Kia Rookie Ladder: Lay of land in chase results in Doncic’s drop

For now, Younger retains the highest spot, based mostly totally on Doncic’s most up-to-date two video games — which noticed him go 10-for-34 from the sphere (2-for-13 on Three-pointers). Doncic, who stays the frontrunner for ROY based mostly off the season on a complete, had one in all his worst video games of the season Tuesday, scoring 12 factors whereas committing 9 turnovers (the second time within the final three weeks he’s had that many) in a 112-105 loss to the Spurs.

Younger had struggles of his personal, however he picked up his first triple-double and led the Hawks to 2 wins to barely — simply barely — maintain off Doncic. 

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1. Trae Younger, Atlanta Hawks


Trae Younger logged his first NBA triple-double in a loss to the Nets final week.

Final week:  No. 1

Younger had the primary triple-double by a rookie in Hawks historical past Saturday, which was one of many highlights of his week. However to be honest to what I stated above about Doncic’s clunker, Younger additionally had a dud of a recreation this week, going 2-for-14 from the sphere (Zero-for-Four on Three-pointers) in opposition to the New Orleans Pelicans. Nonetheless, Younger additionally had 10 assists (5 within the fourth quarter) and helped facilitate a 128-116 win when his shot wasn’t falling (he missed his first 9 makes an attempt). Coach Lloyd Pierce was impressed by Younger’s skill to deal with the tough capturing evening. ”He got here within the fourth quarter and performed 12 straight minutes and shifted to only a playmaker,” Pierce stated. ”I feel it is a signal of maturity. I feel he’ll have these video games once in a while and perceive he can nonetheless affect a recreation.”

2. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks


Luka Doncic displays on his rise to stardom in his first season within the NBA.

Final week:  No. 2

To Doncic’s credit score, the rookie wasn’t even certain he’d play within the embarrassing loss to the Spurs, during which he went 1-for-9 from the free throw line. “Simply in my head, I’m considering I’m going to overlook it. I’ve simply set to work on that. I’ve received to assume I’m going to make each shot.” Doncic had suffered a knee pressure in opposition to the Rockets, however fought by the harm, which is admirable contemplating the Mavs’ place within the standings. “Actually I wasn’t 100 p.c, however I wish to play. I wish to play at all times. Regardless that we’re not taking part in for that a lot proper now I simply wish to play each recreation.” You’ve received to like the angle.

Three. Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers


The Cavs upset the Raptors behind a monster recreation from Collin Sexton.

Final week:  Not ranked

Sexton has had his ups and downs this season, however he stated this week “the sport is beginning to decelerate a bit of bit.” And it exhibits. In three video games this week, the purpose guard averaged 27 factors on 58.2 p.c capturing, hitting 57.9 p.c of his Three-pointers. Sexton was big within the Cavs’ shock win vs. Toronto, scoring 28 factors with 4 rebounds, 5 assists and nil turnovers. He was 10-for-18 from the sphere, and afterward coach Larry Drew stated it may need been his greatest recreation of the season. “I actually thought tonight was in all probability as full of a recreation as I’ve seen Collin play with reference to him scoring, getting us into an offense and his decision-making. … He performed a terrific all-around recreation.” An evening later, he practically willed the Cavs to a win in Philly, scoring 26 factors on 11-for-20 capturing. It’s clear he’s turning into extra assured working the group and discovering his scoring spots.

Four. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns


DeAndre Ayton comes up with a block in opposition to the Jazz on Wednesday.

Final week:  No. Three

Ayton was essential to the Suns’ shocking upset of the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, scoring 18 factors and grabbing 9 rebounds within the 115-111 win. However Wednesday’s loss to the Utah Jazz was a special story. Going in opposition to Rudy Gobert, Ayton completed with two factors on 1-for-9 capturing in 32 ineffective minutes. Ayton didn’t maintain again on his efficiency. “Total, I give myself an F-minus,” Ayton instructed reporters. “This was a foul recreation. I positively put this loss on me. I simply wasn’t locked in. I do not know what’s taking place. The photographs I took have been fairly unhealthy. That is positively the worst recreation I’ve ever performed.”


5. Landry Shamet, LA Clippers

Landry Shamet has made 46.9 p.c of his Three-pointers with the Clippers.

Final week:  No. Four

Shamet goes to play a giant function within the Clippers’ run towards the playoffs. He’s getting 28.5 minutes per recreation in L.A. (he received 20.5 mpg with the Sixers), averaging 12.1 factors on 44.1 p.c capturing. He’s pulling down 46.9 p.c of his Three-pointers with the Clippers, simply main rookies in Three-point capturing on the season. When you haven’t seen a Clippers recreation but, Shamet is price trying out. His skill to come back off screens and get his shot off rapidly is a factor of magnificence. 

Simply missed the reduce: 

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks
Brunson has scored in double figures in 5 straight and had his greatest recreation within the Mavs’ loss to the Spurs. The second-round decide scored 34 factors and averaged 23.Three ppg, Four.7 rpg and 5.7 apg whereas capturing 65 p.c total (and 41.7 p.c on Three-pointers) this week. “He is in all probability grown greater than any participant,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle stated. “When you return to the Summer season League in July, in case you’d seen him play then and also you noticed him play tonight, you’d say ‘Wow.’ “

Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks
The younger sharpshooter scored 27 within the Hawks’ 128-116 win over the Pelicans on Sunday, going 11-for-18 from the sphere (Four-for-7 on Three-pointers). On an evening Younger struggled to seek out his shot, Huerter was wanted and the Hawks stored searching for their different rookie. ”My teammates began discovering me,” Huerter stated. ”They began working performs for me nearly each possession down the court docket.” Huerter adopted that up with 16 factors, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in Wednesday’s win in opposition to Memphis.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LA Clippers
Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 12 ppg in three video games and was his constant self from the sphere, capturing 52 p.c total (and Three-for-Four on Three-pointers). He helped L.A. get wins in opposition to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder and Boston Celtics earlier than seeing their five-game win streak finish Tuesday in opposition to Portland. The Clippers are profitable whereas beginning two rookies, so if watching rookies is your factor, they could be price adopting down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Frank Jackson, New Orleans Pelicans
Jackson has been talked about on this area a couple of occasions this season, however he’s actually blossomed over the previous few weeks. He’s scored in double digits in six of his final eight video games and averaged 19 ppg and 46.Four p.c capturing in his final three video games whereas filling in for Jrue Vacation. “I feel with him, it’s all about confidence,” coach Alvin Gentry stated of Jackson’s enchancment. “I feel the extra he performs, the extra confidence he will get. The large factor for me is that he’s not duplicating errors. You inform him one thing after which he takes that out of his recreation and tries to take a step ahead. That’s the large factor.”

* * *

(All stats by Wednesday, March 13)

Ship any questions or feedback to my e-mail or discover me on Twitter @drewpackham.

The views on this web page don’t essentially replicate the views of the NBA, its golf equipment or Turner Broadcasting.

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