NBA Rookie Rankings
1. Damian Lillard (PG - POR): Lillard was a popular pick for rookie of the year due to his NBA-ready game, and he's proving to be a deserving frontrunner for the honor. His performances in the first couple of games had him in the company of Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas, and while he has slowed down a bit, he's still performing at a very high level. His 18.8 points per game lead all rookies, as do his 7.0 assists per contest. When watching the Trail Blazers play, you can tell that they already trust the young rookie and want him to run their offense. It's still early, but as of now it looks like the Blazers found their point guard of the future.
2. Anthony Davis (PF - NO): Davis probably would have topped this list if not for a concussion he sustained in his second game of the season. He's averaging 17.3 points per game on 52.8% shooting, along with 8.0 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals. Those numbers are also dragged down by the game in which Davis got his concussion, as he played less than 15 minutes that night. In his two full games, Davis is averaging 22 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks. He's been completely worth the hype so far and could easily top this list by next week.
3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF - CHA): Anthony Davis' college teammate jumped up this list thanks to the 25 points and 12 rebounds he put up on Saturday night. The Bobcats have remained the worst defensive team in the league, but it's not Kidd-Gilchrist's fault - MKG already has two games with three blocks and has a five-steal game to his credit. His 12.2 points per game are fifth amount rookies, and his 7.6 rebounds are only topped by Anthony Davis. Keep in mind that MKG turned 19 years old less than two months ago - he's got a very bright future.
4. Dion Waiters (SG - CLE): Waiters turned heads a week ago when he went off for 28 points and hit 7 of 11 shots from downtown. He has another 23 point game since then. He's been proving me and all his other doubters wrong by showing his lethal scoring potential every few games. His scoring has been up and down, but he's shooting a very solid 48.8% from the field and an excellent 53.1% from three. His 15.4 points per game are third among rookies. His biggest concern right now should be his free throw shooting, which is at 60%.
5. Bradley Beal (SG - WAS): Beal really struggled through his first two games, shooting a combined 2 of 13 from the field to score 10 points. However, he's been on a roll the past three games, averaging 18.3 points on 47.5% shooting. The Wizards may be 0-5, but at least fans can look forward to seeing their young shooting guard take the floor.
6. Alexey Shved (PG/SG - MIN): A largely unknown name, Shved was undrafted in 2012 before leaving his professional team in Russia to sign with the Timberwolves. The 6'6'' guard has been filling the stat sheet in Minnesota, averaging 7.2 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.2 rebounds through his first six games (and that's including his 0 points, 0 assists, 1 rebound debut). He'll likely need to improve his field goal percentage (35.7%) to stay this high on the list, but he's gotten off to a surprisingly nice start to the season.
7. Jonas Valanciunas (C - TOR): This 20 year old rookie was actually drafted 5th overall in the 2011 draft, but was not able to play in the NBA last season because of his contract with his professional Lithuanian team. Finally in the NBA, Valanciunas is averaging 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in only 20.0 minutes of play. Like Shved, Valanciunas will have to get his shooting percentage (44%) up if he wants to make a push up the list.
8. Tyler Zeller (PF/C - CLE): Zeller was having his best game of the young season last week against the Clippers before suffering a concussion and broken cheek bone that have kept him off the court since that game. Zeller had 15 points (6 of 10 from the field), seven rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes before getting knocked out. He's now averaging 7.5 points per game on 50% shooting with 4.5 rebounds through four games, and the Cavaliers hope he can return to action for Saturday's game against the Mavericks.
9. Jae Crowder (SF/PF - DAL): Crowder has been playing decent minutes for the Mavericks, even earning a starting role in three of their seven games. The Marquette alum is averaging 7.7 points on 46.7% shooting (41.7% from three) with 2.7 rebounds, and has brought a ton of hustle and energy to his new team. His free throw shooting is down at 40%, but you can expect that to come up a bit, as he shot 73.5% during his final year in college.
10. Harrison Barnes (SF - GS): Barnes, who has played and started in every game for the Warriors, earned himself an increase in minutes after being efficient early in the season. He was rewarded with three straight games getting 29+ minutes, but only averaged 9.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists over that span. He then played only 19 minutes the following game (which went into double overtime), compared to his backup Richard Jefferson's 23 minutes. Despite his struggles, he's sixth among rookies in scoring, which earned him the final spot in the top ten.
Just Missed the Cut: Brian Roberts (PG - NO), Kyle Singler (SF/PF - DET), Andre Drummond (C - DET)