The Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers have seen their lottery picks in Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley emerge as Rookie of the Year contenders. They continue to fend off challenges from players drafted above them and are once again high up on the NBA Rookie Ladder.
While a few lottery players that went to winning situations have been stuck to the bench, most of the players that were picked highly have wasted no time in asserting themselves as franchise cornerstones for their respective teams. This is shaping up to be one of the best rookie classes in recent memory.
Even if you look at the late first-round and early second-round selections, there are plenty of impact players that have emerged as contributors that can wiggle into their squad’s long-term plans. This has caused some new faces to crop up in this week’s iteration.
Which star rookies are moving up the NBA Rookie Ladder, and which ones have been sent on a slight downward trend after some iffy performances. With how competitive this class is, one poor stretch can lead to you dropping a few spots.
NBA Rookie Ladder: Is Raptors forward Scottie Barnes still No. 1?
Bones Hyland, Davion Mitchell, and Jalen Suggs all made compelling cases for the final spot, but Robinson-Earl just beat them out. Sam Presti has to be pinching himself when the Villanova product slid to the second round, as he was able to draft a small-ball center that is already in Oklahoma City’s starting lineup.
Robinson-Earl is averaging 7.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game despite getting some extremely difficult matchups against elite Western Conference centers. Robinson-Earl’s offensive game is only going to get better, which could help mold him into one of the Thunder’s main building blocks.
NBA Rookie Ladder: Second-round pick Herbert Jones has been a steal
Like Robinson-Earl, Jones has taken advantage of his situation in New Orleans and immediately become a starter. While JRE has used an efficient offensive game to give the Thunder frontcourt some added punch, Jones has been a lockdown defender with a penchant for causing turnovers.
Jones is averaging 1.6 steals per game and making 48% of his shots on the season. While his status in the rotation might be in question when Zion Williamson returns to the starting lineup, Jones has played too well to be kicked out. The Pelicans may have stumbled into the perfect high-energy big that can come off of the bench.