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Juicy Fruit Rookies

Rookie Ladder presented by Juicy Fruit: Trae Young holds onto top spot with historic stretch of games

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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 Feb. 20.

1. Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks

Stats since Feb. 21: 29.4 points, 9.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 0.4 steals per game

Trae Young hasn't only been the best rookie over the last couple of weeks. He's been one of the best players in the entire Eastern Conference.

In his first game back from the All-Star break, Young went off for 30 points and 10 assists in a loss to the Detroit Pistons. He followed that up by scoring 36 points in both the team's loss to the Houston Rockets and win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, making him the first rookie to have back-to-back 35-point games since Allen Iverson.

Young then had a performance for the ages: 49 points, 16 assists and eight rebounds in a quadruple overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The only first-year players over the last 40 years to post 40 points and 10 assists in a game? LeBron James and Michael Jordan.

He might not win the award, but Young is making the Rookie of the Year discussion very interesting with his recent stretch of games.

2. Deandre Ayton, C, Phoenix Suns

Stats since Feb. 21: 17.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game

Deandre Ayton hasn't been quite as hot as Trae Young lately, but he's coming off of an impressive week for the Suns.

After helping Phoenix end its 18-game losing streak with a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double against the Miami Heat, Ayton exploded for 26 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block in a win over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers that effectively ended their hopes of making the playoffs this season.

Two days later, Ayton came up big in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks with 19 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. The Suns were a plus-23 in his 34 minutes on the court, giving Ayton the second-best +/- of the game.

Ayton was incredibly efficient in those games, too, as he made 22 of his 35 shot attempts from the field and 15 of his 21 free throw attempts.

3. Luka Doncic, G/F, Dallas Mavericks

Stats since Feb. 21: 23.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 0.8 steals per game

Luka Doncic is still showing no signs of slowing down.

The Slovenian has scored 20 points in three of his last four games, including a 28-point triple-double in his return after missing two straight games with an ankle injury.

That marked Doncic's fourth triple-double of the season. With all of those coming before his 20th birthday, he is the first player ever to record multiple triple-doubles as a teenager.

The problem? Not only are the Mavericks 1-3 over their last four games, they've been outscored by a whopping 16.6 points per 100 possessions with their rookie on the court.

Doncic led the Mavericks to an impressive win over the Indiana Pacers with 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but they lost to the LA Clippers by nine points and both the Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets by double figures.

That's obviously a small sample size, but the Mavericks actually have a slightly worse net rating on the season with Doncic in the lineup.

4. Mitchell Robinson, C, New York Knicks

Stats since Feb. 21: 10.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.7 blocks and 0.8 steals per game

Mitchell Robinson put his full potential on display in New York's recent wins over the San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Magic.

Robinson finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks against the Spurs and 17 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks against the Magic. In doing so, he became only the seventh rookie in the last 30 years to post back-to-back double-doubles with at least five blocks, per Elias Sports Bureau.

Some of the other names on that list: David Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan.

Robinson is now averaging 4.5 blocks per 36 minutes this season, the most among rotational players. If he could stay on the floor - Robinson is also averaging 6.1 fouls per 36 minutes - we'd find out if he actually has a shot at being the most dominant shot blocker in NBA history like he thinks he's capable of.

5. Marvin Bagley, F/C, Sacramento Kings

Stats since Feb. 21: 20.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 blocks per game

Had he not sprained his knee against the Milwaukee Bucks, Marvin Bagley III would be higher on this list.

The 19-year-old had a double-double in each of the three games leading up to his injury that is expected to keep him out for a couple of weeks:

While the Kings won only one of those games, they were a positive with Bagley on the court in each of them.

Honourable Mention

Landry Shamet, G, LA Clippers - 12.0 points , 1.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 0.6 steals per game

Allonzo Trier, G, New York Knicks - 19.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game

Harry Giles III, F/C, Sacramento Kings - 11.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.3 blocks per game

Kevin Huerter, G, Atlanta Hawks - 10.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game

Collin Sexton, G, Cleveland Cavaliers - 15.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per game

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

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