NBA Rookie Rankings: Jaden Ivey reaches impressive milestone; Jalen Williams spoils LeBron’s record night

It’s been a chaotic week in the NBA, as evidenced by LeBron James being the best player in the league. new all-time leading scorer. But that was quickly overshadowed wild trade deadline in which Kevin Durant moved to the Phoenix Suns.forming a formidable trio with Devin Booker and Chris Paul. Kyrie Irving was also traded to the Dallas Mavericks., effectively ending the Brooklyn Nets superteam experiment. The trade deadline included many role players sent around the league, and while no rookies were traded, some of the moves could affect freshman players.

The most high-profile case occurred in Detroit, where the Pistons inexplicably traded for former second pick 2020 NBA draft James Wiseman. It was a confusing move considering Detroit had just drafted capable center Jalen Duren in the 2022 draft, who had been playing for the Pistons since December. Düren leads all rookies in rebounding this season (8.7) and has made steady progress ever since. It’s unclear what Wiseman’s role will be in Detroit, but if he replaces Duren as a starter, it will certainly halt the growth of a promising big man in Duren, who has been better in his short career than Wiseman has shown at Golden State. We’ll have to see how that plays out, but it’s certainly a confusing move for the Pistons to suddenly have unnecessarily deep frontcourt depth.

Now it’s time to break down this week’s rookie rankings. Keep in mind that these rankings will only reflect rookie performance on a weekly basis and not on a collective season. This is not a Rookie of the Year ranking, but rather a reflection of a player’s performance over the past week.

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1. Jaden Ivey

IT • SG • #23

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Ivey had 24 points, seven assists and three rebounds in a win over the Hornets this week. He crossed a milestone that no other rookie has yet managed to reach this season. Ivey is the first – and only at the time of this writing – rookie with at least 700 points, 200 assists and 200 rebounds, which speaks to the balance of his game. Ivey crossed that threshold in 49 games, becoming just ninth newcomer to do so in the same number of games over the past 15 years, according to the Pistons.

While Ivey doesn’t get as much Rookie of the Year recognition as Paolo Banquero or Bennedikt Maturin this season, he should still be in the spotlight. He shows gradual improvement every night and has taken on much of the responsibility this season after Cade Cunningham went down with an injury at the end of the season. He has great athleticism and can get to the ring with incredible ease. What’s even more impressive about Ivey’s season is that he gets more and more effective as the season progresses.

Month Games played FG% 3P%





















With only a week and a half left until February, it was Ivey’s best game to date, as evidenced by his performance against the Hornets. His three-point shot is most notable because after Ivey struggled to hit consistently from deep, Ivey started the month incredibly effectively from there. If he maintains that pace for a month, he will no doubt be named Rookie of the Month and should be given more attention for the Rookie of the Year award.

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2. Paolo Banchero

ORL • PF • #5

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Banchero didn’t have the typical scoring we’ve seen from him throughout the season, but he still had a good week by rookie standards. He’s hitting a shooting slump in February, shooting just 30.9% from the field and a dismal 5.9% shooting percentage over five games. But while his shots have dropped, his rebounds have risen and his assists have stayed the same.

He still has a positive impact on the Magic’s play, as was beautifully demonstrated in Orlando’s victory over Minnesota, in which Banchero only had 11 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, but still finished the game with a plus-6. . Once Banchero realized that his shot wasn’t dropping, he started throwing extra passes, which resulted in a higher shooting percentage for his teammates. He only had four passes in that game, but he had several hockey passes when he made the pass and then his teammate made an immediate pass that resulted in an assist. So:

Banchero leads all rookies in hockey assists or minor passes as the NBA tracks them, which is a good indicator that he knows when to make the right pass and not force a hit, especially if he’s not hitting the ball well. His scoring has gone down, but he’s so versatile and shines in other aspects of the game that he still helps the Magic in games.

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3. Big Branham

Tue • SG • #22

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Branham set a new career high this week with two straight games for the Spurs. He first lost 22 points on 9 of 13 from the floor, then followed this 26-point record in which he shot the ball with an equally impressive 68.8 percent accuracy from the field. Branham is starting to show real potential for San Antonio, and in that 26-point game against the Sixers, the rookie showed complete confidence every time he had the ball. He got to his seats almost at will, pulled up to the floats, knocked down threes and connected to the jumpers at a medium distance.

Branham has started every game this week, filling in for injured Tre Jones and rookie Jeremy Sochan. He certainly made the most of the opportunity and received praise from San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich.

“He’s progressing really well,” Popovich said. via San Antonio Express News. “For a young guy, he learns a lot. Probably the most important thing is to play against all these NBA guys that he’s never played against before.”

While the circumstances of Branham’s outstanding performance aren’t ideal, given the injuries to Jones and Sochan, it shows the Spurs what they have in the rookie quarterback for the future. When these guys come back, perhaps Branham will have more options, as he has shown that he is able to activate when needed.


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