NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Collin Sexton zooms past Trae Young, Luka Doncic to take No. 1 spot

The best part about the NBA -- and sports in general -- is that every once in a while you get a completely unpredictable result. For the first five months of the season, Cavaliers rookie Collin Sexton had been almost eerily consistent, averaging about 13-15 points per game pretty much every week.

So it's safe to say that nobody would have predicted that the speedy guard would zoom right past mainstays Luka Doncic and Trae Young to snatch the No. 1 spot in this week's NBA Rookie Rankings -- but that's exactly what happened. Sexton had by far his best week as a pro, and it coincided with relatively down performances from Young and Doncic, so the Young Bull finds himself ahead of the pack ... for this week at least.

A couple other somewhat surprising names also made their way up the rankings -- Mavs point guard Jalen Bruson and Pelicans guard Frank Jackson -- as increased playing time on struggling teams has led to confidence and strong performances. As the regular season winds down in its final month, it will be fun to see if other rookies emerge as coaches give them a chance to show what they've got.

*Reminder: The rankings are based on the past week's performance, not the entire season  

This week's NBA Rookie Rankings
Collin Sexton Cleveland Cavaliers PG

Last week: 10
Stats this week: 26.0 points, 3.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds

Sexton's great week was a result of his blistering 3-point shooting (13-of-26), but he also got to the rim and finished at a prolific rate, leading to 55 percent field goal shooting in four games. He didn't take nearly as many mid-range jumpers, which resulted in a much higher percentage on 2-point field goals than he's produced all season. For the season he's averaging 4.9 mid-range attempts per game compared to 6.3 attempts in the paint and restricted area, and this week that dropped to 1.5 mid-range attempts and bumped up to 8.8 attempts in the paint and restricted area. He didn't settle for pull-up jumpers out of the pick-and-roll, instead getting all the way to the rim, which in turn opened up his 3-point looks.
After an ugly seven-turnover game against the Heat last Friday, Sexton didn't have a single turnover in two games against the Raptors and Sixers. It's taken some growing pains, but the "Young Bull" has improved consistently as the season's gone on, and earns the top spot this week.
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks SF

Last week: 2
Stats this week: 19.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists

The likely Rookie of the Year has seen his production slip in recent weeks due to a knee injury that has left him at less than 100 percent, but a hindered Doncic is still one of the best players in the entire NBA. His percentages dropped this week, but just when you think he might be seriously hobbled, he throws down an emphatic clutch dunk to put the Mavs ahead with just five seconds left against Denver on Thursday night.
He finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, but continued to struggle from the 3-point line, going 1-of-8.
Trae Young Atlanta Hawks PG

Last week: 1
Stats this week: 18.3 points, 9.7 assists, 6.0 rebounds

The Hawks are averaging the most points in the NBA after the All-Star break, and Young is the main reason why. Even when he doesn't shoot well (35 percent field goals this week), his elite passing ability and determination to push the pace utilize all of Atlanta's emerging weapons. The connection between Young and John Collins has become one of the most exciting in the NBA, perfectly displayed by this insane alley-oop from beyond half-court in Wednesday's win over the Grizzlies.
Atlanta has a chance to beat any team on any given night thanks to Young, which is more than the Hawks have been able to say for the past few seasons.
Jalen Brunson Dallas Mavericks PG

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 22.5 points, 5.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds

Brunson saw a bump in minutes this week, and his scoring followed accordingly with tremendous efficiency (62 percent field goals, 42 percent 3-pointers). He turned in his best performance so far in a loss to the Spurs on Tuesday, scoring a career-high 34 points on 12-of-16 shooting to go along with five rebounds, four assists and just one turnover. He followed that up with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting in the close loss to Denver on Thursday. The Villanova product has already established himself as a point guard who can play in this league for a long time, and he may get even more of a showcase in the final month of the season if Doncic is limited, or even shut down, due to knee issues.
Frank Jackson New Orleans Pelicans PG

Last week: 9
Stats this week: 19.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists

As expected, Jackson received more playing time this week due to the injury to Jrue Holiday, and the 6-foot-3 Duke product responded by scoring over 20 points in two of the team's three games. The Pels went 0-3, but Jackson scored 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting and pulled down six rebounds in a loss to the Hawks, probably the best game of his young career. He couldn't find the range on his 3-point shot this week (4-for-21), but Jackson's athleticism and confidence make him a dangerous weapon for the Pels, who are looking for pieces to build around with the imminent departure of Anthony Davis.
Kevin Huerter Atlanta Hawks SG

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 15.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists

Huerter busted out of a mini-slump this week and got back to his sweet-shooting ways, knocking down 8-of-15 3-pointers in three games. The 6-8 shooting guard is the beneficiary of plenty of set-ups from Young, but he's also displayed an ability to put the ball on the floor, finish at the rim and distribute off the dribble. Huerter's minutes have been decreased recently, probably due to a few different ailments that have sidelined him, but he can still get hot in a hurry and is a big part of this team's future.
Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns C

Last week: 3
Stats this week: 13.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists

Ayton shot 44 percent this week, which is basically like any other player shooting 30 percent. The big man has been a paragon of efficiency, so it was odd to see the steep drop in a 1-2 week for the Suns. The decreased shooting percentage was due to taking more mid-range jumpers (4.3 per game, up from 3.3 per game) and making fewer of them (31 percent, down from 39 percent). Laying off Ayton and making him beat you from the mid-range is a strategy plenty of teams have employed so far in his rookie season, so he's bound to have ups and downs as he continues to fine-tune his shot.
Rodions Kurucs Brooklyn Nets SF

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals

Kurucs re-entered the Nets' starting lineup recently after an injury to Treveon Graham, and the 6-9 Latvian proved just how useful he can be. He averaged double figures while shooting 58 percent from the field and making 6-of-11 3-pointers. He also used his length on the defensive end, picking up six steals in three games this week by getting into passing lanes and creating deflections.
Kurucs could be a valuable playoff piece for the Nets if he continues to be active defensively and make his 3-pointers.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Los Angeles Clippers PG

Last week: 6
Stats this week: 12.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists

The Clippers just keep on rolling, and Gilgeous-Alexander is playing some of his strongest basketball during the stretch run. He doesn't put up the flashiest numbers, but he shot over 50 percent from the field and his length is vital for the Clippers defense. He's now scored in double figures in six of his last seven games (he scored nine in the other game), and will likely get his first taste of the playoffs in about a month.
Landry Shamet Los Angeles Clippers PG

Last week: 5
Stats this week: 11.0 points, 2.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds

Shamet continued to carve out a niche on the Clippers roster by putting together another unbelievable shooting week (8-for-16 from deep). He's now shooting 47 percent 3-pointers in 13 games with Los Angeles, including 52 percent on 7.3 attempts per game over the last six. He probably won't continue this assault through the playoffs, but it's safe to say Shamet's fitting in with his new teammates.

Dropped out

View Profile
Allonzo Trier NY • SG • 14
Stats this week:
View Profile
Mitchell Robinson NY • C • 26
Stats this week:
View Profile
Harry Giles SAC • PF • 20
Stats this week:

On the bubble

View Profile
Kevin Knox NY • SF • 20
Stats this week:
View Profile
Mikal Bridges PHO • SF • 25
Stats this week:
View Profile
Miles Bridges CHA • SF • 0
Stats this week:
Our Latest Stories