NBA Rookie Power Rankings Week 10

We’re back for the tenth time this season with our NBA Rookie Power Rankings, but this is the inaugural rankings for the year of 2018. We are rapidly approaching the midway point of the season and the top 7-8 rookies have solidified themselves with movement occurring each week. We look to have a 3-way race for the Rookie of the Year, and the back end of the rankings are fresh with new names surfacing almost every single week. Rookies are coming into their own as they are starting to find their footing with their teams and in the NBA. Lets take a look at this weeks rankings:

1. Donovan Mitchell – Jazz

Week 10 sees our first installment of the rankings without Ben Simmons at number one. That is no slight to the Sixers budding superstar, but rather speaks to just how good Donovan Mitchell has been. Not only is Mitchell leading all rookies in scoring (18.2 points per game) but he also seems to get better every week. While he struggled at times from the floor in losses to the Nuggets and Warriors, Mitchell showed signs of being a promising defender and improving as a distributor. He was dominant in key moments in a win on Saturday against the Cavs with 29 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Mitchell will need to keep his foot on the gas to keep this number one spot, but things have officially gotten very interesting between Mitchell, Simmons and Kuzma.

2. Ben Simmons – Sixers

Simmons has been very good and will only continue to get better, but his play has slipped (slightly). Simmons is still a major threat to win Rookie of the Year and some may call him the favorite, but Mitchell was better in December and carries that momentum into 2018. Simmons was great on New Years Eve against the Suns (21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists) and suggests that he could be getting fully healthy and back on track. No need to fret about Simmons falling from the top spot this week, just time to relax and Trust The Process.

3. Kyle Kuzma – Lakers

Kuzma has been terrific this season and is going to be a very good wing player in the NBA for a long, long time. However, he followed up his best week as a rookie with perhaps his most inconsistent. He was phenomenal on Xmas against Minnesota, chipping in 31 points. He followed it up by shooting 4-24 from the field against the Grizzlies. Kuz is a rookie, he is going to struggle at times and he is going to have some inconsistent stretches, but he is a serious threat for ROY, and needs to continue on becoming a more consistent threat.

4. Jayson Tatum – Celtics

One word to describe Tatum’s rookie campaign? Consistent. He has held steady, with averages of 14 points and 5 rebounds a game for much of his rookie season and has been able to come along a little slower than other rookies (in terms of volume of shots/usage.) Does it help he plays on one of the best teams in the league? 100%. But the Celtics are a better team because of the shooting that the Duke product has provided. He is at the top of tier two in terms of the Rookie of the Year race, but my guess is that Tatum wouldn’t trade his places with anyone else in the rookie class.

5. Lauri Markkanen – Bulls

Lauri had a couple of big games this past week and is starting to build up some excitement over social media with his play the last couple of weeks for the surprisingly hot Bulls. While he struggled against Milwaukee, New York and Washington (8.67 points per game) he scored a career high 32 points against the Indiana Pacers and gave the Blazers 19 points on 4 three-pointers on New Years Day. Markkanen has had his minutes toyed with at time while Portis/Mirotic have started to play real well, but he has been making the most of them. The fifth spot in these rankings is going to end up being a race to see who can be more consistent between Lauri and Dennis Smith Jr. (maybe John Collins or Lonzo Ball as well).

6. Dennis Smith Jr. – Mavericks

Smith Jr. is finally back in the top 6 of the rookie power rankings and finished 2017 with an absolute bang. The Mavericks rookie started the week off slow, but has Dallas riding a four game winning streak into their match-up with Golden State on Wednesday. Smith recorded his first NBA triple-double in a win against New Orleans (21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) while chipping in 19 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds against the Thunder. Smith is getting healthier, starting to make shots at a high clip and assimilating himself into Rick Carlisle’s offensive system. It is going to be fun to see how Smith develops from here on out.

7. John Collins – Hawks

While Collins had his most inefficient week as a rookie, especially from the field, he has still had a very impressive start to his rookie season. He continues to lead all rookies 21.19 PER and average 11.3 points, and 7.2 rebounds in 23 minutes per night. Collins is also shooting 59.7% from the field, which is a phenomenal total even for a 10 year veteran, much less a 20 year old rookie. It will be interesting to see how Collins bounces back in the first week of 2018, after a relatively down week.

8. Jordan Bell – Warriors

Bell continues to show that he is a perfect fit in the Golden State Warriors lineup. He does not command offensive touches, he is an extremely versatile defender and he is active and engaged on both sides of the ball. Bell is averaging 7.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals per game over his last five. The Warriors having Draymond Green causes enough havoc for NBA teams, having his younger, more athletic twin to complement the rest of the squad just feels both unfair and very fitting.

9. Bogdan Bogdanovic – Kings

While the Kings had quite the haul of guards (on paper) during the 2018 NBA draft, no Kings rookie has played better this season than the 25 year old from Serbia. Bogdanovic is averaging 10.3 points, 2.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds per while shooting a very respectable 47% from the field and 37% from the 3 point line. He had 16 points, 8 assists and 4 steals against the Cavs on Wednesday, while also contributing 13 points and 3 assists in a loss against Phoenix. The Kings are tough to watch, as they are one of the younger teams in the league, but Bogdanovic looks to be a player to build with as Sacramento moves beyond the 2017-2018 campaign.

10. Bam Adebayo – Heat

Bam has seen his minutes go up over the month of December and has rewarded the Heat with very good play in recent weeks. The Kentucky product and Hoop Group/Team Loaded Alum is averaging 8.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game over his last five contests all while shooting 60% from the floor. His 16.63 PER is solid for a rookie playing 20 minutes a game and he looks to play a major role in getting the Heat back into the playoffs this spring. Go into watching Heat games for Dion Waiters, and you will quickly find yourself a big fan of Bam Adebayo’s potential at the NBA level.

Honorable Mentions

Lonzo Ball – Lakers
OG Anunoby – Raptors
Maxi Kleber – Mavericks
Dillon Brooks – Grizzlies
De’Aaron Fox – Kings

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