NBA Rookie Ladder: Is Raptors’ Scottie Barnes still near the top?

HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 10: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 10: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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NBA Rookie Ladder, Cam Thomas
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 10: Cam Thomas #24 of the Brooklyn Nets, a rival to Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes on the NBA Rookie Ladder (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes started the season off so insanely hot that he was without question on top of the NBA Rookie Ladder. However, thanks to what has become a historically deep 2021 class, the rest of the standout rookies appear to have made up most of the ground.

In addition to names like Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham jostling for position at the top, players picked near the end of the first round and beginning of the second round are showing that they can keep up with some of their more highly-touted rookie contemporaries.

This race is getting more competitive than ever, as a top tier of about four or five rookies is starting to crystallize. Still, the All-Rookie teams are completely up in the air. One of two hot weeks in the second half of the season just might be enough to sneak onto the second team.

What is the NBA Rookie Ladder looking like now that the season is starting to wind down? Is Barnes still on top? Has another standout rookie kicked him out of the top spot after a strong close to the first half?

NBA Rookie Ladder: Where is Toronto Raptors star Scottie Barnes?

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. SG. player. 147. Brooklyn Nets. Cam Thomas. 10

While names like Davion Mitchell, Alperen Sengun, and the red-hot Jonathan Kuminga could’ve gone here, Thomas gets this spot because of how he’s bloomed for the injury-laden Nets over the last few weeks. Thomas is averaging 13.7 points per game on 47% shooting since the start of the new year.

Thomas is the victim of some very inconsistent playing time depending on the status of Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons. However, Thomas has been so effective that even when this team is fully healthy, the No. 27 pick needs to get some consistent rotation minutes.

NBA Rookie Ladder: Cam Thomas has impressed the Nets.

Scouting Report. SG. Houston Rockets. player. 169. Pick Analysis. Jalen Green. 9

Green went from an efficient rookie chucking up shots willy nilly in the early parts of the season to a young dynamo who looks more composed as the season has gone on. Green has connected on 46% of his shots and 41% of his 3-point attempts for Houston since the start of February.

The Rockets are still a few years away from giving Green the structure he needs to become a true star in this league, but he’s looked much more comfortable in the pros this season now that he has some extra games under his belt. Dunk contest notwithstanding, Green has tons of momentum behind him.