NBA Rookie Power Rankings Week 6

Welcome back for Volume Six of our HG Inside NBA Rookie Power Rankings. The NBA was back in full swing after a semi-shortened holiday week for Thanksgiving. The rookies continued to show promise, and we have our first legitimate contender to potentially (probably not, but the ROY race could use some drama) contend with Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year. Let’s take a look back at our week 5 rankings, and then jump right into week 6:

Week 5 NBA Rookie Power Rankings

1. Ben Simmons – 76ers
2. Kyle Kuzma – Lakers
3. Jayson Tatum – Celtics
4. Donovan Mitchell – Jazz
5. Lauri Markkanen – Bulls
6. John Collins – Hawks
7. Dennis Smith Jr. – Mavs
8. Lonzo Ball – Lakers
9. De’Aaron Fox – Kings
10. Dillon Brooks – Grizzlies

Honorable Mention
OG Anunoby – Raptors
Malik Monk – Hornets
Mike James – Suns
Josh Jackson – Suns

1. Ben Simmons – 76ers

Simmons sits at number 1 after receiving the Rookie of the Month award for November. Simmons has been spectacular, even if he did not produce at his usual high level this week. While he went for 31 points and 18 rebounds against the Wizards on Wednesday, he shot 15-29 from the foul line, something that he will have to continue to improve over the course of his career. This week should be an interesting one for Simmons, with rookie centered match-ups against the Suns and Lakers early in this week. The Sixerrs then have back-to-back road games against the Cavs and Pelicans next weekend. Expect the LSU product to continue to produce at a high level and continue one of the better rookie campaigns in NBA history.

2. Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz

The Jazz went 3-0 this week, and Mitchell may have had his coming out party on Friday night against the Pelicans. The former Louisville guard went for 41 points, including 6-12 from the 3 point line. In the other two games, Mitchell averaged 20 points and 4 assists against the Clippers and Nuggets. Mitchell has been on a tear over the last month, and his last 5 games he has been nothing short of sensational for a rookie. Tell me a team that would not sign up for 21.8 points, 4.6 assists, 3.2 rebounds per game on 47% from the floor, 48% from 3 and 76% from the line. Mitchell still has a ways to go, but he may end as one of the top 2 players to come from this draft class when all is said and done.

3. Jayson Tatum – Celtics

The Duke product has remained steady for his play, and has emerged as one of the go-to Celtics offensively down the stretch in close games. Tatum is averaging 4.4 points per game in the 4th quarter. Tatum rounded out Week 6 averaging 13.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, with shooting percentages that are still absurd. He is shooting 50% from the floor, 49% from 3 and 83% from the line. The rookie shows poise beyond his years, and is going to eventually become an all-star. Luckily for the Celtics, they have more than enough room to be patient.

4. Kyle Kuzma – Lakers

While Kuzma has seen himself fall two spots in the sixth installment of our rankings, it is far from an indictment for how he has played thus far. He sat out Wednesday nights contest against the Golden State Warriors, but averaged 14 points and 6 rebounds a game in road losses to the Clippers (not quite on the road, but as part of the away team) and Nuggets. His averages of 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds a game are very good for a rookie and he has shot 48% from 3 in his last 5 games, which shows he will continue to be a lethal threat on the perimeter for years to come for LA. Growing pains are going to be part of the process, but the Lakers have a lot to look forward to in the future.

5. Lauri Markkanen – Bulls

Markkanen has been one of the very few bright spots on an absolutely atrocious Bulls team. Up until the last couple of games he has been in the midst of a shooting slump. Over the course of his last five games the Arizona product is shooting 33.8% from the floor, and 34.3% from 3. However, he showed signs of starting to get back into a rhythm over the last couple of games, averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds a game against the Kings and Nuggets. It is going to be a tough year in Chicago, but better days are ahead. The Bulls will almost assuredly wind up with a top 5 pick at their current rate, and a potential pairing of Markkanen and DeAndre Ayton/Mo Bomba/Marvin Bagley would solidify the Bulls front court.

6. Dennis Smith Jr. – Mavs

Every week, Smith has plays that leave us imaging how bright his future is going to be once he puts it all together. He is starting to show signs of picking up the Mavs offensive system and figure out the speed of the NBA game. Smith is averaging 14.6 points, 3.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game over his last five games. Continuing to improve as a shooter and improving his assist to turnover ratio are things to watch as Smith improves over the next few years. Smith is a big week away from finding himself among the top 5 in our Rookie Power Rankings.

7. John Collins – Hawks

While Friday brought about the bad news that Collins is going to miss the next 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury, the Hawks rookie has been impressive while healthy. He is averaging 11.5 points and 7.1 rebounds a game while shooting 59.2% from the floor and 76.6% from the floor. He chipped in 13 points and 7 rebounds on 6-7 shooting in 26 minutes against the Cavs on Wednesday. Collins 20.49 PER is extremely impressive for the rookie. It is going to be great for the Hawks, and NBA junkies in general, to get Collins healthy and back on the floor as soon as possible.

8. Lonzo Ball – Lakers

Ball made headlines this week, or was apart of them, as Jamal Murray dribbled around him in the closing seconds of a loss to the Nuggets. He struggled Monday in a game against the crosstown rival the Clippers, but played solid against the Warriors and the Nuggets. The 15 points and 10 assists he had against the Warriors might have been his most impressive performance of his rookie campaign, outside of his triple-doubles. Ball has a long way to go, but has shown signs of slowly starting to pick up and adjust to the pace of the NBA game.

9. De’Aaron Fox – Kings

Fox has been holding steady as one of the more positive presences for the lowly Sacramento Kings. While he struggled with his first 3 games of the week he rebounded nicely and chipped in 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in a loss at Milwaukee. Fox needs to continue to become more consistent and make strides as a shooter. The potential with Fox is great, and it will be interesting to see how he continues to improve throughout the course of his rookie season and career.

10. Bogdan Bogdanovic – Kings

While his first and last name are spelled almost exactly the same, the Serbian rookie (by way of the 2014 1st round) has played himself into top 10 contention in the Rookie Power Rankings over the last few weeks. In his last 5 games Bogdanovic is averaging 11.4 points, 2.4 assists and 2 rebounds a game while shooting 51% from the field, 36.5% from 3 and 75% from the line. Bogdanovic has been taking minutes from fellow rookie Justin Jackson on one of the youngest teams in the league. Going to be interesting to see how his role expands (or falls off) over the course of the season.

Honorable Mention:

Dillon Brooks – Grizzlies
OG Anunoby – Raptors
Frank Mason – Kings
Luke Kennard – Pistons
Mike James – Suns

As always feel free to comment on anyone we may have missed on, any disagreements or any comments in general either in the comments below or on Twitter.

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