Fresh off the NBA All-Star break, the season is back for its second half. It seemed like a much-needed break for these rookies, and they returned to action and picked up right where they left off. These five have consistently ranked on this list all year, and it is earned. They are the future of the NBA, and are even helping some of their teams to success this season. How did they do in their first week back from break?
Make sure to check out the last edition right here.
5. Josh Giddey, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
After an impressive rookie campaign, Giddey looks to be out indefinitely with a hip injury. The Thunder were excited to have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander back to the court to pair with him. Following their game Sunday, Oklahoma City head coach Mark Daigneault, said he could miss some serious time. For now, the injury puts a damper on any chance of Rookie of the Year success. Despite the injury, Giddey is averaging 12.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and just over six assists per game this year for the Thunder.
4. Franz Wagner, SG, Orlando Magic
It seemed that Wagner did not miss a beat with the All-Star break. The Berlin, Germany native returned to the hardwood in a 13-point performance to power the Magic to a win over the Houston Rockets. He also added eight rebounds and three assists to wrap up the night. Wagner found an open layup and converted with just under two minutes left in the game to put it beyond reach. He followed up with a 15-point performance against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
3. Scottie Barnes, PF, Toronto Raptors
Barnes was another who did not miss a beat following the All-Star break. The dynamic forward put up a game-high 28 points despite a blowout loss to the Charlotte Hornets Friday. The Raptors traveled to Atlanta to take on the Hawks after the loss. They were again handed a 27-point loss, where Barnes managed just six points. He bounced back with a monster first half against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. The Florida native scored 24 of his 28 in the first half, without missing a single shot. Toronto currently sits as the seventh seed in the East. If they want to avoid the play-in tournament, they will need Barnes to be more consistent in the second half of the season.
2. Cade Cunningham, PG, Detroit Pistons
Cunningham was having fun on Thursday, as he helped lead his team to a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Arlington, TX native returned to the hardwood for the first time since the All-Star break and had a significant impact. He scored 17 points while also adding six rebounds and assists. He has been growing all season with his offensive game to become more of a playmaker in addition to his scoring. Cunningham kept active when he scored 25 points against the Boston Celtics Saturday night, despite the loss. He would also add 19 points in an overtime win against the Hornets Sunday. The future is very bright in Detroit with Cunningham at the helm.
1. Evan Mobley, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Mobley has been sensational all year for the Cavaliers, and it did not stop after break. Despite the loss to the Pistons Thursday night, Mobley was able to provide 12 points along with eight rebounds. He kept the energy going with a 14 point, 11 rebound double-double against the Washington Wizards Saturday night. Mobley has been big on the glass all year, resembling Tristan Thompson and his offensive rebounding with the Cavs in 2016. He finished the week with a 15 point double-double in a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mobley continually proves to be front-runner for Rookie of the Year.
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