Bryan Armen Graham
Tuesday December 2nd, 2008

Can a Bull market and a Bear market can coexist? If you're talking about our weekly Rookie Rankings, they can.For the fourth straight week, Derrick Rose of the Bulls and O.J. Mayo of the Grizzlies headline the table in the first and second slots, respectively. Both players have emerged as co-front-runners for Rookie of the Year honors through five weeks.But there's plenty to watch beyond the Big Two as one of the deepest rookie classes in recent memory lives up to advance billing. Players like Brook Lopez, D.J. Augustin and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are adjusting to more prominent roles in the starting lineup, while others like Michael Beasley, Rudy Fernandez and George Hill are reacclimating themselves to service off the bench.(All stats and records are through Monday.)

NBA Rookie Rankings
1Derrick Rose
Last Week: 1
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
The Bulls played just twice last this week, enabling Rose the opportunity for some well-deserved rest on the back end of Chicago's seven-game road trip. After a pedestrian effort last Wednesday in San Antonio (10 points, six rebounds, six assists), Rose shone throughout Sunday's victory in Philadelphia. He finished with 18 points and 10 assists -- his second career double-double -- and undressed Andre Miller with a devastating crossover move just before the intermission. On Monday, Rose became the runaway choice for Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month.
2O.J. Mayo
Last Week: 2
O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis is an awful team, having collected just one victory since Nov. 7. But Mayo continues to demonstrate a preternatural instinct for scoring while logging some serious mileage for a first-year player: a rookie-high 39.4 minutes per game. Another positive trend is Mayo's improving shooting percentage. In three games last week, the USC product averaged 28.0 points on 59.6 percent from the field. Mayo was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month on Monday after amassing the highest scoring average for a first-year player in his first month since Allen Iverson averaged 23.4 points in Nov. 1996.
3Brook Lopez
Last Week: 4
Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets
With the Nets playing four games on the West Coast last week, Lopez worked in a Thanksgiving meal with his family in Fresno. The home cooking did him good: He collected 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in a career-high 42 minutes last Friday at Sacramento. Foul trouble remains an issue for the 7-footer, but no one can argue with the results. The Nets have won seven of nine games since Lopez replaced Josh Boone in the starting lineup. Said Boone to the Newark Star-Ledger: "He can score on pretty much anybody in this league. There hasn't been anyone yet that he has come against who has forced him to rethink his move. He's done a great job."
4Marc Gasol
Last Week: 3
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Steady as he goes: Gasol has scored in double figures 10 straight games. In three games last week, the 23-year-old Spaniard averaged 13.3 points (on 57.1 percent shooting), 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots. But the Grizzlies continue to struggle despite Gasol's reliable post play. "Everybody has to look at themselves and bring it on their own," Gasol told the Memphis Commerical Appeal. "There's no magic pill. We're killing each other in practice. We're fighting. We're hassling. But somehow when we come to the games, we start good and then we lose it slowly."
5D.J. Augustin
Last Week: 6
D.J. Augustin, Charlotte Bobcats
You can't say enough about Larry Brown's masterstroke decision to play Augustin at point guard and Raymond Felton at shooting guard. The Texas product is averaging 16.4 points and 5.4 assists in eight games as a starter. He's also averaged 2.7 three-pointers since Brown made the move, helping to keep defenses honest on the perimeter. Since the switch, the Bobcats have managed to win three of five games.
6Michael Beasley
Last Week: 5
Michael Beasley, Miami Heat
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra moved Beasley out of the starting lineup last Friday at Phoenix, and the forward from Kansas State responded with the worst game of his career, going scoreless in 13 minutes. Beasley embraced his sixth-man role Saturday against the Clippers, though, coming off the bench to score 24 points (on 10-for-16 shooting) in 27 minutes. "He'll respond," Spoelstra told the Palm Beach Post of Beasley's new role. "Michael always responds. And there's nothing like the carrot of playing time." As if on cue, Beasley scored 19 points in Golden State on Monday, stealing an inbounds pass with 5.7 seconds left in OT and splitting a pair of foul shots to win the game.
7Greg Oden
Last Week: 8
Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers
Oden continues to struggle with inconsistency. In between a pair of double-doubles last week against the Heat (10 points and 10 rebounds) and the Pistons (11 points and 13 rebounds), the center had one point and eight rebounds in 24 minutes against the Hornets. "His defense is far ahead of his offense, but I think he's going to be a very good offensive player," Pistons coach Michael Curry told the Detroit Free Press. "He'll be able to demand some help down in the paint. Defensively, he has great timing. He's big and he clogs up the paint for them."
8Mario Chalmers
Last Week: NR
Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat
The Kansas alum is building on his reputation as a defensive spark plug and capable offensive counterpoint to Dwyane Wade, who's enjoying the best season of his career. Chalmers is averaging 2.1 steals, tops among rookies and sixth in the NBA overall. But his three-point shooting has been the most pleasant surprise. In Miami's past three games, Chalmers has hit 8-of-15 shots from beyond the arc while averaging 12.0 points and 4.3 assists.
9Rudy Fernandez
Last Week: 10
Rudy Fernandez, Portland Trail Blazers
Anybody who watched the Olympics last summer knows Fernandez is more than just a sniper, but Portland coach Nate McMillan is deploying the 23-year-old Spaniard as a perimeter specialist. So far, it's worked. Typically the first backcourt player off the bench, Fernandez has attempted 84 of his 133 shots from beyond the arc, connecting on 42.9 percent from deep. But if Portland loses one of its principals to injury, Fernandez will be available for fill-in duty.
10Jason Thompson
Last Week: 9
Jason Thompson, Sacramento Kings
After starting 10 of Sacramento's first 17 games, Thompson has struggled to adjust to a permanent reserve role since the return of fourth-year swingman Francisco Garcia from injury. Thompson's numbers are starting to suffer as the Kings have dropped nine of their past 10 games -- and foul trouble is becoming a more constant issue. "In the Portland game, I had two fouls in the first seven minutes, and then I had three fouls in the first 10 minutes of the [Nets] game," Thompson told the Sacramento Bee. "I've just got to learn what I can and cannot do. I mean, I thought I could be some kind of physical, have some type of contact when a guy is cutting, but I guess not. Or maybe it's a rookie thing or something like that. I've just got to learn and stay out of foul trouble."
Honorable Mention
George Hill, Spurs (11.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists in three games); Kevin Love, Timberwolves (10.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg in four games); Eric Gordon, Clippers (14.5 ppg, 3.0 apg, 5-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc in two games); Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Bucks (5.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg in three games; averaging rookie-best 7.2 rebounds).
Dropped Out

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.