The rookie race is heating up as Anthony Davis made his return this week. Damian Lillard is still the top gun, but a healthy Davis is a force to be reckoned with. As each week goes by, it’s looking more and more like the top 10 is separated into two halves. The top half will get extremely competitive in the oncoming weeks. Bradley Beal proved that he’s still a top rookie, and when Dion Waiters makes his return, his running mate Kyrie Irving will be right there to assist him.
The bottom five is really wide open. Alexey Shved might just have a chance at cracking the top five before anyone else if he can make the most of his upcoming opportunity. Austin Rivers finally gets some love after a solid week, but to stay on the ladder he’ll have to continue to be more aggressive. Jonas Valanciunas falls off the ladder after a very pedestrian week, including a one-point game against the Clippers on Sunday.
Minutes played still prove to be the key factor in the rookie race, and unfortunately, Harrison Barnes has been losing his to Jarrett Jack. Once he can find a way to stay on the floor at the end of games it’s hard not to imagine him cracking the top five. Here is the top 10 for week two of our Rookie Ladder.
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10. AUSTIN RIVERS – Last week: 10.7 PPG/2.5 APG/3.0 RPG/30.5 MPG
Although the Hornets are on a rough five-game skid, things are looking up for them. They just got Anthony Davis back this week and you can already tell he’s having a positive impact on the rest of the team. Austin Rivers jumps onto the ladder by having a pretty productive week last week. He played at least 30 minutes and scored double-figures in three of his four games, aside from a game against Miami on Saturday in which he only played 20 minutes and had five points. Things will be a lot easier on Austin with Anthony Davis back. If he can continue to keep that aggressive mentality he’ll be able to get in a groove and show people exactly why he belongs in the NBA. He still hasn’t had a real breakout game, so he’s pretty much due for one anytime now.