The NBA 2022 Clorox Rising Stars rosters have been revealed. A draft was conducted by 75th Anniversary Team members and Rising Stars coaches Jon Barry, Gary Payton, Isiah Thomas, and James Worthy. The All-Star Weekend event will be highlighted by some of the league’s best young talent, including leading Kia Rookie of the Year candidates Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham. As rookies approach that weekend, let’s see best performances from this past week.
Make sure to check out last week’s rankings.
5. Josh Giddey, SG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Giddey is making the most of his expanded offensive role at the moment, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle) sidelined for a considerable time. The Melbourne, AUS native exploded in the Thunder’s 113-103 loss to the Sacramento Kings, pouring in a career-high 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting. He added eight assists and four rebounds in 38 minutes. Giddey had 19 shot attempts, which was a career-high. He followed up with a 16-point performance against the Golden State Warriors Monday night. He has recently stepped up his offensive game, and the league is taking notice.
4. Scottie Barnes, SF, Toronto Raptors
The forward started and played 38-plus minutes against the Atlanta Hawks Friday night for the Raptors. Barnes scored 16 points, going 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) from the floor, including 1-of-2 from deep. He was also 3-of-4 from the line. The Toronto rookie added nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals, though he did commit five turnovers. Barnes leads all rookies in offensive rebounds with 114 and has created countless second-chance opportunities for the Raptors on offense. He also had a 21-point outing against the Chicago Bulls while shooting an effective 56 percent from the field.
3. Franz Wagner, SF, Orlando Magic
Wagner has played in every game this season and kept his mistakes to a minimum. The 6-foot-10 wing leads all rookies in total minutes (1,738), points (855), field goals (326), and free throws made (136). He is also top five in assists, steals, and rebounds. In four games this week, the native of Berlin, Germany scored 52 points combined throughout the week. He scored 22 against the Bulls, which was his highest-scoring mark of the week. The former Michigan Wolverine has been a solid pick so far for the Magic.
2. Cade Cunningham, PG, Detroit Pistons
The No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft has gradually adapted to the NBA game better than any rookie this season. The Arlington, TX native has missed the last three games due to a slight hip injury. Cunningham is still listed as day-to-day, but the Pistons don’t believe it’s too severe. Nonetheless, Cunningham has proven he’s one of the top rookies in the NBA today. After a slow start against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 30, he found his rhythm and became the go-to player during crunch time. Cunningham recorded his first triple-double (19 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) in the win over the Cavs and finished at a plus-nine in 37 minutes. The 20-year-old guard was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for January and selected as a Rising Star.
1. Evan Mobley, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
The 7-footer out of USC is one of the best rim protectors in the NBA, and is leading all rookies by a mile with 74 blocks so far this season (Herb Jones comes in at No. 2 with 44). Mobley is a future Defensive Player of the Year candidate and is the leader for the next generation of NBA centers. This week was highlighted by an incredible double-double performance. Mobley poured in 29 points on 60 percent shooting while also grabbing 12 rebounds. Mobley is a strong reason why this new look Cleveland squad is riding red hot on their way to the playoffs.
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Main Image Credit: via Raptors HQ