Rookie ranking: Hornets’ LaMelo Ball sits atop his class as he enters All-Star break


The NBA announced rosters for this year’s non-existent Rising Stars Game, and while we won’t get to see LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Zion Williamson and Ja Morant on the same team, we can only hope the league will make up for it in some way next. anus. The new format the league adopted in 2015, which went from rookies versus sophomores, to team USA versus team world, was supposed to highlight all the international talent the league has seen enter the NBA. in recent years.

However, that shift from fielding an entire team full of rookies meant there would be some notable slights from both rosters, which is exactly what happened this season. Rookies like Immanuel Quickley, Saddiq Bey, Desmond Bane, and Patrick Williams were left off the list, and while it’s completely understandable given that Team USA is absolutely packed, it’s still unfortunate that some rookies have been excellent at the first half of the season will not get that honor.

The current format is a great idea as it shows just how global the game of basketball is, but it also limits some of the brightest in the league from being able to play on a bigger stage. If anything, it just shows how much young talent the NBA has as a whole, showing that the league is in good hands going forward.

Moving now to this week’s rookie rankings. These rankings will reflect a rookie performance from week to week only, not the team season, so these are not Rookie of the Year rankings. With that settled, here’s a look at this week’s best rookies.

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Ball had his second-highest-scoring game of the season when he scored 30 points against the Trail Blazers in a loss, in a performance in which he also dished out eight assists and grabbed four rebounds. He continues to impress with every game, as his passing game is way beyond what people expected, where he shows flashes of being as creative a passer as his brother Lonzo, and his shooting efficiency from both the field and from 3s. the range has continued to improve this season.

He earned Rookie of the Month honors for the second time this season as the clear favorite for Rookie of the Year. Inserting him into the starting lineup has given the Hornets another offensive weapon alongside Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier, making Charlotte one of the most exciting teams to watch this year.

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Edwards had another ridiculous dunk this week, but the most impressive of his three performances was how consistent he was. He had straight 20-point games and a 19-point performance against Ball and the Hornets. The biggest hit remains his inefficiency, still hovering in the low 30s from deep and under 40 percent from the field. This is the time when Edwards can work on his shooting efficiency, so he is expected to experience growing pains, but the Wolves are probably hoping that he can eventually become a more efficient scorer at some point this season.

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Quickley was banned from the Rising Stars roster, but when you look at who made the US roster and remember that it includes rookies and sophomores, then it’s understandable. There were several rookies who would make the cut in any year, but when Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and Tyler Herro are also on the list, then it makes more sense. Other than that though, Quickley had a great week, capped off by a 26-point performance in a loss to the Spurs. He finished the game with a plus-under -13, which is unusual for him considering he’s been so efficient this season, but it was also the second-most minutes he’s played this season, which is also a factor. As he continues to get more playing time, his efficiency is likely to decline slightly, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he has still played a key role in the Knicks having such a strong start to the season.

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Lee is making the most of his continued increase in playing time, as evidenced by a 20-point outing in a surprising win over the Raptors. His development over the past month has been the best part of the Pistons trading Derrick Rose, as Detroit can now evaluate all of its young talents and allow these youngsters to grow up with more opportunities.

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It makes sense for Lee and Bey to be next to each other in the standings, as the Pistons have several young players who continue to impress. But while Lee is on the rise, Bey stumbled a little this week on his 3-point shooting. He’s shooting 40 percent on the year and routinely shoots 50 percent during parts of the season, but in back-to-back games he shot 20 percent from beyond the arc. He combined to go 3-for-13 in a two-game streak against the Knicks and Raptors and couldn’t find other effective ways to contribute to the offense. It may be an outlier, but when your shot isn’t falling you’ll have to find other ways to impact the game.

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The Celtics are 6-3 this season when Pritchard scores 10 or more points off the bench, and his 14 points certainly came in handy in a close game against the Clippers this week. His contribution has been up and down the entire season, and he hasn’t been in the weekly rookie rankings since the start of the season, but quite often he will have a performance like he did against the Clippers, where he went 4 to 4. 4. of 7 from deep, that will show why he has earned his place in Boston’s regular rotation.

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Williams’ performance against Zion Williamson was certainly a revelation this week. Just check this out:

Williams was thrown into the fire early in the season having to protect guys like Giannis and LeBron, and he certainly got outgunned. But looking at how he was able to flesh out a tank from a person like Zion in that clip certainly shows an improvement against bigger opponents. Just another reason why his Chicago pick is getting brighter by the day.

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Tate has been excellent on offense for the Rockets this season, except from behind the arc where he is shooting 32 percent on the year. The Rockets attempt the third-highest number of 3s per game (42), but rank last in 3-point percentage (33.3 percent). If Houston is going to continue this style of play, which relies heavily on 3-point shots, then guys like Tate will need to take down those shots. In a rebuilding year, there is no better time for you to feel comfortable taking that shot.

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Bane was tested in the Memphis game against the Clippers this week, having to control both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on separate occasions. While that is sure to become a learning opportunity for him against a dominant Los Angeles team, Bane continued to work and show small improvements over the course of the game. His one-on-one defense still has a long way to go, but he showed glimpses of being a solid defender, which is everything you can really expect from a rookie.

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In an incredibly shocking victory over the Sixers, Okoro had 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. That was his career high for points and rebounding, and probably closer to the performance the Cavaliers thought they would get from him every night when they selected him fifth overall. It’s a positive sign that he has the ability to score at a high level in this league, but now he needs to build on that and be consistent.



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