NBA

2020-21 NBA Rookie Ladder: Did Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball take over the No. 1 spot?

Welcome back to our 2020-21 NBA Rookie Ladder!

As a follow up to my 2020 NBA Draft coverage, I will be providing an in-depth look at how this year's rookie class has performed to start their NBA career by ranking the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year every other Friday.

For comparison, if you'd like to see the first edition of the 2020-21 NBA Rookie Ladder click here.

Below you'll find the top five rankings so far this season, a group of rookies who are on the outside looking in, a rookie leaderboard to see which first-year players are leading the major statistical categories and an injury report to keep you updated on the latest ailments of the rookie class.

So without further ado... who has been the best rookie through the first month of the 2020-21 season?

2020-21 NBA Rookie Ladder

5. Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls

Stats: 10.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, 48.5% FG, 50.0% 3PT

Best game: Jan. 10 vs. LAL: 17 points (6-9 FG, 3-5 3PT), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals

Something to know: Williams has started in all 13 games he has played for the Bulls, a significant role change after coming off of the bench in all 29 games he played at Florida State, earning ACC Sixth Man of the Year.

4. Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic

Stats: 10.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.3 APG

Best game: Jan. 20 vs. MIN: 13 points (5-7 FG, 3-3 3PT), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block

Something to know: Anthony's heroic buzzer beater to beat the Timberwolves was the first game-winning 3-pointer of this rookie class. He joined Celtics guard Payton Pritchard as the only two rookies to hit a game-winner so far this season.

3. James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors

Stats: 11.6 PTS, 6.1 REB, 1.3 BLK, 50.7% FG, 37.5% 3PT

Best game: Jan. 20 vs. SAS: 18 points (8-11 FG), 6 rebounds, 4 assists

Something to know: Wiseman's 1.3 blocks per game leads all rookies as the starting centre has blocked at least two shots in eight of his 15 games played so far, serving as the Warriors' primary rim protector.

2. Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings

Stats: 11.1 PTS, 5.1 AST, 2.8 REB, 1.2 STL, 50.0% FG, 49.2% 3PT

Best game: Jan. 6 vs. CHI: 17 points (7-15 FG, 3-7 3PT), 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers

Something to know: While rookies are typically inefficient, Haliburton has been the complete opposite. According to NBA stats, with Haliburton owning shooting splits of .500/.492/.818, his effective field goal percentage (EFG%) of 63.7 percent is ninth-best in the entire NBA (not just for rookies) for any player that has attempted at least 100 field goals.

1. LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets

Stats: 11.8 PTS, 6.8 REB, 6.1 AST, 1.5 STL, 40.3% FG, 33.3% 3PT

Best game: Jan. 9 vs. ATL: 22 points (9-13 FG, 3-5 3PT), 12 rebounds, 11 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover

Something to know: Remarkably, Ball leads all rookies in total points, rebounds, assists and steals. His per game averages also rank first in each aforementioned category aside from scoring, where he ranks second behind Anthony Edwards. In the Hornets, Jan. 9 win over the Hawks, Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double, the only player of this class to achieve the feat so far.

Outside looking in

Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves: Edwards still leads all rookies averaging 12.2 points per game but his inefficiency and lack of production in other areas dropped him from the top-five.

Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics: Filling in for the injured Kemba Walker, Pritchard was all the Celtics could've asked for and more. Averaging eight points and three assists while shooting over 40 percent from 3 and having a game-winning tip-in against the Heat placed him third in the last Rookie Ladder, but Walker's return will limit his role moving forward.

Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers: Maxey has the highest individual scoring output of any rookie in this class, scoring 39 points against the Denver Nuggets. It was the most points a 76ers' rookie has scored in a game since Allen Iverson scored 50 in 1997.

2020-21 NBA Rookie Leaderboard

Category Player Team Stats
Points per game leader Anthony Edwards Timberwolves 12.2 PPG
Rebounds per game leader LaMelo Ball Hornets 6.8 RPG
Assists per game leader LaMelo Ball Hornets 6.1 APG
Steals per game leader LaMelo Ball Hornets 1.5 SPG
Blocks per game leader James Wiseman Warriors 1.3 BPG

2020-21 NBA Rookie injury report

Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons: Hayes suffered a labral tear in his hip but it will not require surgery. He will rest and rehab and be re-evaluated in eight weeks.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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