Welcome 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.
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 few weeks of the 2020-21 season?
2020-21 NBA Rookie Ladder
5. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
Stats: 15.4 PTS, 2.4 REB, 1.9 AST, 40.9% FG, 28.9% 3PT
Best game: Jan. 8 at POR: 26 points (9-21 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist
Something to know: Edwards is leading all rookies with 15.4 points per game and his 26 points against the Trail Blazers is the highest scoring total for a rookie in a game so far this season.
4. James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors
Stats: 11.3 PTS, 6.0 REB, 1.6 BLK, 46.8% FG, 41.7% 3PT
Best game: Jan. 3, vs. POR: 12 points (6-9 FG), 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist
Something to know: Earning the starting centre role for the Warriors, Wiseman's 6.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game leads all rookies.
3. Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics
Stats: 8.3 PTS, 3.2 AST, 2.4 REB, 1.2 STL, 50.0% FG, 34.8% 3PT
Best game: Jan. 4 at TOR: 23 points (8-13 FG, 2-4 3PT), 8 assists, 2 rebounds
Something to know: Pritchard has the only game-winner of this rookie class with a tip-in to beat the Miami Heat. His 23 points in Boston's win over Toronto is the most points scored by a rookie in a victory. (As aforementioned, Anthony Edwards scored 26 points but in a loss to the Blazers).
Payton Pritchard puts it back with 0.2 seconds left to win it for the Celtics. pic.twitter.com/9SejHcrMlT- NBA (@NBA) January 7, 2021
2. LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
Stats: 12.1 PTS, 5.1 REB, 4.9 AST, 1.6 STL, 41.2% FG, 36.1% 3PT
Best game: Dec. 30 at DAL: 22 points (7-10 FG, 4-5 3PT), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Something to know: Ball has yet to start a game for the Hornets but continues to make an impact off the bench playing 24.0 minutes per contest. His 4.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game lead the rookie class, his 5.1 rebounds are the best among non-centre rookies and his 12.1 points per game are second to only Anthony Edwards.
LaMelo scores game-high in the win!@MELOD1P's 22 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST fuels the @hornets! #KiaTipOff20 #NBARooks pic.twitter.com/SIUh3hxj2F- NBA (@NBA) December 31, 2020
1. Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings
Stats: 11.7 PTS, 4.7 AST, 2.8 REB, 1.3 STL, 51.0% FG, 48.1% 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: Through six games, Haliburton has 28 assists and just four turnovers for an assist-to-turnover ratio of 7.0. That's the second-best ratio in the NBA - not just among rookies - for any player with more than 25 assists. He is coming off of a win over the Bulls in which he scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a game-sealing 3-pointer while filling in for the injured De'Aaron Fox. The Kings are 4-2 with Haliburton in the lineup and 0-2 without him.
Tyrese Haliburton with the big 3 late as the Kings win. pic.twitter.com/IZtwjZBNVg- NBA (@NBA) January 7, 2021
Outside looking in
Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls: Williams has been a jack-of-all-trades-type wing for the Bulls so far this season and is averaging an efficient 10.0 points per game. No rookie has started in more games than Williams - who has been in the starting lineup for all nine of the Bulls' contests this season - an interesting switch-up after coming off of the bench as a sixth man in all 29 games he played at Florida State.
Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons: Bey is starting to see more playing time with the Pistons which could see his name rise up this ladder in the coming weeks. His 10.4 points per game ranks in the top five among rookies and he's converting a team-best 46.3% from 3. He's also in the top five in rebounds per game among first-year players with 5.0.
Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards: Avdija is averaging 6.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He has been solid for the struggling Wizards but playing alongside high-usage guys like Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal has capped his potential for the time being.
Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs: Vassell is finding a way to make an impact despite only taking 4.3 field goal attempts per game. He's shooting 54.5% from 3 and his 16.5 net rating is the highest of any rookie that has played in at least five games and averages over 12.0 minutes per game.
Precious Achiuwa, Miami Heat: Achiuwa is another rookie whose role limits his production. In just 15.6 minutes per game, the rookie has been solid, posting 7.3 points and 4.7 rebounds while converting 57.1% of his field-goal attempts - the best rate of any rookie taking at least 5.0 shots per game.
2020-21 NBA Rookie Leaderboard
|Points per game leader||Anthony Edwards||Timberwolves||15.4 PPG|
|Rebounds per game leader||James Wiseman||Warriors||6.0 RPG|
|Assists per game leader||LaMelo Ball||Hornets||4.9 APG|
|Steals per game leader||LaMelo Ball||Hornets||1.6 SPG|
|Blocks per game leader||James Wiseman||Warriors||1.6 BPG|
|Most games started||Patrick Williams||Bulls||9 (9 GP)|
2020-21 NBA Rookie injury report
Obi Toppin, New York Knicks: Toppin suffered a calf injury his first game as a rookie and has yet to return to action. He is expected to return sooner rather than later.
Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons: Hayes suffered a labral tear in his hip and is out indefinitely with no timetable for return.
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