NBA Rookie Power Rankings – Week 2

We are back with the 2nd week of the 2017-2018 rookie power rankings, with movement across the board and at least one new name (a week one glaring omission). Without further ado, let’s take a look at the week on rankings and then dive right into Week 2.

Week 1 Rankings:

1. Ben Simmons
2. Jayson Tatum
3. De’Aaron Fox
4. Lonzo Ball
5. Dennis Smith Jr.
6. Lauri Markkanen
7. Josh Jackson
8. Donovan Mitchell
9. Malik Monk
10. Markelle Fultz

Week 2:

1. Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers

Simmons holds onto the top spot in week 2 as he continues to impress in his first season in the league, at least when it comes to getting actual minutes. The former LSU Tiger and wreaking havoc on the NBA a couple of weeks into his rookie campaign, currently to the tune of 18 points, 8.2 assists and 9.8 rebounds a game. His last two games have featured a triple double against the Pacers on Friday to the tune of 14/11/11, and an assist shy of another against the Hawks 19 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists. Simmons has a stranglehold on the Rookie of the Year race (albeit, extremely early) and has the Sixers above .500 at 5-4. Simmons is a lock for all-rookie first team if he can stay healthy and at his current pace will be the favorite to win ROY at seasons end.

2. Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics

Tatum starts on the team with the league’s best record and has gotten off to a nice start. His averages before tip-off against Orlando on Sunday night were 13.7 points and 6.6 rebounds a game, while shooting 48% from the floor, 52% from 3 and 82% from the line. While he was held to single digits against San Antonio on Monday, Tatum has found a role within the Celtics offense. As he continues to get more comfortable with his role and the pace of the NBA he is only going to continue to get better. Tatum is not playing quite at a Simmons level, but he won’t be sweating it too much when he is playing late into the playoffs next spring.

3. Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers 

Kuzma is starting to get comfortable with the Lakers and is showing off that he may have been the steal of this past summers NBA Draft, and a horrible omission on my part in week one, but who’s counting? The rookie by way of Utah, from Flint, Michigan, is averaging 15.7 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 56% from the floor. The wing had an incredible couple of weeks during the NBA Summer League and has carried that momentum over to the regular season. He has scored over 20 points in two consecutive games while shooting 18-28 from the floor. Outside of Simmons no rookie had a better week than Kuzma, as he has surprisingly been the Lakers best rookie to date during the ’17-’18 season.

4. Lauri Markkanen – Chicago Bulls

Markkanen, a rookie from Finland/Arizona, is the weeks biggest riser as he moves from the 6th spot in week 1, to the 4th spot in our week 2 rankings. Markkanen has held steady with averages of 16.3 points and 9 rebounds a game, as one of the lone bright spots for a pretty bad Chicago Bulls team. He is shooting 43% from the floor, 38% from 3 and 80% from the line, as his versatility continues to be a huge asset on the NBA level. He exploded for 25 points and 8 rebounds, while shooting 50% from the floor on the road against the Heat on Wednesday. Off of pure numbers a case can be made for Markkanen at #2, but he deserves mention as one of the top 5 rookies a few weeks into his freshman campaign.

 

5. Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz

Mitchell showed that he deserves to be mentioned amongst the top 5 rookies so far during week #2. Mitchell went off for 25 against Portland on Wednesday and 28 against the Raptors on Friday to boost his averages to 13.1 points, 2.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game. The Louisville product has held his own defensively, and proves he has the potential to be a franchise player for the Jazz over the next decade. Mitchell will surely take his lumps, but he has been and will continue to be an awesome get for the Utah Jazz.

6. John Collins – Atlanta Hawks

Collins was, admittedly, a horrible omission on my part during the week one rankings. The Hawks rookie has been one of the few bright spots for the struggling Atlanta Hawks, but he is cause for long term excitement for Hawks fans. Collins is averaging 10.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the field and 72% from the line. He played a major role in the Hawks win Sunday afternoon over the Cavaliers, and has been a great player off of the bench for Atlanta thus far. The Hawks are going to struggle all season long, but if they can add a top 5 pick (Ayton/Bamba/Porter Jr.) to the core of Schroeder/Collins/Prince they will have a solid foundation to build on moving forward. I missed Collins in week one, but I can promise that won’t happen again, at least with this Hawks rookie.

7. Dennis Smith Jr. – Dallas Mavericks

Smith Jr. is going to be dropping two spots to the number 7 spot in this weeks rankings. Smith has been a human highlight reel the first few games of his career and continues to show off the great potential that he has moving forward. After he struggled to the tune of 2 points and 1 assist in 17 minutes against the Jazz on Monday he has been playing at a high level throughout the rest of the week, showing that teams should not get accustomed to the Smith Jr. the Jazz saw Monday night. The Mavericks are off to a bad start, standing at just 1-10, but Smith Jr. is going to be the cornerstone to rebuilding the franchise for the future.

8. De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings

Fox fell five spots in this weeks installment of the rookie rankings, but the Kings point guard has been holding his own during the first couple of weeks of his rookie campaign. Fox is averaging 12.7 points, 5 assist and 3.7 rebounds a game for the Kings, as he remains the only offensive bright spot (general bright spot, if we’re being honest) so far for Sacramento. It is imperative that Fox continues to work on and improve his jumper, and his potential down the line once he figures that out is scary. The Kentucky product will have a chance to work himself up a couple of spots as he becomes more comfortable with having the keys to Sacramento’s offense.

9. Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers

The Big Baller himself takes the biggest tumble in the week 2 rankings as he falls 7 spots from number 2 all the way to the 9th spot. Ball is averaging 8.8 points, 6.7 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game, but is struggling mightily from the floor. Outside of the stacked rookie class he is competing with, Ball’s inability to finish around the rim or knock down perimeter jump shots has been the biggest struggle for him so far. He is two weeks into his career so he is FAR from a finished product, but there have been some major growing pains and identifying of red flags over the course of his first couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see how Ball adjusts and improves over the course of the season, but it has been rough early at times (most of the time).

10. Mike James – Phoenix Suns

James plays for possibly the worst team in the league, and is a 27 year old rookie, but his story has been one of the more positive developments this early in the NBA season, The Lamar alum is averaging 11.4 points, 4.4 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game, while picking up the minutes void left by the Eric Bledsoe drama. James has been shooting 37% from 3 and been the brightest rookie on the Suns (sun, bright, no pun intended) even over Josh Jackson. It remains to be seen how long James will stay in these rankings, but his story is too hard to ignore thus far.

Honorable Mentions:

1. Malik Monk – Charlotte Hornets
2. Dillon Brooks – Memphis Grizzlies
3. Josh Jackson – Phoenix Suns

Tune in next week for the 3rd Installment of HG Insider NBA Rookie Power Rankings. Also don’t forget to join the conversation on Twitter. Let us know who we are missing and who you think will make a run at the top.

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