By Bryan Armen Graham
March 17, 2009

Russell Westbrook might not be Rookie of the Year -- the Bulls' Derrick Rose is still the favorite -- but he's most certainly the Rookie of the Moment.

The Oklahoma City point guard, who averaged 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in four games over the last week, has edged past Rose to reclaim the top spot in the Rookie Rankings.

He's also helped the Thunder sustain their best form of the season: They've won six of their last nine games, including Monday's comeback win against Spurs, Oklahoma City's first victory against a first-place team this season. Not too shabby for a team whose 2-24 start put it on an early pace to challenge the 1972-73 Sixers for the worst record in NBA history.

O.J. Mayo Marc Gasol Brook Lopez

(All stats and records are through Monday.)

NBA Rookie Rankings
1 Russell Westbrook
Last Week: 2
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Count Nuggets coach George Karl among those who believe Westbrook has caught up to Rose and warrants serious Rookie of the Year consideration. "I like his stride, his power, his courage to learn a new position," Karl told the Denver Post. "I think by March and April, I'm going with Westbrook." Westbrook, who is adjusting to playing full time as a point guard, committed a season-high eight turnovers in Saturday's loss to Phoenix. Therein lies the obvious rub with the raw playmaker: His eye-popping 226 giveaways in 67 games (3.4 average) rank second only to Dwyane Wade.
2 Derrick Rose
Last Week: 1
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Rose, once the runaway favorite for the Rookie of the Year award, continues to lead all first-year players in assists while ranking second in points and minutes. But a slight dip in his production has thrust some drama into the race. He's averaging 14.4 points (on 41.6 percent shooting) and 5.6 assists since the All-Star break, down from 17.0 points (on 47.3 percent) and 6.3 assists before the break.
3 Brook Lopez
Last Week: 4
Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets
The Nets are fading in their bid to make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, but Lopez remains a solid contributor at the center position. He averaged 14.8 points (on 67.6 percent shooting) and 5.8 rebounds in four games over the last week. Earlier this month, Lopez broke the franchise rookie record for blocked shots set by Kenyon Martin in 2000-01. Martin finished that season with 113 blocks, 11 fewer than Lopez has recorded with 15 games to play.
4 Marc Gasol
Last Week: 5
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Last month, the Grizzlies launched a Rookie of the Year campaign for O.J. Mayo. But given the ever-steady Gasol's recent emergence, are we convinced Mayo is even the best rookie on his own team? Gasol is averaging 16.4 points (on 59.7 percent shooting), 9.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in eight games this month, with two 20-10 games. He's also averaging 3.5 assists over that span, which equals Mayo's output, despite the latter's more prominent role in directing the Memphis offense.
5 O.J. Mayo
Last Week: 3
O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies keep losing -- they are 2-13 in their last 15 games to fall behind Westbrook and the Thunder in the Western Conference -- and Mayo's often-inefficient scoring punch has started to ring hollow. Monday's 9-for-16 performance in a loss to the Trail Blazers marked the first time since Feb. 4 that Mayo made better than 50 percent from the field. He is hitting 43.6 percent for the season.
6 Kevin Love
Last Week: 7
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
The top rebounder of the rookie class has impressed Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale with his effort around the basket. "I tell you what, he's a worker," McHale told "He's working constantly out there. The ball goes up and now it's getting to the point where if he doesn't get it you're thinking, What's wrong with him? He's just a relentless worker with great, great, great instincts."
7 Eric Gordon
Last Week: 8
Eric Gordon, L.A. Clippers
Gordon has scored in double figures in 39 of his last 41 games, including all three last week when he averaged 16.0. In 49 starts (he came off the bench the first month of the season), the shooting guard from Indiana has averaged 18.4 points and converted 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range.
8 Michael Beasley
Last Week: 6
Michael Beasley, Miami Heat
Beasley scored eight points in each of Miami's three games last week, playing 23 minutes in a win over the Celtics, 20 minutes in a triple-overtime victory against the Jazz and 15 foul-plagued minutes in a loss at Philadelphia. Beasley didn't record a rebound against the 76ers, his first game without a board this season.
9 Mario Chalmers
Last Week: 10
Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat
The point guard played 53 minutes in that triple-OT win against the Jazz on Saturday, matching his career high with 23 points, adding five steals and committing only one turnover. Perhaps he felt the effects of the heavy workload the following day in Philadelphia, where Chalmers shot 2-of-9 from the field in 38 minutes. Chalmers has only six turnovers in his last four games covering 166 minutes of action.
10 D.J. Augustin
Last Week: NR
D.J. Augustin, Charlotte Bobcats
Augustin is playing an important role off the bench as the Bobcats try to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The 6-foot point guard finished with 18 points (on 7-for-10 shooting) in Saturday's loss in Minnesota and followed it up Monday with 15 points and six assists in a victory over the Raptors. He paces all rookies in free-throw percentage (90.2) and ranks second in three-point shooting (41.9).
Honorable Mention
Rudy Fernandez, Trail Blazers (recovering from chest and hip injuries); Jason Thompson, Kings (13.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.0 blocks in three games); Marreese Speights, 76ers (10.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 17.3 mpg in three games).

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