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NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Who's Hot and Who's Not in Week 4

Kristian WinfieldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 26, 2012

NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Who's Hot and Who's Not in Week 4

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    Hey guys.

    Thanks for tuning into yet another installment of my weekly rookie power rankings. This one's a little bit later on in the week, as I normally aim to get mine out on Mondays, but I promise it's as action-filled and power-packed as the ones prior.

    As expected, we've got a few surprises in store, as well as a few unknowns coming out of the blue to make a statement.

    So let's press on and see who's hot and who's not in Week 4.

Rookies 25-20

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    25. Andrew Goudelock: SG, Los Angeles Lakers 7.0 MPG, 2.2 PPG

    Our newest member to the Top 25, Andrew Goudelock showed how much of an impact he can really make. Given one chance, the scorer out of Charleston dropped 14 points in 20 minutes of play, knocking down two of three attempts from deep and shooting a very efficient five-of-eight from the field. He just might have won Coach Mike Brown's heart over, seeing as though the Laker bench has been very scarce with the points lately.

    24. Terrel Harris: SG, Miami Heat 13.3 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG

    After his 14-rebound outburst in Dwyane Wade's absence, Harris has really fallen off with the lack of minutes. You would think he would be putting up more numbers with Wade's lingering ankle injury, but the minutes just haven't gone his way.

    23. Josh Harrellson: 18.5 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 35.6% 3PT

    With Harrellson out for the next six weeks after undergoing wrist surgery, expect this to be the last time you see him on this list for a while.

    22. Greg Stiemsma: C, Boston Celtics 9.3 MPG, 1.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.3 BLKPG

    Stiemsma will continue to drop down my list until Doc Rivers gives him more playing time. He puts up decent numbers when he gets in, specifically on the defensive end, but he just doesn't get enough burn to actually make a difference.

    21.Bismack Biyombo: C, Charlotte Bobcats 12.4 MPG, 3.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.6 BLKPG

    Now that Byron Mullens has stepped up his play at the center position, it'll be almost impossible for Biyombo to get that starting position next to Kemba Walker. Still, he brings athletic ability and shot blocking that Mullens doesn't, and he'll find minutes if he keeps playing with energy.

    20. Ivan Johnson: F, Atlanta Hawks 14.2 MPG, 5.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG

    Without Al Horford (pectoral tear) in the picture, Ivan Johnson's been getting a few more minutes here and there, but his numbers aren't nearly a reflection of his importance to the Atlanta Hawks. He makes hustle plays and has a certain toughness about him that's lacking in almost everyone else on the roster. His minutes have been limited over the past few nights, but his impact is irreplaceable.

Rookies 19-14

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    19. Klay Thompson: SG, Golden State Warriors 17.2 MPG, 6.7 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.4 APG

    I put the "bust" label on Klay Thompson last week, and that's clearly not the case. He's just a young rookie trying to find his way in an offense with Steph Curry and Monta Ellis. He put up some decent numbers, so I had to bump him up some. Still, I'd like to see a little bit more efficiency from the rook.

    18. Isaiah Thomas: PG, Sacramento Kings 15.9 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 2.3 APG

    With Marcus Thornton out nursing a thigh injury, Isaiah Thomas has seen and taken advantage of a bump in minutes. He had a near double-double against Portland with 11 points and eight assists in 28 minutes of play, and followed that up with 16 points and six assists against Denver; both losing efforts.

    17. Jimmer Fredette: G, Sacramento Kings 22.7 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 2.1 APG

    It makes me happy to see the Jimmer finally catching fire over the past few games. After many writers, critics and analysts, including myself, wrote him off as the biggest bust of the draft, the BYU stud came out and put up three straight big games, knocking down a combined 11-of-18 threes and nine-of-10 free throw attempts. If Marcus Thornton sits out any more games, we could see a lot more of big-time Jimmer plays over the next few games.

    16. Norris Cole: PG, Miami Heat 20.7 MPG, 8.8 PPG, 2.7 APG, 1.8 RPG, 1.1 STLPG

    Since his big opening month, Cole's really cooled down a bit and has begun to plateau. He's getting his buckets here and there, but he's mainly serving as a solid fill-in for Mario Chalmers when he needs a break.

    15. Enes Kanter: C, Utah Jazz 14.1 MPG, 4.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG

    When you're the No. 3 overall draft pick, surely you expect to play more than 14 minutes per game, right? Well, not when you're a big man on the same team as Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap and Derrick Favors. Kanter's in a pretty bad situation, stuck on a team that's stacked with talent at his position. He's productive whenever he's on the court; it's just that he's not on the court very often.

    14. Nikola Vucevic: C, Philadelphia 76ers 15.3 MPG, 5.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG

    Vucevic took advantage of Spencer Hawes' injury, putting up 13 points and nine boards in 24 minutes against the Heat on Saturday. But then his fortune turned into misfortune when he went down with a knee injury. He only missed one game, and he probably wouldn't have done too much against JaVale McGee, anyway.

Rookies 13-6

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    13. Markieff Morris: PF, Phoenix Suns 21.2 MPG, 7.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG

    After a relatively fast start (and I say relative in comparison with his twin brother, Marcus, who was sent and re-called from the D-League), the better of the two twins has cooled off. His shooting from deep has slowed down and his rebound rate has dropped as well. Still, he's getting minutes, and I think he may be growing a bit fatigued from the compact 66-game schedule. Who knows.

    12. Alec Burks: SG, Utah Jazz 12.3 MPG, 6.1 PPG

    I'm mad because this clearly talented rookie is getting limited minutes. He put up double digit points in three straight games last week when he played at least 18 minutes, but he's only had four and two points in the Jazz's last two games. Inconsistent minutes equal inconsistent production.

    11. Iman Shumpert: SG, New York Knicks 31.3 MPG, 11.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.4 APG, 2.4 STLPG

    Running the point isn't Shumpert's natural position, so judging anything he's done at the helm of an offense doesn't really do too much good. He's been a stellar on-ball defender, but he's got work on playing the passing lanes and perfecting his off-ball defense. Still, he's surprised me with his ability to knock down deeper shots in his rookie season, and I think there's much room for growth for the young stud.

    10. Jon Leuer: F, Milwaukee Bucks 17.3 MPG, 6.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG

    For the duration of his six-game starting extravaganza, Jon Leuer's minutes have begun steadily declining. He only played three minutes on Wednesday against Houston and didn't play at all on Monday vs. Atlanta. Not too sure why, but this kid's been a surprising rookie for the 40th pick in the draft. I'm sure his minutes will go back up because he's been nothing short of spectacular thus far.

    9. Tristan Thompson: PF, Cleveland Cavaliers 18.3 MPG, 8.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.1 BLKPG

    Following a 16-point, five-rebound outing against Atlanta, Thompson was forced to sit out Tuesday's game against the Miami Heat due to an ankle injury. He'll have a tough matchup against Amar'e Stoudemire and the New York Knicks, but the rook needs to play tough PFs in order to grow. I haven't really gotten a chance to watch him play, but I do know that it's about time for him to get a start in Cleveland.

    8. Brandon Knight: G, Detroit Pistons 32.3 MPG, 12.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 3.2 TOPG

    Knight's been taking care of the ball a little bit better lately, and he's jumped up my ladder because of it. He's proven that he can put points on the board in a hurry, but if he continues to limit his turnovers, Knight just might inch his way even further on this list. I'd still like to see him create more plays for his teammates, but I don't want to push my luck by asking for too much.

    7. Derrick Williams: F, Minnesota T-Wolves 20.3 MPG, 8.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG

    With both Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson out on Monday, D-Will saw 37 minutes of PT where he put up 11 points and grabbed seven boards. When Johnson returned against Dallas on Wednesday, Williams saw less minutes, but still started and recorded his third straight game in double digits with 10 points and six assists. Is it possible that Coach Adelman is putting some faith into the youngster?

    6. Kawhi Leonard: SF, San Antonio Spurs 24.3 MPG, 7.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.2 STLPG

    Not too sure what the rook did to get on Coach Popovich's bad side, but Leonard only got seven minutes of playing time against New Orleans, getting benched from the 4:50 mark in the first quarter to the last play of the game with 1.4 second left in the fourth. He followed that with an eight-point, five-rebound night with two steals. Leonard's not really too huge on scoring, but he just brings energy, intensity and young legs to a rather dull and old San Antonio Spurs squad.

Top 5 Rookies of Week 4

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    5. Kemba Walker: G, Charlotte Bobcats 26.0 MPG, 11.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.1 STLPG

    LAST 5 MIN PTS (FG, 3PT) AST REB STL
    WSH 38 8 (4-19, 0-4) 4 (3) 6 1
    NJ 32 16 (5-13, 1-3) 4 (3) 6 1
    CHI 25 4 (1-5, 0-1) 2 (4) 5 1
    ORL 38 15 (6-13, 3-7) 6 (4) 4 2
    CLE 38 14 (6-21, 1-4) 4 (2) 5 4

    Just as I was starting to believe in Kemba Walker, he goes ahead and misses 15 shots (the second time in five games that he's done that), including every three-pointer he took. Honestly, the only reason he's in my top five is because Kawhi Leonard got benched two games ago, and Jon Leuer's been seeing, for some odd reason, a decrease in playing time.

    4. Chandler Parsons: F, Houston Rockets 23.0 MPG, 7.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.2 STLPG

    Last 5 MIN PTS (FG, 3PT) AST REB STL
    MIL 36 16 (7-14, 0-2) 5 7 2
    MIN 34 5 (2-6, 1-3) 4 5 2
    SA 22 5 (2-6, 1-4) 0 5 0
    NO 25 3 (1-5, 1-3) 1 7 1
    DET 31 7 (3-7, 1-1) 4 7 2

    Just the fact that this kid, this rookie, took the starting job from Chase Budinger speaks volumes of his work ethic, IQ and diligence in practice. He's not piling onto the stats sheets like some of his other counterparts, but Parsons just plays so smart, fills his role on defense and keeps the offense flowing the way it should. He doesn't try to do too much and gets his points wherever he can. Parsons will be a starter for the foreseeable future.

    3. MarShon Brooks: SG, New Jersey Nets 29.0 MPG, 15.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.1 STLPG

    LAST 5 MIN PTS (FG, 3PT) AST (TO) REB STL
    CHA 36 20 (9-17, 0-1) 1 (0) 6 1
    OKC 34 14 (6-17, 0-4) 1 (2) 5 1
    GS 41 22 (8-15, 2-4) 6 (1) 8 0
    LAC 42 19 (7-14, 2-5) 3 (1) 8 1

    MarShon Brooks has been sidelined over the past two games, nursing a sore left achilles, but he's been terrific thus far for the New Jersey Nets. He's even started to look to pass, instead of holding onto the ball a la Joe Johnson. Hopefully, he can get back quickly to help give his Nets that scoring punch they need.

    2 (1A). Kyrie Irving: PG, Cleveland Cavaliers 27.9 MPG, 16.8 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.2 RPG 

    Last 5 MIN PTS (FG, 3PT) AST (TO) REB STL
    NY 30 7 (1-7, 1-4) 7 (2) 1 1
    MIA 26 17 (7-11, 1-3) 4 (3) 4 0
    ATL 27 18 (8-10, 1-2) 2 (7) 2 0
    CHI 22 13 (5-11, 3-4) 3 (2) 2 0
    GS 36 18 (7-13, 0-3) 5 (6) 8 1

    Honestly, Kyrie Irving almost deserves to be at the top of my rookie ladder. He's been everything and more that the Cavaliers have asked for in a franchise centerpiece. Aside from his last game against the Knicks, he's been scoring the ball very efficiently (50.7 percent on the season) and he's run the ball rather smoothly in the PT that he's been given. I'd like to see him play 35-plus minutes over Ramon Sessions from now on, but that's probably not going to happen.


    1. Ricky Rubio: PG, Minnesota T-Wolves 33.4 MPG, 11.1 PPG, 8.7 APG, 4.6 RPG, 2.6 STLPG

    Last 5 MIN PTS (FG, 3PT) AST (TO) REB STL
    DAL 46 17 (4-16, 1-5) 12 (7) 7 4
    HOU 38 6 (2-10, 0-3) 12 (5) 3 3
    UTAH 39 17 (5-12, 1-2) 11 (2) 3 4
    LAC 32 9 (1-11, 1-3) 6 (3) 6 3
    DET 38 9 (1-8, 0-2) 8 (3) 7 6

    It's just by an inch that Ricky Rubio hails victorious in this week's rookie ladder.

    Why Kristian? Why is Rubio at No. 1 again, this week?

    I will tell you, readers.

    Rubio recorded three straight double-digit assist games this week, two of which led to double-doubles. He's got two less turnovers than Kyrie Irving on the season, and plays about five more minutes per game than him. He's also averaging more assists, steals AND rebounds than his counterpart.

    It's not every year that we run into a PG like Ricky Rubio. It's probably because he's got professional experience from playing in the Euroleague, but the rookie's just got a natural feel for the game. Sure, his scoring touch isn't quite there yet (13-for-57 over his past five games), but he's been distributing the ball well and getting his teammates involved in the game.

    How could you NOT put this kid just slightly ahead of Irving?

    I won't lie, though. He has been a little sloppy with the ball lately, increasing his turnovers per game average to 3.5, but he just shows the well-roundedness and the poise that a No. 1 overall draft pick should show.

     

This Week's NBA Rookie Power Rankings

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    This week, I'm going to leave you, the readers, with a challenge.

    In the final column of each ranking, I'm going to leave an emoticon representing how I feel about the player's performance, thus far.

    It's up to you, my trusted B/R community readers, to decode, analyze and interpret each emoticon and take a guess as to what they mean.

    Rank Player PER CHG
    1. (1) PG, Ricky Rubio 17.35  :-)
    2. (2) PG, Kyrie Irving 20.62  :-)
    3. (3) SG, MarShon Brooks 19.66   :-)
    4. (12) F, Chandler Parsons 15.66   ^_^
    5. (7) G, Kemba Walker 14.06   :-/
    6. (5) F, Kawhi Leonard 14.75  :-)
    7. (13) F, Derrick Williams 14.76   :-D
    8. (14) G, Brandon Knight 11.28   :-D
    9. (8) PF, Tristan Thompson 14.35   :-/
    10. (9) F, Jon Leuer  17.19   :-/
    11. (6) G, Iman Shumpert  11.10   -__-
    12. (19) SG, Alec Burks 14.79  :-)
    13. (4) PF, Markieff Morris  12.85   :'-(
    14. (20) C, Nikola Vucevic 18.16   :-)
    15. (17) C, Enes Kanter  16.91   :-/
    16. (11) PG, Norris Cole  11.02   :-(
    17. (25) G, Jimmer Fredette  9.52   ^_^
    18. (15) PG, Isaiah Thomas  13.02   :-/
    19. (24) SG, Klay Thompson  9.57  :-D
    20. (18) F, Ivan Johnson 12.39  :-/
    21. (22) C, Bismack Biyombo  11.84  :-(
    22. (10) C, Greg Stiemsma 13.68   -__-
    23. (16) PF, Josh Harrellson  12.51   :-(
    24. (23) SG, Terrel Harris  12.97   :-(
    25. (---) SG, Andrew Goudelock  4.11   ^_^

    As you can see, Ricky Rubio remains the reigning champion, staying hot after three weeks into the new year. Kyrie Irving's been stellar, and MarShon Brooks has been an absolute steal at the 25th pick. More importantly, Sacramento's Jimmer Fredette seems to be coming on lately, and we may see good things from him in the future.

    Either way, tune in next week for yet another installment of NBA Rookie Power Rankings.

    Kristian Winfield is a Featured Columnist for the Portland Trail Blazers on the Bleacher Report. For friendly sports banter coupled with comic relief, you can follow him on Twitter @BriscoXCI.

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