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Juicy Fruit Rookies

NBA Rookie Ladder presented by Juicy Fruit: Marvin Bagley III makes his long-awaited debut

Juicy Fruit Rookie Ladder FTR.jpg
NBA Rookie Ladder (NBA.com Illustration)

To keep tabs on this season's rookie class, we've been showcasing the NBA Rookie Ladder presented by Juicy Fruit throughout the season.

Rather than taking a season-long approach, however, our rankings are based on who has performed the best over the most recent two-week period. We want to open opportunities for other first-year players to shine.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the five rookies who have impressed the most since Jan. 23.

1. Luka Doncic, G/F, Dallas Mavericks

Stats since Jan. 23: 29.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 0.8 steals per game

Luka Doncic has only played four games since our last Rookie Ladder, but he was so good in three of those games that he maintains his spot at the top of this list.

First, Doncic posted 32 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a win over the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 25. He then exploded for 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a loss to the Toronto Raptors two days later, making him the first teen in NBA history to record a 30-point triple-double.

Doncic had a relatively quiet night in a blowout win over the New York Knicks to end the month of January, but he made up for it with 35 points, 11 rebounds and six assists against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 2. 28 of those points came in the first half on an uber-efficient 11-for-16 shooting from the field.

That makes three 30-point games in his last four and two triple-doubles in the last two weeks for Doncic. Who knows what else he has in store for us this season.

2. Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks

Stats since Jan. 23: 21.3 points, 9.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 0.6 steals per game

Don't let Luka-Mania distract you from what Trae Young has been doing recently. The No. 5 pick in the draft has scored 20-plus points in five of his last six games, including a 30-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 26, the second 30-point game of his career.

While it wasn't enough for Atlanta to leave Portland with the win, Young led the Hawks to a 3-2 record in the five other games they've played since Jan. 23. One of those wins came against Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns, with Young playing the hero by scoring 17 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter of a come-from-behind victory on the road.

Young has also been dishing the ball out at a high rate lately - his 9.0 assists leads all rookies over the last couple of weeks.

Had Doncic not carried the Mavericks to a 3-1 record with LeBron-like numbers, Young would've been headlining this week's Rookie Ladder.

3. Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Sacramento Kings

Stats since Jan. 23: 16.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 blocks per game

Marvin Bagley makes his first appearance of the season following the strongest stretch of his young career.

Not only has he now scored double figures in six consecutive games, Bagley has three straight double-doubles, each of them coming off the bench in wins for the Kings. He went for 17 points and 12 rebounds against the Hawks, 14 points and 13 rebounds against the 76ers and 24 points and 12 rebounds against the Spurs.

Those 24 points set a new career-high for Bagley, as did the four assists he dished out.

Bagley may have come out of the gates slower than some of his fellow lottery picks this season, but he's starting to show why the Kings selected him with the No. 2 overall pick.

4. Jaren Jackson Jr., F/C, Memphis Grizzlies

Stats since Jan. 23: 14.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.1 blocks per game

The losses continue to pile up, but Jaren Jackson Jr. continues to be a bright spot for the Grizzlies, whether it's by scoring 20 points in a win over the Pacers, 23 points in a win over the Timberwolves or coming up with three blocks and two steals in a half's worth of minutes against the Nuggets.

It looks like Jackson is only going to get more opportunities in the final 30 games of the season, too. According to multiple reports, the Grizzlies are shopping both Marc Gasol and Mike Conley ahead of Thursday's trade deadline.

It's step one of building a team around Jackson, who has all the makings of a future star.

5. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, LA Clippers

Stats since Jan. 23: 11.6 points, 3.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals per game

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander did not disappoint in his return home over the weekend. In 26 minutes of action, the Hamilton, Ontario native scored a team-high 19 points against the Toronto Raptors, doing so on 9-for-15 shooting from the field.

Gilgeous-Alexander also grabbed five rebounds, dished out three assists and blocked two shots in the loss.

He didn't do anything in particular of note in LA's other games, but Gilgeous-Alexander continues to be a stabilizing force on a team that is still very much in the playoff race. The Clippers have now won six of their last 10 following Tuesday's win over the Hornets, giving them a one game lead over the Sacramento Kings for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

That could quickly change now that they don't have Tobias Harris, who has been leading the Clippers in scoring this season, but similar to what's going on with Jaren Jackson Jr., that'll only open up more opportunities for Gilgeous-Alexander if it does.

Honourable Mention

Deandre Ayton, C, Phoenix Suns - 14.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals per game

Mikal Bridges, F, Phoenix Suns - 12.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.2 steals per game

Allonzo Trier, SG, New York Knicks - 10.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.5 steals per game

Kevin Knox, SF, New York Knicks - 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 0.6 assists per game

Kevin Huerter, SG, Atlanta Hawks - 10.3 points, 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 steals per game

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