This season the NBA has been blessed with multiple talented rookies, prompting me to create a November rookie power rankings. After last years heated rookie of the year competition between Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell, I didn’t expect another crop of rookies to have an immediate impact. So many rookies have been incredible, but for now, let’s just look at the top 5. As a side note, I fully expect this list to change over time as certain rooks get more playing time, but for now, it is what it is.
1: Luka Doncic – 19.2 PPG (45/38/77), 6.8 RPG, 4.1 APG
Despite his incredible play overseas, some NBA fans expected Doncic to be a bust. I had worries after opening night, where he looked uncomfortable and inefficient. Now, Doncic is a star. He has already had eight 20+ point games and one 30+ point game. Even better, he’s been scoring at a remarkable efficiency. Currently, Doncic has a 53.3 eFG% and has shot 38% from three. Few rookies are able to score at such volume without shooting terrible percentages.
Perhaps even more impressive than his scoring is his team’s record. The Mavericks are 7-9 and in the playoff race largely because of Doncic. In some of their bigger wins, such as the Warriors and Thunder, Doncic had 24 and 22 points, respectively. He’s already proven at a young age his ability to lead a team and perform in big moments. Currently, he leads the Mavs in points, is 2nd in assists, and 2nd in rebounds. His obvious talent and ability to lead a team lands Doncic the #1 spot in our November rookie power rankings.
2: Deandre Ayton – 16.4 PPG (61/0/75), 10.4 RPG, 2.7 APG
Ayton impressed me from day 1 as I mentioned in my rookie debut article. His chemistry with Devin Booker and ability to dominate the post has made him #2 on the November rookie power rankings. Ayton is shooting 78% from 0-3 feet from the basket. Basically, if he gets the ball close to the basket it’s an automatic bucket. The efficiency has been amazing, his 61% shooting ranks 9th in the NBA and first among rookies. He still hasn’t been quite as aggressive as I personally hoped, but his scoring has been impressive nonetheless. As he develops as the clear second option next to Booker, hopefully, he becomes more willing to shoot.
While his rebounding has obviously been very good, his assists have been highly underrated. Among centers, Ayton ranks 6th in assists per game. His ability to find open shooters or cutters when the defense collapses on him in the post is very impressive. As he becomes even more developed as a post player double teams will come constantly and his assists numbers will continue to grow. The defense may need some work but, offensively, Ayton has been incredible.
3: Jaren Jackson Jr. – 12.8 PPG (49/24/75), 4.6 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 1.9 BPG
The Grizzlies have suddenly found themselves tied for first place in the grueling Western Conference. After having their worst season since the 2007-08 season, the Grizzlies appear to be back in playoff contention. A big reason for this is the play of Jaren Jackson. In 25.3 minutes per game, Jackson records 1.3 steals per game and 1.9 blocks per game. His defense is a big reason why Memphis has been able to allow the fewest point per game in the NBA. Jackson’s ability to guard positions 2-5 makes him invaluable to any team.
Besides his elite defense, Jackson has been an above-average offensive player as well. His 3-point shooting hasn’t been great at only 24%, but his eFG% is still very high at 52%. Most of Jackson’s scoring comes from within 10 feet of the basket, but he’s been very good from that range. Despite doubts coming into the season Jackson has proven he can contribute to winning basketball right away, and appears to be a perfect fit in Memphis landing him the third spot in the November rookie power rankings.
4: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 10.1 PPG (47/32/82), 3.3 RPG, 2.8 APG
Just like Jackson’s Grizzlies, SGA’s Clippers are tied for first in the tough West. Although nobody had major expectations for them coming into the season, the Clippers have surprised everyone. I believe SGA is a major reason for this success. In his 27.4 minutes per game, has averaged 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. This two-way ability has been extremely valuable to LA as they create one of the best perimeter defenses in the NBA. Alongside Patrick Beverly and Avery Bradley, there are no weak spots on the perimeter. Additionally, his consistency on offense at the point guard position has been a huge help to the Clippers.
5: Trae Young – 16.8 PPG (39/24/82), 3.2 RPG, 8.3 APG
Young finds himself at the end of the November rookie power rankings due to his inefficiency. The reason he still made the top 5 is his scoring ability and passing. Everybody knew Trae Young could shoot threes but his passing has been the most interesting part of his game. The 4.1 turnovers a game aren’t great, but his 2.02 AST to TO ratio is better than the other rookie point guards. Also, notching games with 17, 15, and 12 assists is something very few point guards achieve and even fewer rookie point guards achieve. Once Young becomes a more efficient scorer he will no doubt climb up the list, but until then he is number 5 for the November rookie power rankings.