NBA Rookie Power Rankings – Week Five

Welcome back to the fifth installment of our HG Insider NBA Rookie Power Rankings for the 2017-2018 season. This loaded rookie class has done little to disappoint the hype they carried with them into the league thus far early in their careers. The fifth week of the NBA season was a bit shorter than the others due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, but it still saw rookies having an impact and included some movers in these very rankings. Let’s take a look at how the rookies stacked up in Week 5.

Week 4 Rankings:

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

1. Ben Simmons – 76ers

Simmons missed Saturday’s win against the surprising Orlando Magic due to soreness in his elbow, but with two great showings earlier in the week he remains at the top. 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game are still jaw dropping numbers from a rookie. 51% shooting from the field is nothing to slouch at either. He had 27 points and 10 rebounds against the Jazz and 16 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds against Portland (both wins). Simmons did nothing to even give a glimmer of hope for someone planning to take the number one spot from him.

2. Kyle Kuzma – Lakers

Kuzma holds on to the number two ranking for the second week in a row for the HG Insider Rookie Power Rankings. He chipped in 22 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in a match-up against the Bulls. He also contributed 17 against the Kings on the night before Thanksgiving. Kuzma comes into week six with averages of 16.8 points, and 6.3 rebounds a game while shooting 49.8% from the field, 36.6% from 3 and 75.9% from the line. Magic Johnson has to be increasingly happy with each passing week that he made a move for Kuzma on draft night back in June.

3. Jayson Tatum – Celtics

Tatum saw his ranking go up by one spot in this week’s installment of the rookie rankings thanks to his ability to contribute at an efficient level for the leagues best team. While he scored just 11 points in each of the last two games, the Duke product made winning plays, and showed glimpses of his superstar level potential in two games this week. Tatum is averaging 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. His shooting percentages, 49.2% from the field and 47.6% from 3 and 84.1% from the free-throw line, are still abnormally good for a rookie. The wing has been steady, if nothing else, and it is going to be a nightmare for teams to compete with him and Jaylen Brown on the wings as the duo continues to get better and gain experience.

4. Donovan Mitchell – Jazz

Mitchell moves up the rankings one spot this week, and looks poised to continue to make moves up the board as he grows more consistent with his play. The Jazz rookie helped lead the team to a 2-1 week, with big performances against the 76ers and the Bucks, two of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. While he struggled from the floor against the Bulls (1-10 from the floor, 4 points), he contributed in other ways to help the Jazz get a win at home (7 assists and 5 rebounds). In his last 5 games the former Louisville guard is averaging 14.4 points, 5.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds a game while shooting (and this is where it gets weird) 36.2% from the floor and 39.3% from long range. Mitchell has been playing well, but he also has to focus on his shooting and consistency finishing at the rim as he progresses as a pro.

5. Lauri Markkanen – Bulls

Markkanen had a relatively quiet week (by his standards thus far), and the Bulls dropped all three contests in week five, which caused him to slide just a hair. He chipped in 13 points and 14 rebounds against the Lakers on Tuesday night, scored only 3 against the Jazz, but rebounded to give the Warriors 14 and 6 in his last game of the week. Lauri is averaging 14.6 points and 8.2 rebounds a night and proving to be a good floor spacer (34.5% from downtown). With Nikola Mirotic slated to return to the lineup soon, it will be interesting to see if this at all effects any minutes/touches given to Markkanen.

6. John Collins – Hawks

Collins moves up one spot to number 6 in the week five installment of our rankings. He may have had the best week of all rookies on this list. He was one rebound shy of posting back-to-back double-doubles, but perhaps what is most impressive is the rate at which he has been converting his shots around the rim. Collins is shooting 74.4% from the floor in his last 5 games. He undoubtedly has been one of the very few bright spots for the Hawks this season. Collins won’t always make the highlight reels, but the rookie has been efficient and consistent. If he keeps up his current pace will only continue seeing his stock rise in the coming weeks.

7. Dennis Smith Jr. – Mavericks

Smith Jr. rebounded in a positive manner from the struggles that he endured on the court during week four, but still saw his ranking fall one spot during the week five installment of our rankings. The NC State product is a threat to climb back up the rankings as his play breeds some more consistency, but he showed that his ceiling is higher than most everyone else during week five. He led the Mavericks to a 2-1 record during the week, including a 15 point, 4 assist performance against Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder. He has showed a greater command of the offense with each passing week, but like most every rookie not named Jayson Tatum, Smith needs to work on improving his shot-making abilities (31% from the floor and 25% from 3 in his last 5 contests).

8. Lonzo Ball – Lakers

Lonzo’s struggles from the floor have continued, but the rookie has been contributing in other ways for the Lakers as he continues to adjust to life as the face of the NBA’s most prominent franchise. Lonzo contributed 8 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists against the Bulls on Tuesday. He also outplayed fellow rookie lead guard De’Aaron Fox in a loss to the Kings (11 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds while shooting 3-5 from three point range). Ball is still working diligently on finding his shot, and the solution to that lays more in the long term than in the short term/ That said, he has assimilated himself as a playmaker and someone who has been disruptive in passing lanes on the defensive end averaging 1.4 steals per game. His first shoe, the ZO2’s are getting ready to be sent out in the coming days and Ball looks to capitalize on the further notoriety and continue to work his way up the rookie power rankings.

9. De’Aaron Fox – Kings

Fox worked himself back into the rookie power rankings this week coming in at the number 9 spot. He had a solid week, and flashed some of the brilliance that give Kings fan a sliver of hope for their future. Fox is averaging 10.5 points, 4.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds a game while shooting a respectable (compared to other rookie PG’s) 40.2% from the floor and 30.8% from 3 point range. The Kings stink, and Fox shares touches with George Hill, but he has the potential to rise in the rankings as the season goes on.

10. Dillon Brooks – Grizzlies

Brooks falls one spot in the rankings to number 10, but continues his great play as a role player for the Grizzlies early in the ’17-’18. The highlight of his week was chipping in 13 points against the Mavericks in a loss on Wednesday. Brooks has been contributing in ways that aren’t showing up on the stat sheet, but his numbers of 9.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists are not too shabby either. Is Brooks a legitimate ROY threat? No, but he looks to have been a great get for the Grizz.

Honorable Mention:

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

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