Phoenix Suns

NBA Rookie of the Year rankings through two weeks of the 2018-19 NBA season

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NBA Rookie Ladder (NBA.com Illustration)

Welcome to the first Rookie of the Year rankings of the 2018-19 season!

Between now and April 10, we'll be taking stock of the 2018 NBA Draft class by checking in on who's standing out every couple of weeks.

For this edition, that means we're focusing on the rookies who have impressed the most since opening night.

1. Luka Doncic, SF, Dallas Mavericks

Stats: 19.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.9 steals per game

Luka Doncic has been as good as advertised. The 19-year-old leads all rookies in scoring through the first two weeks of the season and has already recorded 20-plus points on four occasions, including a 31-point showing against the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 29.

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Doncic put his versatility as a scorer on full display in that game, draining floaters in the paint and pull-ups from deep. He ended up making 11 of his 18 attempts from the field and four of his six attempts from 3-point range.

Doncic's passing has translated well to the NBA, too. While has struggled at times with efficiency - he's currently averaging 4.0 turnovers per game - it's clear why scouts were drooling about his court vision in the lead-up to the draft.

Passes like this, for example, are something you'd expect to see from a seasoned veteran, not a rookie in his first NBA game:

Doncic's playmaking has the Mavericks scoring almost 10 more points per 100 possessions with him on the court.

With how polished his game is, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him make that sort of difference all season long.

2. Deandre Ayton, C, Phoenix Suns

Stats: 16.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.6 blocks per game

It hasn't taken Deandre Ayton long to get comfortable on an NBA court. The 7-footer flirted with a triple-double in his highly anticipated debut to the tune of 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. He then recorded his first 20-10 game less than a week later, followed by another one the following game.

The Phoenix Suns only have one win to show for it, but Ayton has been incredibly efficient scoring the ball. He's made 86.7 percent of his field goal attempts in the restricted area, putting him behind only Kevin Durant in shooting percentage from that distance , and he's converted 85.7 percent of his attempts from the free throw line.

Ayton has also shown off some range in making seven shots from outside the paint - albeit it on 21 attempts - giving him a unique skill set for a player his size.

The key for Ayton is going to be defence. If he can improve on that end of the court, there's no reason why he can't challenge Doncic for the No. 1 spot in the weeks and months to come.

3. Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks

Stats: 18.5 points, 7.0 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 0.5 steals per game

At his best, Trae Young has been just as impressive as Doncic and Ayton.

Young's most notable performance came on Oct. 21, when he scored 35 points and dished out 11 assists in a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. With those numbers, Young became the second-youngest player in NBA history to go for 35-plus points and 10-plus assists in a single game.

The only player to have done it at a younger age? Someone called LeBron James.

The problem is Young hasn't been quite as consistent as Doncic and Ayton. Outside of his two games against the Cavaliers, he's averaging 14.8 points on 35.2 percent shooting from the field and 23.3 percent from the perimeter.

It's not a reason for concern - Young has still had moments of brilliance during those games - but it bumps him down a couple of spots in the Rookie of the Year standings.

4. Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Memphis Grizzlies

Stats: 11.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks per game

Jaren Jackson Jr. doesn't find himself with the same nightly opportunities as Doncic, Ayton and Young, but he's already making a name for himself with his all-around brilliance. Not only is he one of seven rookies currently averaging at least 10 points per game, he's one of only 18 players in the entire league currently blocking at least one shot and coming up with one steal per game.

Some of the other players on that list: Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, Paul Millsap, Danny Green and John Wall.

Another nice surprise has been Jackson's success in the post. Billed as a stretch big coming into the draft, Jackson has generated almost a third of his offence with his back to the basket in a Grizzlies uniform and checks out as one of the league's most efficient scorers ( 1.44 points per possession ) in those situations.

Even though that is nowhere near sustainable for an entire season, Jackson is showing signs of being a versatile defender who can make teams pay on offence in the post and from the 3-point line.

If that turns out to be the case, he's going to have a long and successful career in the NBA.

5. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Los Angeles Clippers

Stats: 8.3 points, 3.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 0.9 steals per game

What Shai Gilgeous-Alexander lacks in counting stats, he makes up for with his veteran-like play on both ends of the court. According to NBA.com , the Clippers have been 6.4 points per 100 possessions better offensively and about the same defensively with the Canadian on the court so far this season.

That isn't just a case of small sample size either. The only rookies who are logging more minutes per game than Gilgeous-Alexander are Doncic, Young, Ayton, Josh Akogie and Wendell Carter Jr.

It helps that Gilgeous-Alexander has already established chemistry with the 7-foot-3 Boban Marjanovic, who has been giving second units fits in the early going. The two make a natural pairing when they're on the court together, with Gilgeous-Alexander being a crafty playmaker and Marjanovic being a dunking machine around the hoop.

At this rate, Gilgeous-Alexander could find himself playing a role on a team that is in position to compete for a spot in the playoffs. The same can't be said for Ayton and Young, and the jury is still out on whether or not Dallas and Memphis have the depth to sneak into the postseason.

Honourable Mention

Marvin Bagley III - 13.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists per game

Wendell Carter Jr. - 10.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks per game

Josh Okogie - 9.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals per game

Allonzo Trier - 9.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists per game

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