The 2017 NBA draft class is sizing up to be a great rookie class.
Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum continue to show why they are considered the runaway front-runners for the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. However, Donovan Mitchell may be on the verge of joining those two to make it a three-man race. But you also can’t forget Kyle Kuzma, Lauri Markkanen and even John Collins.
The following is the second look at my top rookie power rankings this season
Stats are current as of Dec. 9.
Antonio Blakeney, Bulls: Was No. 20
Juwan Evans, Clippers: Honorable Mention
Honorable mention (no particular order)
Justin Jackson (down from 19), Juwan Evans, Malik Monk, Josh Hart, TJ Leaf, Milos Teodosic, Brandon Paul, Sindarius Thornwell, Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Luke Kennard and Max Kleiber.
20. Daniel Theis (new), 19. Jarrett Allen (new) 18. Frank Ntilikina (down 1), 17. Dillon Brooks (down 4), 16. Bam Adebayo (down 1)
Top 15 Rookie of the Year Candidates
15. Jordan Bell (Up from honorable mention)
4.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 73.2 FG%
Bell has seen an uptick in minutes over the last two weeks and has rewarded the Warriors with phenomenal work on the glass and as a rim protector. He even scored a season-high 16 points, on 8-of-10 shooting, to go along with five rebounds and three blocks in 16 minutes against the Magic on Dec. 1.
Bell ranks first among rookies in PER (21.88) and true shooting percentage (73.0%). He is also sixth in John Hollinger’s Value Added and Estimated Wins Added stats.
14. Josh Jackson, (Up 4)
9.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 39.2% FG, 24.2% 3PT
Jackson is getting extended minutes with Devin Booker out for around three weeks with a groin injury. Jackson has shown that he can score in this league, reaching double-figures in 13 of 27 games including his last two. The Kansas product’s biggest issue is his shot selection and accuracy from long-range shooting.
Jackson, who has started the last two games, has been much more productive coming off the bench. In five starts, the 6-8 wing has averaged 10.0 points, 1.4 assists and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 33.3% from the field and 38.9% on 3-Pters. On the other hand, he has compiled 9.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists while shooting 40.6% from the field as well as 18.8% from long-range in 18 games as a reserve.
13. Mike James, (Down 3)
10.2 PPG, 3.8 APG, 2.9 RPG, 38.2% FG, 26.2% 3PT
James has continued his inconsistent season over the last month. The 27-year-old undrafted rookie has struggled mightily in his four December games, producing 6.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 37.0% from the field and 0% from beyond the arc (0-8). Overall, James has reached double-figures in scoring in just 3 of his last 14 contests.
12. De’Aaron Fox, (Down 2)
10.5 PPG, 4.1 APG, 3.1 RPG, 40.3% FG, 27.8% 3PT
Fox upped his scoring production in the first week of the month as he has topped the 10 point mark in two of the four games in December thus far, marking the only times he has reached double-figures in his last six contests. The 14 points he scored against the Pelicans (12/8) and Bucks (12/2) are his most since Nov. 4 when he equaled that total against the Pistons.
Fox is averaging 10.5 points, 3.3 rebound and only 2.8 assists while shooting a healthy 45.9% from the field in December. His current 2.8/2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio is his worst of his short career.
11. Frank Mason III, (Up 4)
8.3 PPG, 3.2 APG, 1.9 RPG, 43.2% FG, 50.0% 3PT
The second round draft pick has been a pleasant surprise for the Kings. Mason is currently playing very well, tallying double-figures in three straight while making a 3-pointer in four consecutive contests. He is shooting 46.4% from the field and 50.0% from beyond the arc during this four game stretch. The Kansas product has scored 10 or more points seven times since Nov. 18.
10. OG Anunoby, (Up 4)
6.8 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.9 APG, 50.9% FG, 42.9% 3PT
Anunoby is making an impact for the Raptors despite his lack of statistical glitz. Anunoby tied his season-high with 16 points, on 6-of-9 shooting including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, against the Suns on Dec. 5. It was his second double-figure scoring effort in his last four game. The Indiana product has made multiple three-pointers in seven games this season, and has knocked down 16-of-his-last-33 attempts from beyond the arc.
The 6-8 forward’s best attribute so far has been his offensive and defensive efficiency. He is scoring 1.37 points per shot at a shooting efficiency of 62.7%. Anunoby has turned the ball over just 12 times this season.
9. Bogdan Bogdanovic, (No movement)
9.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2.2 APG, 44.0% FG, 30.9% 3PT
Bogdanovic started December off with a bang,but he was not able to sustain that production in the other three games of the month so far. The 25-year-old produced a season-high 19 points, on 6-of-12 shooting, along with four assists and three steals against Chicago on Dec. 1. However, he has failed to reach double-figures in any of the other three games.
Known as a sharpshooter, Bogdanovic is shooting only 41.7% from the field through more troubling is his paltry 23.1% (3-of-13) from beyond the arc. The 6-6 Serbian has contributed other ways this month, averaging 3.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 25.0 minutes of action this month.
8. Lonzo Ball: (No movement)
8.8 PPG, 7.0 APG, 6.9 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 31.9% FG, 24.3% 3PT
Ball continues to struggle with his shooting, particularly from beyond the arc. The UCLA product is shooting just 21.7% from downtown over his last five contests as he has missed 9 of his last 10 shots from long range.
However, he is still filling the stat sheets in other areas. Ball had one of his best games of the season against Philadelphia on Thursday, posting 10 points along with eight rebounds, eight assists, four blocks and three steals. He was also 5-of-11 from the field.
Ball has eight games of 10 or more points, four games of double-digit rebounds and six games of double-figure assists. He ranks sixth in the NBA in total assists (168) and eighth in assists per game (7.0).
7. Dennis Smith Jr., (No movement)
14.4 PPG, 4.0 APG, 4.0 RPG, 39.4% FG, 30.6% 3PT
Smith is currently dealing with a hip injury. He missed Friday’s game and will also sit out on Sunday against the Timberwolves.
Smith is shooting the ball better of late. The NC State product has scored in double-figures in each of his last seven games as he is shooting 42.1% from the floor during this period. He also has reduced his turnovers during the stretch.
Smith has scored in double-figures in 18 of 23 games, including four 20-point contests, and has produced one double-double.
6. John Collins, (No movement)
11.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 0.9 BPG, 59.2% FG
Collins has missed the last week of action and is expected to miss one-to-two more weeks with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder.
Collins has four double-doubles and 14 double-figures in points. He also has five double-digit rebound games and 12 games of at least five boards. Collins, who ranks second among all rookies in PER (20.46), has posted a 10 or above game score in 13 of 21 contests. The 6-10 Wake Forest product ranks fourth in Value Added as well as tied-for-third in Estimated Wins Added among first-year players.
Overall, Collins ranks sixth in field goal percentage, 10th in two-point field goal percentage and fifth in offensive rebound percentage (15.2).
5. Lauri Markkanen, (Down 2)
14.7 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 APG 39.7% FG, 34.0% 3PT
Markkanen has scored in double-figures in each of his last eight games and posted two double-doubles during that span. He leads the Bulls in scoring and rebounding. Markkanen has made a 3-pointer in 22 of 24 games.
The 7-foot Arizona product is averaging 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds while shooting 41.1% from the field and 31.8% from beyond the arc in December. His 24-points, 12 rebound effort in a win over Charlotte on Friday was his seventh double-double and fourth game of at least 20 points. Overall, he has scored in double-figures 22 times and grabbed double-digit rebounds on seven occasions.
4. Kyle Kuzma, (No movement)
16.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 49.0% FG, 37.6% 3PT
Kuzma really struggled against the 76ers on Thursday, tallying just three points on 1-of-7 shooting. It was only his third game of the season he failed to score double-figures and snapped a streak of 16 straight games of tallying 10 or more points. Kuzma has topped the 20-point plateau on eight occasions.
The Utah product has produced two double-doubles in his three December games to give him seven on the campaign. He has made a 3-pointer in 20 of 23 games, including 11 straight.
3. Donovan Mitchell, (Up 2)
17.5 PG, 3.3 APG, 3.1 RPG, 41.8% FG, 37.5% 3PT
Mitchell has been on a tear over the last seven games. He has scored in double-figures in all seven contests during this stretch, topping the 20-point mark six times. The 21-year-old Louisville product has also made multiple treys in all seven contests and shot over 47% from the field on six occasions. In addition, he has dished out four or more assists five times during this string of games.
Mitchell, who scored a season-high 41 points on Dec. 1, is averaging 29.5 points on 51.9% shooting from the field and 44.4% from beyond the arc for the month. He is also averaging 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds as well as a season-worst 3.3 turnovers this month.
2. Jayson Tatum, (No movement)
14.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.3 APG, 51.0% FG, 51.8% 3PT
Tatum has continued to roll in his inaugural NBA season. The Duke product has put up 15 points and six rebounds in each of his four December games, averaging 17.3 points along with 7.5 rebounds while shooting 61.1% from the field and 69.2% from beyond the arc. He picked up his second double-double of the season against the Mavs on Wednesday and followed that up with his fourth 20-point game on Friday against the Spurs.
Tatum has scored in double-figures in 24 of 27 games and has grabbed double-digit rebounds on three occasions. The 6-8 forward leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage and is ninth in true shooting percentage (65.2%).
He is also fifth in defensive win shares (1.5) and ninth in win shares (3.5). Tatum has recorded a steal in 16 games and a block on 12 occasions.
1. Ben Simmons, (No movement)
17.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 7.5 APG, 2.2 SPG, 50.0% FG
Simmons is a phenomenal passer though he took it to another level, doling out a season-high 15 dimes against the Lakers to go along with 12 points and 13 rebounds for third double-double. The 6-10 point guard also has 13 double-doubles this season.
The NBA’s November Rookie of the Month ranks ninth in two-point field goals, fifth in assists (172), second in steals (51), fourth in assists per game and second in steals per game. He is also ninth in assist percentage (32.9%), seventh in steal percentage (2.9), eighth in defensive wins shares (1.4) and fourth in defensive plus/minus (3.6).