch four. But his biggest impact early could be defensively by blocking shots, altering them or getting deflections.

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