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Monday, February 5, 2018

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Eyes On NBA: Top 5 NBA Rookies This Season

By @TrueGodImmortal

The NBA Rookie of The Year race is heating up without question, and it looks to be a close two man battle for the trophy so far. As the rookie ladder changes often, I wanted to take a look at the current standing for the top 5 rookies, and the list might surprise you a little bit, but these are the top 5 rookies this season. Let's take a look.

5. Dennis Smith Jr.
(14.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.8 APG)

-The Lakers have ruined Kyle Kuzma that fast in a weird way. A month or two ago, Kuzma was easily in the top 5 of the rookies, but his minutes became limited and he went into a slump, and as a result, the Lakers haven't been good. To be fair, neither have the Mavs, but Dennis Smith Jr. has been good for the most part. He's been in a starting role so his production has meant more to his team at times. If Kuzma can get back on track, he will easily take over the top 5 spot from DSJ, who hasn't been the best shooter, but right now, deciding between the two, I would have to go with DSJ by just a little bit. Hopefully Kuzma catches fire in the coming weeks.

4. Lauri Markkanen
(15.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.3 APG)

-He is only on the list due to the fall off of Kyle Kuzma, but injuries will likely take Lauri out of the discussion for any rookie of the year talk, but he's been consistently impressive this season without a doubt. His injuries aren't severe and he will likely close out the season with the team, but before the recent injury, Lauri had been on fire, hitting threes at a high rate and showcasing his skill on a Bulls team that looks likely to be a Lottery pick team. Lauri could fall out of the top 5 if he doesn't return soon enough, but from what I've seen this season, he's clearly a top rookie on the year.

3. Jayson Tatum
(13.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 49% FG, 44% 3PT)

-In a winning culture, solo accomplishments don't necessarily mean as much, but for Jayson Tatum, he's doing a number of things that many rookies are not, and that alone makes him top of the class. He's been a solid three point shooter and solid scorer when needed, despite a few uneven games, Tatum has looked impressive for the most part. Aside from the fact that they always mention his age, Tatum has been a productive player for the Celtics and a big reason for their 39-15 record so far.

2. Donovan Mitchell
(19.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.5 APG)

-It is now a two horse race between Simmons and Mitchell for the ROTY award and there's a distance between them and everyone else. What Mitchell does best is score, and on a team like the Jazz, he has every ability to do that. He's put up 40 point games, multiple 30 point games, and is almost averaging 20 points a game, which is an elite rookie accomplishment in so many ways. He's been a solid shooter this season as well and at times, he's easily the best player on the floor for Utah who are attempting to make a playoff run after a long losing streak and getting back on track. If the Jazz manage to steal the 7th or the 8th seed, there is no doubt in my mind that the Rookie of the Year might have to go to Mitchell. For now, he sits as the 1B to Simmons and his 1A, with Simmons barely ahead. The ending stretch of the season will be interesting to see how it plays out. Donovan could become the top rookie by March.

1. Ben Simmons
(16.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.8 SPG)

-Ben is losing ground as the Rookie Of The Year race heats up, and had it not been for the last performance from Donovan Mitchell tonight, he might have taken the top spot. Let's keep in mind that many people believe that Ben Simmons was snubbed for All Star, so if that's the case, it's clear he is still at the top of the ladder. Simmons has an all around game, being able to pull down boards, dishing out assists, and score in the post, his only weakness is that he doesn't have a jumper. The fact that he doesn't have a jumper and is still averaging 17 points a game in this era is impressive. If Simmons can develop a mid range game and perhaps the ability to make one three or two per game, he will be even more dangerous. Simmons right now is still at the top of the rookie ladder, but if he goes through another period like he did when he wasn't aggressive, the award is his to lose.



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