There is no change in the current top five rankings in a week where we saw awe-inspiring rookie performances. Is that boring? Perhaps. Around the league, more and more rookies are stepping up, and we will surely see a change soon to the list. These rookies continue to ball out as we enter December and as the all-star break is nearing, will be interesting to see these young rookies take part in the weekend. No shift in the top five, but let’s see how these rookies handled this past week around the association.
5. Josh Giddey, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
Giddey and the Thunder were on the wrong side of history this week, losing to the Memphis Grizzlies Thursday 152-79, the most significant score differential in NBA history. The loss was no thanks to Giddey, as he’s missed the last two Thunder games due to illness. In the one game the Melbourne, Australia native played, he posted a poor performance with just two points on 1-9 shooting in 25 minutes against the Houston Rockets. He then posted 12 points Monday in the win over the Detriot Pistons.
4. Franz Wagner, SF, Orlando Magic
Wagner continues his strong rookie campaign with another solid week. The Berlin, Germany native started the week with a 15 point performance on a decisive 6-9 shooting in the win against the Denver Nuggets. Wagner has established himself as a critical player in Orlando’s rotation, averaging nearly 32 minutes per game. He followed up with a 17 point performance and five rebounds and assists in a loss to the Rockets before posting 15 points in the loss to the Golden State Warriors Monday night. He can knock down open jumpers, create chances for his teammates and himself, and play great defense. The future is bright for Wagner in Orlando.
3. Cade Cunningham, PG, Detroit Pistons
It’s difficult being handed the keys to the worst team in the NBA, but Cunningham has proven that he’s more than capable of running an offense. The No. 1 pick from Oklahoma State had an intense week despite the Pistons losing to both the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns. Cunningham dropped 26 points in the loss to Portland while shooting 76 percent from the floor. He also hit 5-7 from beyond the arc in the loss. He followed up with a 19 point performance against Phoenix before scoring a career-high 28 points in the loss to the Thunder on Monday. There’s no question whether he’s good or not (he’s outstanding). How can pieces around him help elevate his game in Detroit?
2. Scottie Barnes, SF, Toronto Raptors
Barnes continues his dominant rookie campaign in Toronto. Barnes and the Raptors went 2-1 on the week, including over the current champions, the Milwaukee Bucks. The West Palm Beach, Florida native, is averaging 14.8 points per game along with eight rebounds on the season. While Toronto is looking on the outside right now, Barnes can help this young core get into a playoff spot in a short time.
1. Evan Mobley, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
After dealing with a slight injury, Mobley is firmly in control with the No. 1 spot on the list after a whole week back. With Cleveland going 2-1 on the week, Mobley slid back into a comfortable role. The 6’11” big man from San Diego, California, posted two double-double performances in the stretch. He had 17 points and 11 rebounds in a blowout win over the Miami Heat and 14 points and 12 rebounds in the Utah Jazz’s one-point loss. In Mobley’s rookie season, he has a chance of helping Cleveland back to the playoffs for the first time in over three years.
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Main Image Credit: From Raptora HQ