NBA Rookie Rankings: Jabari Smith turning a corner after strong week; AJ Griffin hits game-winner for Hawks

In honor of this week’s edition of Rookie Rankings working on Thanksgiving, it just appears fitting to consider what a few of these groups need to be appreciative for when it pertains to their young gamers. For circumstances, the Indiana Pacers ought to be appreciative for the reality that they have 2 novices who might be beginning for them today in Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard. Mathurin has Rookie of the Year prospective and he’s still coming off the bench, however Nembhard has actually been beginning and is making strong contributions on both ends of the flooring.

The Orlando Magic ought to be appreciative that a minimum of today it looks like though they nailed the No. 1 choice in taking Paolo Banchero. While Banchero is still sidelined with an ankle injury, he’s currently showing to be by far the very best novice this season. When you combine him with Franz Wagner, who likewise had a standout novice season in 2015, the Magic appear to be forming a remarkable young core. Teams like the Pistons ought to be appreciative that the Kings handed down Jaden Ivey — though Keegan Murray is adept either — and the Trail Blazers ought to be grateful that Shaedon Sharpe is making such a strong effect off the bench currently. 

Now it’s time to break down today’s NBA Rookie Rankings. Keep in mind that these rankings will show a novice’s efficiency on a week-to-week basis just, not the cumulative season. These aren’t Rookie of the Year standings, however rather a reflection on what the gamer has actually done over the previous week.

In a loss to the Golden State Warriors today, Smith broke out of a shooting downturn in a huge method, installing a career-high 22 points on 8-of-14 from the field to opt for 7 rebounds. Prior to that video game, Smith had actually been shooting simply 31.3 percent from the field on the season, and while one video game definitely isn’t a pattern, it’s a favorable indication for the No. 3 general choice.

Smith was coming off screens and bring up for threes, scoring off the bounce from midrange and scoring at the rim in a range of methods. It was a total offensive video game for Smith, who flaunted his protective chops also.

Smith’s efficiency versus the Warriors was a conclusion of his development over the last handful of video games after a sluggish start to the season. In his last 6 video games, he’s balancing 12.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and shooting an enhanced 38.5 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from deep. Those numbers might not look impressive, specifically his shooting performance, however when you compare it to the 10 points, 5.6 rebounds and 30.3/30 shooting divides he was balancing in the very first 10 video games of the season, you can see that he’s beginning to turn a corner.

After the loss to the Warriors, Smith discussed his turn-around video game.

“I feel like I’m in a good headspace,” Smith stated. “I commend myself for just keeping my head. A lot of people can’t go through these shooting slumps and stuff like that and still go out there every night and still try to contribute, still have a good attitude. And just, I’m happy for myself. Yeah, I’m just ready for the next game. Ready to see how the season keeps going.” 


Griffin’s week began with a 17-point efficiency versus Toronto Raptors, a video game in which he sent out the fans house delighted after transforming a layup on a long pass from Trae Young as time ended to raise the Hawks to an overtime triumph over the Raptors:

First off, let’s simply value that stunning play by the Hawks to even get that simple of an appearance off with time ending. Young simply zooms previous 3 Raptors protectors to enter into the open court, then provides the ball at the ideal time for Griffin to get the shot off. Tip of the hat to Griffin for understanding to cut to the rim with Young boiling down the flooring to get the simple layup. Just stunning execution all around.

After that amazing surface, Griffin was then raised to the beginning lineup in the list below video game in which he once again completed with 17 points, to accompany 3 takes and 2 rebounds. Atlanta wound up dropping that video game to the Cavaliers, however Hawks coach Nate McMillan still applauded his novice forward.

“He did a good job,” McMillan stated. “He made some shots out there and was able to make some 3s and be productive. The challenge was going to be for him on the defensive end of the floor, but I thought he has been playing the way he has been playing — with confidence. He is going to make some mistakes but I thought they were aggressive mistakes. I thought he played OK.”

After playing simply 8 minutes a night in the very first couple weeks of the season, Griffin has actually now played himself into a stable 21 minutes a night. He’s most likely not going to install 17 points on a nighttime basis off the bench on a deep Hawks group, however he’s contributing when required and substituting whatever function Atlanta requires him to fill.  


In a win over the Denver Nuggets, Ivey set up simply 7 points on 3-of-11 from the field and 1-of-4 from downtown. It was an uncharacteristic scoring efficiency from what we have actually concerned get out of the novice guard this season, however while he didn’t acquire a lots of points, he still assisted his group to a win with his death. Ivey had 5 helps to accompany 6 rebounds and a take, completing an efficiency that highlighted his abilities as a facilitator while his shooting went cold. This bullet pass to the weakside corner with a double group on him was specifically remarkable, and a fantastic indication that the novice can run under protective pressure:

Ivey has actually ended up being Detroit’s lead guard with Cade Cunningham still sidelined, and it’s opened up a wealth of chance as an outcome. He’s definitely in the Rookie of the Year discussion, and if he continues to score at an effective level like he did this previous week in a 24-point trip in which he went 8-of-14 from the field and 4-of-4 from deep, then it will not be unexpected to see him holding that hardware at the end of the season.


Mathurin is another man in the discussion for Rookie of the Year, and what’s been most remarkable about his output is that he’s installing beast numbers all while coming off the bench. In a win over the Magic, he completed with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and a plus-13-point differential. The Pacers score one point more when he’s on the flooring compared to when he’s on the bench, and while that might appear insignificant, the reality that a novice is making that much of an effect while coming off the bench is a substantial achievement.

Including his efficiency versus Orlando, Mathurin has actually reached the 20-point mark 7 times currently this season — all while coming off the bench — which ranks 2nd amongst novices behind Paolo Banchero. His 42.1 percent from 3-point area ranks 14th in the whole league amongst men who take 5 or more efforts per video game, making him a reputable hazard from downtown for Indiana. I state this each week, however it’s just a matter of time prior to Rick Carlisle begins Mathurin, and when that takes place, he’ll get back at more chances to flaunt his skills. 


Williams is a fantastic example of structure on each efficiency and constantly advancing as a novice. In the previous week and a half alone he’s had point overalls of 13, 16, 10 and 14. That 16-point efficiency versus the Grizzlies was likewise paired with 7 helps, 6 rebounds and 2 takes. It was a total efficiency from Williams who played an essential function in the Thunder keeping that video game close versus a powerful Memphis group. 

What’s a lot more remarkable about Williams over the previous couple of video games is his defense. He’s got an absurd 7-2 wingspan, and he puts that to great usage when safeguarding out on the border. Just take a look at how he utilizes his length to interrupt David Roddy mid-dribble, which leads to a take and a help by Williams at the other end:

On a young group where there are currently talented passers like Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Williams is yet another remarkable facilitator that the Thunder need to construct around. 

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