We’ve been over a month into the NBA season and rookies are starting to find their place at the next level.
Some hot starts have cooled off, some surprising starts have returned to Earth and other freshmen are still in the process of establishing their roles on their squad.
And then there’s No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, who missed the first four games of his rookie season with an ankle injury before he needed a few games to get rid of the rust and s’ adapt, now looking like the player he was meant to be.
He’s chasing the top spot on this week’s rookie ladder, putting some pressure on some of his classmates who stole the headlines to start the year.
Where did Cunningham end up? Take a look and find out below.
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2021-22 NBA Rookie Scale
5. Jalen Green, Houston Rockets
Statistics: 14.0 PTS, 3.1 CER, 2.3 AST, 38.2 FG%, 27.8 3P%
Best game: October 24 against BOS – 30 points (11-18 FG, 8-10 3PT), four rebounds, three assists, two blocks, one steal
One thing to know: As you would expect for a No.2 pick playing for one of the worst teams in the league, Green sees each team’s best defenseman.
According to NBA stats, his four most frequent clashes at this point in the season (in terms of clash minutes and partial possessions) have been Avery Bradley, Luguentz Dort, Marcus Smart and Mikal Bridges. While Bradley is past his prime, he and Smart are still twice members of the All-Defensive squad, and Dort and Bridges are widely recognized as two of the league’s top perimeter defenders today.
Green struggles in a few areas that were seen as weaknesses before his rookie season – like shooting consistency and efficiency, shot selection and defense – but he also doesn’t have much help around. him and play without a real point guard to place him for a better appearance.
Even though Green didn’t leave for the rookie-of-the-year caliber debut most people expected, he still had some extremely promising flashes and it would have been wrong to let him out of the top five this year. scale because of the attention he receives from opposing defenses every night.
The best is yet to come for the 19-year-old.
4. Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder
Statistics: 10.8 PTS, 7.3 REB, 5.8 AST, 1.0 STL, 40.7 FG%, 28.6 3P%
Best game: October 27 vs. LAL – 18 points (7-13 FG, 2-5 3PT), 10 assists, two rebounds, one steal
One thing to know: Giddey is the top passer in this draft class.
The Australian keeper was already known as an elite playmaker after leading the NBL with 7.4 assists per game last season, earning Rookie of the Year honors. Early in his NBA career, he looked like a lock for the assists crown among his rookie classmates.
Giddey had 105 assists in 18 games, the over a mile among freshmen (Davion Mitchell is second at 68). With his strong start as a passer and rebounder, Giddey has placed himself in elite company in NBA history.
The only other teens to total at least 100 assists and 100 rebounds in their first 20 NBA games? LeBron James and LaMelo Ball.
Handing out assists like this below, it’s not hard to see just how good Giddey is when it comes to preparing his teammates.
3. Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Statistics: 13.1 PTS, 6.2 REB, 4.9 AST, 1.2 STL, 33.9 FG%, 25.0 3P%
Best game: Nov 19 vs. GSW – 19 points (6-12 FG, 3-8 3PT), six assists, six rebounds, three steals, two blocks
One thing to know: Cunningham is just getting started.
An ankle injury held up the No. 1 overall pick for the first four games of his NBA career and he didn’t look 100% on his return either. Some really poor shooting performances – like a career 1 for 21 from 3 – destroyed his divisions early on, but Cunningham is starting to find his rhythm.
He had a five-game streak where he averaged 16.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game, looking like the No.1 pick. He landed the first triple. -double in his rookie class, with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers, demonstrating his ability to do anything.
He’s had a few other poor shooting performances since, which is typical for a rookie, but Cunningham still looks more ready in every passing game.
The 20-year-old may have started the rookie of the year run behind 8-ball, but he’s chasing the prize in the future.
2. Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors
Statistics: 14.8 PTS, 8.4 REB, 3.3 AST, 1.0 STL, 48.6 FG%, 26.3 3P%
Best game: October 22 at BOS – 25 points (11-17 FG, 1-2 3PT), 13 rebounds, two assists
One thing to know: Barnes is the only rookie to rank in the top five in points (1st), rebounds (1st), assists (5th), steals (T-5th) and blocks (T-5th) per game .
The No. 4 overall pick had a stellar start to his career, registering two 20-point double-doubles in his first seven games. Since missing two games with a sprained thumb, the 20-year-old has calmed down a bit, but it’s also worth noting that during that time all-star striker Pascal Siakam came back in line.
|First 10 games||17.0||53.3||8.5||2.6||1.1||0.6|
|Last seven matches||11.6||40.7||8.3||4.3||0.9||0.4|
Barnes still affects the game in other ways with his versatile high-level defense, effort on the glass, and slight increase in assists, but his score and efficiency have plummeted. He was in an early season battle with Evan Mobley for Rookie of the Year and had the opportunity to gain ground with Mobley sidelined, but Barnes didn’t do much to capitalize and now Cunningham is right behind him.
The rookie forward has always been stellar and plays a vital role for the Raptors, but he didn’t retain the top spot in the standings this week.
1. Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers
Statistics: 14.6 PTS, 8.0 REB, 2.5 AST, 1.6 BLK, 1.0 STL, 49.4 FG%, 30.8 3P%
Best game: Oct 23 vs ATL – 17 points (7-12 FG), 11 rebounds, four blocks, two steals, one assist
One thing to know: Mobley is one of four NBA players this season – joining Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and Karl Anthony-Towns – to average at least 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal per game.
Now, of course, the rookie is averaging the fewest points per game in the field by a significant margin, but it’s an impressive undertaking nonetheless.
Mobley was great for the Cavaliers before his injury, making Cleveland a competitive team in the Eastern Conference. According to NBA stats, when Mobley is on the ground, the Cavaliers have a defensive rating of 99.6, which would be the best defense in the NBA. When not on the court, their defensive rating swells to 108.8, which would be a top-10 defense in the NBA.
Mobley’s ability to protect the rim, but also to get out of the perimeter and hang on, made him a seamless transition between him and the other big man in the Cleveland franchise, Jarrett Allen.
As of November 16, the 20-year-old is set to miss two to four weeks with a sprained elbow, giving these other rookies time to catch up in the awards race, but no one has. until now.
Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic: Wagner has been a jack of all trades for a struggling Magic team, averaging 12.4 points per game while also providing rambling play and defense.
Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers: Duarte has calmed down after his meteoric debut, but the rookie is also facing a role change, now coming off the bench when Caris LeVert returns. He still averages 13.3 points while achieving a clear increase of 37.9% from 3.
Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings: Mitchell cracks this list strictly for his own defense, taking on tough assignments for Kings such as Stephen Curry, Donovan Mitchell, Chris Paul and Damian Lillard.
Herb Jones, New Orleans Pelicans: Jones also gets a shout out due to his defense, providing a skill set few other Pelicans players have. According to NBA stats, New Orleans is 22.0 points per 100 possessions better when the defensive specialist is on the field.
NBA Rookie Ranking 2020-21
|Points per playmaker||Scottie Barnesy||Raptors||14.8 PPG|
|Rebounds per playmaker||Scottie Barnes||Raptors||8.4 RPG|
|Assists by playmaker||Josh Giddey||thunder||5.8 APG|
|Thefts by playmaker||Jones Grass||pelicans||1.3 SPG|
|Blocks per playmaker||Evan mobley||Riders||1.6 BPG|
The opinions on this page do not necessarily represent those of the NBA or its clubs.