NBA Rookie Power Rankings – Week 4

We are officially one month into the NBA season, and have a sizeable data sample to use to help put together the Week 4 Edition of HG Insider’s NBA Rookie Power Rankings. Players are beginning to separate themselves, weaknesses that need improving are becoming apparent and some guys are starting to see the game slow down enough for them to contribute at a more efficient rate. Let’s take a look at the Week 3 rankings before we look at how Week 4 stacks up.

1. Ben Simmons
2. Jayson Tatum
3. Dennis Smith Jr.
4. Kyle Kuzma
5. Lauri Markkanen
6. Donovan Mitchell
7. Lonzo Ball
8. John Collins
9. De’Aaron Fox
10. Mike James

Honorable Mention:

Malik Monk
Josh Jackson
Frank Ntilikina
Dillon Brooks

Without further ado, let’s dive into the Week 4 rankings:

1. Ben Simmons – 76ers

I am running out of superlatives to describe Simmons at this rate. He continues to hold the number one spot in a death grip. As of Monday he checks in with averages of 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8 assists per game, while shooting over 50% from the floor. As long as he stays healthy he has the award locked up, which is saying something for how good this rookie class is.

2. Kyle Kuzma – Lakers

Kuzma has solidified himself as the 2nd best rookie a month into the 2017-2018 campaign. He chipped in 24 points and 7 rebounds against Philadelphia and followed it up two nights later with 30 points and 10 rebounds against the Suns. Kuzma is averaging a solid 16.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and has shown the ability to score bunches of points in a hurry. #1 steal of the draft, #2 in the HG insider NBA Rookie Power Rankings.

3. Lauri Markkanen – Bulls

It is becoming hard to ignore how good Markkanen has been so far, despite how far the Bulls have fallen in the record column. The marksmen from Finland is averaging 15.6 points and 8 rebounds a game. He’s shooting 45% from the floor and 37% from 3. He gave the Thunder and Hornets 16 points a piece, before exploding for 26 points and 13 rebounds against the Suns, his best performance to date in his career. Markkanen will square off against the Lakers on Tuesday night going against fellow rookies Kuzma and Lonzo Ball, in what should be an entertaining match-up.

4. Jayson Tatum – Celtics

While Tatum slips to number 4 in this weeks ranking, he has still been proving that he is a future force to be reckoned with in the Association. His averages remain solid at 13.9 points and 5.6 rebounds a game, while his shooting percentages border on historic for a rookie at 49.4% from the floor, 47.9% from 3 and 84.3% from the line. He gave the Celtics great minutes down the stretch during the win over the Warriors on Thursday night and continues to play his role well alongside the stacked Celtics lineup.

5. Donovan Mitchell – Jazz

If I am picking a favorite rookie, Donovan Mitchell tops this list, while his actual play on the court has garnered him a spot back among the top 5 in this week’s rookie rankings. The Louisville product is a walking highlight reel, who can stockpile a ton of points in a short amount of time. His 15 point, 8 assist, 7 rebound effort against the Nets shows the versatile potential he has down the line playing the point guard position for the Jazz, and his 24 points against Minnesota showed his elite scoring potential. The Jazz had a rough week in the W/L column, but Mitchell continued to show promise, and even bought his mom a car. Two out of three ain’t so bad.

6. Dennis Smith Jr. – Mavericks

Smith Jr. took a tumble in this weeks rankings due to some poor outings in the latter half of the week. Smith is a rookie, he won’t be immune to these stretches, and neither will anyone else besides maybe Simmons. Smith exploded early in the week for 27 against the Spurs and seemed like a lock to move into the 2nd spot behind Simmons. Unfortunately he  followed it up with two straight outings with point totals in the single digits. Smith looks to rebound from his growing pains this week starting with the Celtics Monday night.

7. John Collins – Hawks

Collins had a good week, bouncing back from his lackluster week 3, and moving himself up one spot in our rookie power rankings. Collins is averaging 11.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 54.5% from the floor and 76.7% from the line for the Hawks. He capped off a strong week with an 18 point, 7 rebound effort against the leagues best team, the Boston Celtics. Collins has been a welcome addition for the Hawks and gives Atlanta fans something to look forward to in the future.

8. Lonzo Ball – Lakers

Ball struggled mightily in 3 of the 4 games in which he participated in during week 4, but bounced back with his second career triple-double on Sunday night. He contributed 11 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists in an 18 point win over the Denver Nuggets. The story remains the same for Ball. He impacts the game in a multitude of ways, but he still continues to struggle to make shots. Ball will continue to have ups and downs, but he does show significant promise at times, which makes him harder to ignore than other rookies enduring the same struggles to begin their NBA careers.

9. Dillon Brooks – Grizzlies

Brooks makes his first appearance on the list as he has fit in seamlessly to the Grizzlies culture in Memphis. During the month of November he has averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds per game, shot 44% from the floor. He has also made a countless number of plays that do not appear in the stat sheet to help the Grizzlies win games. Brooks may not possess the upside of other rookies in this class, but he has shown early that he is going to carve out a nice career for himself in the NBA. It will be interesting to see how his role expands as we get deeper into the season and he continues to adjust to life as an NBA player.

10. OG Anunoby – Raptors

Speaking of first timers who specialize in making winning plays for a good team, Anunoby has been a surprise for casual basketball fans. If an early December injury had not derailed OG’s season at Indiana last season he would have gone much higher in the NBA draft. Anunoby has been a very good defender by rookie standards, by evidence of his defense against James Harden. He is also showing offensive promise, 16 points and 3-4 from 3 point rang against the Rockets. Anunoby should continue to rise and has very good long term potential to be a difference maker in the league.

Honorable Mention:

De’Aaron Fox – Kings
Josh Jackson – Suns
Luke Kennard – Pistons
Mike James – Suns

Sidenote: The Sixers have announced that we may be less than a month from getting a healthy (fingers crossed) Markelle Fultz back in the fold. Not only would that be huge for Philly, and the HG and DeMatha alum Fultz, but also for basketball junkies everywhere.

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