In the second edition of our 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year power rankings, we saw Luka Doncic reign supreme once again at the top spot. The 19-year-old ‘Wonder Boy’ has been a joy to watch this season as he is making serious noise to be a Western Conference All-Star.
However, when it comes to the next four spots in our rankings, we have a lot of shakeup with two players, in particular, re-establishing their dominance.
Who are those two players that I am speaking about? None other than Hawks point guard Trae Young and Suns center Deandre Ayton.
Both players were going through own separate slumps through the first half of December, but heated up towards the end of the month and carried it into the New Year.
Where will Young and Ayton end up in this week’s power rankings? Let’s find out below and make sure to check back over the next few weeks to see if your team’s rookie has cracked the top-10.
1. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks – 20.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists (Previous Rank: 1)
There is not much left to say about the budding superstar, who appears to be a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year. The 19-year-old Doncic opened up the New Year winning Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December, giving him the award for the second consecutive month.
Last month, the 6-foot-7 forward averaged 21.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. He also scored 20 points in 10 of 15 games during December for the Mavericks.
It will be interesting to see if Doncic can win the award for a third time as he is averaging 23.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists through the first eight games in January.
2. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks – 16.0 points, 7.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds (Previous Rank: 5)
Welcome back to the top of the rankings, Trae Young! After a tumultuous first half of December, where he was shooting a dismal 25-percent from three-point range and 38-percent from the field, things have turned around.
Through the first eight games this month, the 6-foot-2 point guard is shooting an impressive 37.8-percent from distance and 40.5-percent from the field.
However, what continues to impress many fans is his passing ability, which was not talked about enough when he was at Oklahoma. In the Hawks’ last seven games, he is averaging 6.1 assists.
In fact, Young had one of his better performances just a couple of days ago against Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. In that game, he posted a double-double consisting of 24 points and 11 assists, including a couple of nifty passes to Alex Len and Kevin Huerter.
3. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns – 16.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.0 blocks (Previous Rank: 3)
This spot could have either gone to Ayton or Wendell Carter Jr. of the Chicago Bulls. However, it goes to Ayton based on how he finished the month of December.
The 20-year-old big man became a double-double machine for the young Suns, achieving this mark five out of the last six games to end the year.
Overall, Ayton had his best month as a pro, averaging 17.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. If it was not for Doncic, then he could’ve won Western Conference Rookie of the Month.
4. Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls – 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks (Previous Rank: NR)
Speaking of Carter. Jr, the 19-year-old forward from Atlanta, Georgia is starting to figure things out for the rebuilding Chicago Bulls.
Before 2018 ended, WCJ had two solid performances against the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors, picking up a double-double in both games. However, to start the New Year, he only played a puzzling 13 minutes against the Orlando Magic.
But Carter Jr. would turn in one of his better performance as a pro earlier this month. Against the Portland Trail Blazers, he scored 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and grabbed six rebounds in a 12-point loss.
5. Landry Shamet, Philadelphia 76ers – 8.1 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists (Previous Rank: NR)
Last but not least, Shamet cracks the top-5 for the first time this season. The former Wichita State Shocker was in our first power rankings but dropped out due to some other great rookie performances.
The first-round pick has been a pleasant surprise for the Sixers, who are looking for some instant offense off the bench. This season, he is shooting 42.9-percent from the field and 38.5-percent from three-point range on 4.6 attempts per game.
On Jan. 8, Shamet scored a career-high 29 points on a sizzling 8-of-14 shooting from three-point range against the Wizards.
6. Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks
7. Rodions Kurucs, Brooklyn Nets
8. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
9. Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers
10. Kevin Knox, New York Knicks