The league’s newest group of players are continuing to forge roles on their respective squads. And grappling for positions as the best of the league's newcomers in the process.
Through Dec. 8, Orlando’s Paolo Banchero has been far-and-away the most dominant rookie. Averaging 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game on the season, Banchero is playing closer to an All-Star than he is a frosh.
Following Banchero and finishing off the elite tier is Indiana’s Bennedict Mathurin, who, via averaging 18.3 points on over 40 percent 3-point shooting this season, is giving other Sixth Man of the Year candidates a run for their money.
Risers this week include Oklahoma City’s Jalen Williams and Pacers’ guard Andrew Nembhard, both of which are seeing increased playmaking opportunities alongside their productive play.
Williams jumped up one spot to No. 5, following 13.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 56 percent in his last five games.
Nembhard has seen a similar spike, averaging 16.8 points and 8.5 assists in his last 4 games, including a 31-point detonation against the Warriors.
Other rookies who have impressed of late have been Houston’s Tari Eason, who continued to do more with less, and Atlanta’s AJ Griffin, who is carving out a role with the Hawks.
Here is Draft Digest’s full rookie ladder through Dec. 8:
1. Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
2. Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers
3. Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons
4. Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings
5. Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City
7. Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets
7. Andrew Nembhard, Indiana Pacers
8. Tari Eason, Houston Rockets
9. AJ Griffin, Atlanta Hawks
10. Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers