NBA Rookie Power Rankings Week 13

Photo via DraftExpress

As teams began to cross the halfway mark of the season (in terms of games played this week) the NBA is starting to heat up in a number of different ways. The players vs the refs, the Cavs falling apart (again), and the Rookies continuing to impress with their play week in and week out. Some rookies are hitting the wall, others are beginning to see their games further assimilate to the NBA level. Without further ado lets see who’s rising and whos falling in the bakers dozen installment of our NBA Rookie Power Rankings here at HG Insider.

1. Donovan Mitchell – Jazz

Mitchell had one of his better weeks of his already outstanding rookie season this past week. While the Jazz went just 2-2 for the week, Mitchell averaged 24.3 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds per game as he continues to solidify himself as the future of the Utah franchise. While his 3 point shooting (7-29) and turnovers (3.3 per game this week) leave some things for the rookie to improve upon, at the rate he has improved it is hard to imagine those won’t improve as the season and his career go on. Amazingly enough the Jazz are only 4.5 back from a playoff spot as of today’s standings, but if they continue to slip down the standings adding another piece from the loaded 2018 class will only help build the team around Mitchell for the coming years.

2. Ben Simmons – Sixers

On one hand, Simmons play has been just solid over the past month, while on the other, LeBron gave him a nod as a player who should be playing in the All-Star game in the rookie. Simmons was ejected late in a win over the Raptors on Monday, and scored just 8 points in a win against the Celtics, but the Sixers won both games in their quest to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011-2012. Simmons is still averaging 16.6 points, 7.2 assists and 8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.4% from the floor. The Sixers are winning, he’s getting a shout out from the best player in the league and he is still within striking distance of the rookie of the year. I do not believe it is too big of a stretch to say life is good for Ben Simmons.

3. Lauri Markkanen – Bulls

Making his debut in the top 3 of these rankings for the first time this year is Lauri Markkanen. He has methodically moved up these rankings due to the tear he has been on throughout January and his consistency throughout much of his rookie campaign so far. Lauri is averaging 18.5 points and 7.7 rebounds a game while shooting 49.6% from the floor in the month of January. He averaged 16 and 7 per contest over the past week as he helped the Bulls to a 2-1 record, allowing the Bulls to stay within minor striking distance of the eastern conference playoff race. Selfishly, I hope we get a chance to see Markkanen paired up with one of the elite big men in the 2018 draft (Bamba, Ayton or Bagley) over the next decade to solidify another potential contender for the East crown in the post-LeBron era.

4. Dennis Smith Jr. – Mavericks

Ever since Smith has become healthy he has been making a serious run at putting himself in the discussion for Rookie of the Year. Over his last 10 games, Smith is averaging 18.4 points, 5.9 assists and 4 rebounds a game, while shooting 45.4% from the floor and giving us SportsCenter Top 10 caliber plays on a night-to-night basis. In two games this week, he averaged 23 points, 5.5 assists and 4 rebounds a game despite putting up those numbers in two Mavericks losses. The kid from Fayetteville, North Carolina has been making serious waves in 2018 so far, and a potential run towards the top of these rankings is in play if he can continue his high level play through the remaining three months of the NBA season.

5. Kyle Kuzma – Lakers

Kuzma has not had a great month of January, but has been showing some minor signs of regaining the form that had him as high as number two in these rankings in recent weeks. He averaged 12.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game over the course of this past week as he once again struggled from the floor. Kuzma looks to have hit the rookie wall a little bit, but it does not help him that he plays on one of the worst and youngest teams in the entire league. Kuzma continues to be active while on the court, and is creating good shots for himself, he just needs some shots to fall so he can gain his groove back and start to climb his way back up the rankings.

6. Jayson Tatum – Celtics

Both Tatum and the Celtics had rather uncharacteristic weeks compared to their usual levels of play so far this season. The Celtics went 0-2 (and were trailing the Magic by 16 as I type this sentence), and Tatum averaged just 10.5 points per game on 7-17 from the field in the two losses. Is it time to hit the panic button on either Boston or Tatum? Hardly, but both teams have showed some signs of being, for lack of a better word, human over the past few games. I do not expect Tatum or the Celtics struggles to continue, and we should see Tatum find his way back in the top 5 of the HG Insider rookie rankings in short order.

7. John Collins – Hawks

Despite an average at best performance against the Bulls on Saturday night, Collins saw a bounce back week in terms of his play during week 13 of the NBA season. Collins averaged 11.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2 assists per game in just 24 minutes per game, while most importantly leading the Hawks to a 2-1 record during the week. The Hawks currently are tied for the worst record in the East, and Collins has been one of the lone bright spots when he has been healthy this season. Getting another potential franchise talent to add with Collins in the 2018 draft will help Atlanta solidify their foundation moving forward.

8. Bogdan Bogdanovic – Kings

The Kings continue to sport the worst record in the league (13-32 a 3-way tie with Atlanta and Orlando), but their rookie backcourt has been one of the only highlights. Bogdanovic has been the brightest spot in the Kings backcourt so far, and he had his best week as a rookie so far. Bogdanovic averaged 17.6 points, 5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in a lackluster week for Sacramento (0-3). He poured in a career high 25 points, against the Jazz on Monday night in 39 minutes, on an ultra efficient 9-11 from the field and 6-6 from downtown. Bogdanovic does not have quite the long term potential that other prospects in the 2017 class possess, but he has a chance to be a solid offensive contributor in the league over the next decade-plus.

9. Dillon Brooks – Grizzlies

Brooks had his best week of his rookie campaign and has found himself among the top ten of these rankings for the first time in a couple of months. The play of Brooks and Jordan Bell highlights just how much NBA talent was on the Oregon Ducks Final Four roster from a year ago, while also coming as no surprise to those of us who watched them in their college days. Brooks helped the Grizzlies to a 3-1 record during the 3rd week of 2018, while averaging 17 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. After Kyle Kuzma, Brooks and Jordan Bell rank as two of the biggest steals in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft to date.

10. Milos Teodosic – Clippers

Teodosic is the oldest rookie in the league at 30 years old, and has been improving seemingly every singly month for the Clippers, and finds himself in the top 10 of the Rookie Power Rankings for the first time all season. The point guard from Yugoslavia has averaged 10.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 rebounds per game in 26.3 minutes per night for the Clippers. While the Clippers have gone about replacing Chris Paul by a collection of guards (especially in Pat Beverly’s absence), Teodosic has been the most steady. It is hard to gauge the long term potential of a 30 year old rookie, but we should celebrate the play of the rookie in the moment. Welcome, to the Top 10 of our HG Insider Rookie Power Rankings, Milos.

Honorable Mention:

De’Aaron Fox – Kings
Lonzo Ball – Lakers
Bam Adebayo – Heat
Josh Jackson – Suns
Tyrone Wallace – Clippers
Jordan Bell – Warriors
OG Anunoby – Raptors

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