The NBA Season is here and we’ve finally gotten a look at how our rookies are being used! Two weeks into the season and we are already into November so let’s see how the Rookie Ladder is shaping up.
Dropping out: This group of players was on our pre-season top 15 who’ve failed to crack their teams’ rotations so early in the year or failed to maintain a spot so they’re going to be moved off the ladder for now. Cam Whitmore (Houston Rockets ), Anthony Black (Orlando Magic ), Taylor Hendricks (Utah Jazz [HM]), and Jarace Walker (Indiana Pacers ).
Updated Honorable Mentions: Keyonte George (Utah Jazz, new), Julian Strawther (Denver Nuggets), Gradey Dick (Toronto Raptors ), Tourmani Camara (Portland Trailblazers, new), Bilal Coulibaly (Washington Wizards).
Scoot Henderson – PG – Portland Trailblazers (-8)
Scoot has had a rough start to his career from an efficiency standpoint but the process is still there. He’s shown an ability to get to the rim, if not a command to finish when he’s there. He’s also flashed that playmaking upside.
Derek Lively III – C – Dallas Mavericks (Formerly Honorable Mention)
Derek might be benefiting from having two Hall of Fame ball handlers helping him out but… honestly, he’s been really good. Derek provides a rim runner for Dallas that has most fans doing double-takes to make sure Tyson Chandler hasn’t come out of retirement. If he keeps up the effort he can end up shooting even further up this board.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. – SF/PF – Miami Heat (Formerly Honorable Mention)
JJJ even got a start due to early load management from Jimmy Butler. He’s just a massive effort dude who feels destined to be a good player for the Heat for years. Every minute he’s on the court drips of effort and energy. He’s a joy to watch.
Cason Wallace – PG/SG – Oklahoma City Thunder (Unranked)
Cason is shooting unsustainably well through the first few games. He’s going to be good, but not this good. Also, expect him to suffer from a minutes squeeze as this Thunder team gets healthier.
Sasha Vezenkov – SF/PF – Sacramento Kings (Unranked)
Every year an overseas vet makes their NBA “Rookie” Debut and looks perfectly capable… Sasha is proving why he was a touted European player and is going to be a significant contributor for Coach Mike Brown moving forward. He’s not going to get massive minutes as the front court in Sac-town gets healthier but he’s going to be really good when he does play.
Ausar Thompson – G/F – Detroit Pistons (No Change)
Ausar is taking advantage of the injuries to the wing depth in Detroit and making an immediate impact showing an ability to play connectivity and even a willingness to take the three-ball. His disruptiveness defensively is his current calling card but the offense could really come soon. Right now I’ve provided links of him and his brother demolishing rims on the fast break.
Amen Thompson – PG/SG/SF – Houston Rockets (No Change)
Amen barely squeaks over his brother in these rankings because of his impact creating off-dribble. However, depending on the seriousness of his ankle injury, he could easily fall. His energy on both ends of the floor and a surprising propensity for well-timed cuts without the ball have made him a moderate positive on a dismal bench unit for Houston.
Brandon Miller – SF/PF – Charlotte Hornets (+7)
Dear Hornets fans… At least Brandon remembered how to shoot. Brandon is actually a bright spot on a terrible Hornets team that is still a massive dumpster fire but he’s currently leading all rookies in scoring.
Chet Holmgren – C/PF – Oklahoma City Thunder (+1)
Chet is so good. This early in the year we are still projecting a little bit, however, if I wasn’t Chet would have grabbed the number one spot. His body looks filled out, the aggression is there. He’s on a good team. Chet is really fun to watch and you should catch as many Thunder games as you can.
Victor Wembanyama – Space Alien – San Antonio Spurs (No Change)
Wemby is as advertised. He’s struggled to get the jumper to fall but other than that he’s doing all the crazy things we thought he would do, pull-ups off isos, jaw-dropping blocks, and a surprising amount of touch around the rim. Space Aliens gonna Space Alien.