NBA Rookie Power Rankings Week 11

We’re back with the 11th version of our NBA Rookie Power Rankings for the 2017-2018 season. The Rookie of the Year race is shaping up to be a three player race at this stage of the season with the potential for a couple of others to sneak in with a strong finish over the next few months. Some rookies are beginning to get consistent and put it all together, while others are getting healthy and starting to play up to their pre-NBA billing. Let’s get to the rankings for Week 11, shall we?

1. Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz

Mitchell holds onto the number one spot in the rankings for the second straight week. While Utah is struggling to stay healthy, the Louisville product continues to show promise each and every time out, as he is quickly establishing himself as the franchise player that will fill the void left behind by Gordon Hayward. While he had a week highlighted by volume scoring (6-17 and 6-13 performances from the field against the Pelican and Nuggets) he continues to show that he is the best scorer in the rookie class. Utah has a pretty solid core around him and as he continues to develop, learning to make other players better is going to be paramount in him becoming a potential superstar.

2. Ben Simmons – Sixers

As discussed last week, December was not as plentiful for Simmons as the months of October and November were, but the first of week 2018 saw him show signs of bouncing back. The number one spot on the rankings could be in the near future once again. In two Sixer wins, he averaged 22.5 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds in under 30 minutes per contest. Those numbers would have been much higher if the Sixers/Pistons game on Friday was even remotely close (a 114-78 Sixers win). Simmons returns to action on Thursday in London against the Boston Celtics and fellow rookie Jayson Tatum. He will look to continue to get back to the form he was in during the first two months of the season.

3. Kyle Kuzma – Lakers

Kuz has struggled over the past couple of weeks, but struggles happen for rookies. They get exasperated when you play in Los Angeles, you play on one of the youngest teams in the league, and your franchise has parents/coaches clashing. Kuzma has struggled from the field over the last five games (35.8%) and is averaging just 13 points a game over the same time frame. Kuzma is going to find his shot again and he will pick it up, but you have to wonder if the rookie wall and the Big Baller Distraction are beginning to take a toll on the rookie at the same time as we dive into the new year.

4. Jayson Tatum – Celtics

The Celtics keep winning, even with Tatum having one of his quieter weeks as a pro, offensively speaking. He chipped in 15 points and 5 rebounds against Cleveland and 14 points and 6 rebounds against the Nets. However, his 4 points against the Timberwolves are a career low, but my guess is the rookie is more than happy with the win and the overall position that he is in. Tatum has been playing well defensively and it shows the long term potential that he possesses on both ends of the floor. He has a chance to make a statement on Thursday in London against Philadelphia.

5. Lauri Markkanen – Bulls

If there is one word to describe the Finnish products rookie season so far, it would be consistent. Markkanen opened up 2018 on a tear, averaging 17.2 points, and 8.4 rebounds a game in his first 5 games of the calendar year. Even more impressive were his shooting averages for the week; 56.1% from the field, 50% from 3 and 87.5% from the free-throw line. While the Bulls have fallen back to Earth after a red hot stretch in December, Markkanen is one of many reasons for Bulls fans to be excited for their future.

6. Dennis Smith Jr. – Mavs

Dennis Smith has been both hurt and inconsistent at points during his rookie campaign, but continues to show flashes of brilliance. He started the new year strong with 14 points and 8 assists against the Warriors, while also contributing 15 points and 7 assists against the Bulls two nights later. He had 11 points and 5 assists against the Knicks in a matchup with Frank Ntilikina (remember LeBron’s comments about the two after a Cavs/Knicks game earlier this season), however he sat during crunch time. That is a lesson Rick Carlisle will use to teach the young point guard and make hopefully him better in the future.

7. John Collins – Hawks

Collins had a pretty quiet and inefficient week, by his lofty standards if you’ve been following this very column, but he has still had a good rookie campaign thus far. Minus the time that he has missed, he has been one of the the premier rookies and is still leading in PER (21.06) among the first year guys. He is still shooting 58.4% from the floor, while averaging 10.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in just 22 minutes per night. He has a chance to rebound this week against the Nuggets and the Nets, and it will be interesting to see if he can get back on track and move his way up these rankings in the future.

8. Lonzo Ball – Lakers

While his dad made headlines yet again this week for comments about the Lakers and Head Coach Luke Walton, and with the Big Baller Classic debut abroad in Lithuania, Lonzo still found a way to have a good week coming off of an injury. He averaged 12 points, 7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game over his first two games back, and continues to handle himself well with the media, despite all the negative attention surrounding his family at the present time. As Ball continues to get healthy it will be interesting to see if he can continue to find his shot, his place within the offense and start to realize the massive hype train that has followed him over the last few years.

De’aaron Fox makes his way back into the Rookie Rankings with a strong week for the Sacramento Kings

9. Bogdan Bogdanovic – Kings

The Serbian product is quietly continuing to have one of the better rookie seasons in the entire league. Older than most rookies (25), he has provided a steady, reliable presence in the Kings back-court to counter the injuries and inconsistency surrounding some of their younger players. He notched double-digits in points and averaged 5 assists per game over his last 3 contests and has all the looks of a guy who is going to stick in the NBA for the next decade. While Bogdanovic does not have the long term potential of his teammate De’Aaron Fox, he can offer a steadying presence that will help the Kings as long as he plays in Sacramento.

10. De’Aaron Fox – Kings

Fox has been notably absent from these rankings for the last few weeks, but now that he is finally healthy he is making a triumphant return. In his first 3 games back against the Spurs, Nuggets and Hornets, the Kentucky Point Guard is averaging 15.3 points, 7 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 50% from the floor over this stretch and looks as if the game is starting to slow down for him (a scary proposition with how fast he is). Fox has tremendous long term potential, but the Kings may have to be patient with his development over the course of the season. The Kings are young and they are bad, but Fox has to give the fans some hope for the future.


Honorable Mention

Jordan Bell – Warriors
OG Anunoby – Raptors
Bam Adebayo – Heat
Frank Ntilikina – Knicks
Frank Mason – Kings
Dillon Brooks – Grizzlies
Josh Jackson – Suns
Maxi Kleber – Mavs

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of