Damian Lillard contiues to impress throught the early stages of the season (nwsportsbeat.com)
As the season continues to grow, so do our rookies. Now a solid two weeks into their first season-long campaign, some Rooks are on the rise while others may seem to be falling off the charts.
1) Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, PG
Lillard continues to impress in Portland, as the youngster is now averaging a rookie-high 18.4 ppg, a rookie-high 6.6 apg, and a respectable 3.1 rpg. Regardless of the competition, Lillard has shown up for every game, scoring in double-digits in every contest so far. The Trail Blazers may be struggling somewhat in the win-loss column, but Lillard is doing everything he can to help this team.
Last week’s rating: 1 (No change)
2) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets, PF
Davis made a strong push for the number 1 spot this week, but still unfortunately can’t match Lillard’s production. Davis is leading all rookies with 7.0 rpg and an amazing 2.75 bpg (good for fourth in the entire league). While his FG% might not be as dynamite as some would expect from a big man, he’s still averaging 15.0 ppg and shooting lights-out from the free-throw line as a big (.818%).
Last week’s rating: 2 (No change)
3) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats, SF
MKG makes a nice jump in the standings this week after showing people that his selection as No. 2 was no fluke. Kidd-Gilchrist exploded for 25 points and 12 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks in a 101-97 OT win for the Bobcats, and followed that performance with 15 and 8 against the Washington Wizards in a 92-76 victory. There’s no mystery as to why Charlotte has now won three straight games; MKG is turning out to be a difference maker for the very young team.
Last week’s rating: 6 (+3)
4) Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors, C
Valanciunas has continued to impress above the border. Averaging 8.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 0.6 bpg, Val is continuing to show why the Raptors didn’t mind waiting for him before he came over to the NBA this year. Dwayne Casey is continuing to salivate at the idea of turning Valanciunas into a defensive force, and it’s only a matter of time until he gets to that next level.
Last week’s rating: 4 (No change)
5) Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers, SG
After a hot start to the season, Waiters cools off ever so slightly, but still finds himself contributing greatly to a young Cavs team that has needed his offense. Waiters is averaging 14.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, and 2.1 apg, and has been very efficient from three-point land (.486%). His free-throw percentage needs work, though (.588%).
Last week’s rating: 3 (-2)
6) Alexey Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves, PG
Shved makes his first appearance in the rankings after having a strong second week, after scoring in double-digits multiple times and helping the injury-plagued Timberwolves to a 5-3 start. Shved is averaging 9.0 ppg, 3.9 ppg, and 3.1 rpg, all respectable numbers for someone who isn’t even getting starters minutes. Shved may struggle as veterans start to figure him out, but he’s turning out to be a great fill-in for Ricky Rubio while Rubio recovers from an ACL injury.
Last week’s rating: N/A
7) Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors, SF
Barnes has seen his numbers improve since last week, and his ranking has done the same: 9.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 1.3 apg, while moving up from 10th on last week’s list. Barnes also recorded his first career double-double last time out in a close 92-88 victory against the Hawks where all of Barnes 19 points and 13 rebounds were needed to secure the win.
Last week’s rating: 10 (+3)
8) Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons, C
Drummond has continued to play strong off the bench for Detroit, as his averages have jumped to 6.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 1.0 bpg. Drummond still looks raw on the court, but he has a great mentor in Greg Monroe (see: 2012-2013 triple-double leaders) and seems to enjoy coming off the bench as a spark plug for the Pistons. Embracing one’s role is the first step to reaching the next level.
Last week’s rating: N/A
9) Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards, SG
Beal, like the Wizards, has fallen off in our rankings, but he’s still putting up solid numbers: 11.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, and 1.9 apg. His field-goal percentage has seemingly hit rock bottom, though, as he’s averaging 16% from the field over his last two games. Teams are keying in on Beal in John Wall’s absence and it’s showing; Beal can only hope Wall will be back soon.
Last week’s rating: 9 (No change)
10) Jae Crowder, Dallas Mavericks, SF
Crowder, a poor-man’s Ron Artest (minus the head case), has been performing nicely for the Mavs in Shawn Marion’s absence due to injury. Crowder is averaging 7.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, and 1.3 apg. Given more opportunities from the field (Crowder’s only attempted 55 shots), Jae’s numbers could easily jump, helping to give the young colt more confidence.
Last week’s rating: 5 (-5)