As the NBA continues to feel the ramifications of COVID-19 outbreaks across the leagues, rookies continue to see rise in minutes while their teams are without key players. What's also been noticeable is just how wide open the Rookie of the Year race is going to be this season. There have been several first-year players who have surprised this season, including the No. 1 guy on the list this week: Immanuel Quickley.
It's a testament to a rookie class that wasn't ever considered one of the best, but early on this season we've gotten some great performances from guys that no one expected.
These rankings will reflect a rookie's performance on a week-to-week basis, not the collective season, so these aren't Rookie of the Year standings. With that straightened out, here is a look at the top rookies this week.
In New York's blowout win over the Boston Celtics, Quickly put up 17 points and eight assists off the bench, has has been incredibly efficient as a ball handler in the second unit for the Knicks. He's proven to be quite deadly out of the pick-and-roll, where he generates 1.189 points per possession, which ranks in the 93rd percentile in the league, per Synergy Sports Technology. He uses screens set by the likes of Nerlens Noel, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle to create space and pull up for a 3-pointer or get into the paint and nail a floater, which he's become quite good at.
For as good as he's been on the ball, though, he's not a great off-ball scorer. He certainly needs the ball in his hands to create, but he'll also need to improve his ability to contribute off the ball to elevate his game in this league.
In his first career start with the Rockets, Jones made the most of it by putting up 24 points, six boards and four assists in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He knocked in six 3-pointers, and was equally efficient from the field, in 35 minutes of action. He hasn't been given a ton of opportunity until that Spurs game, due to the logjam in the backcourt before James Harden was traded, but after his outburst against San Antonio, he's certainly earned himself some more playing time.
He's automatic from deep, can put the ball on the deck and get to the rim, or pull up from mid-range and he's gotten off some sweet dimes early in the season. As an undrafted rookie, Jones is certainly proving that he should be in this league.
Tillman's minutes have increased with each passing game in Memphis due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has decimated the Grizzlies lineup which resulted in three consecutive games getting postponed. He's most used in the pick-and-roll, and his go-to shot is the floater just outside the restricted area, where he's connected on 80 percent of them (in a small sample size). He's got great touch around the rim, and because he's a bit undersized for a power forward in the league, he can handle the ball a little and catch bigger defenders off guard.
He has the ability to shoot 3s, although he's not making them at a high enough clip to warrant him taking more than two a game, but if he can become consistent from deep, he'll be even more valuable as a floor stretcher on this Memphis team.
Prior to this week, Anthony was shooting 18.2 percent from 3-point territory, and it was starting to get a bit concerning for a guard who was known for being able to score from pretty much anywhere in college. Well, in the four games he played this week he finally found his touch from outside, going 8-for-19 from beyond the arc, including a game-winning 3-point shot at the buzzer against the Timberwolves.
His shooting had been the biggest concern to start the season, because he's contributing in other ways on the court in the form of assists, rebounds and steals. But now that it appears as though he's shaken off the rookie-yips this week, he can be even more valuable to the Magic.
In a win over the Spurs, Wiseman had his best game of his career to date, putting up 20 points, six rebounds and four assists, while finishing the game a plus-17. He was doing a lot of traditional center stuff, as he's cut down on 3-point shots in the last week. But the beauty of that, is he's benefiting from the passing wizardry of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, and more importantly, he's finishing them.
He's feasting by just hanging out in the dunker's spot, but he can stretch out his game to take shots from mid-range, and go to a few post-up moves to create something. Without Klay Thompson, the Warriors can't go with their typical space-and-pace play, but with Wiseman they can feed him lobs or passes down beneath the basket and know that he's likely going to connect.
When asked about Okoro's defense against the Nets' Big Three, teammate Collin Sexton said he's a "tough-nosed guy" and attributed it to him being from Atlanta just like Sexton. While we can't confirm the last part of Sexton's statement, we can certainly show that Okoro played some impressive defense against the likes of James Harden and Kyrie Irving. You wouldn't have seen how great of a defensive performance he put on by looking at the box score, as he didn't come away with a bunch of steals or deflections. But he made life difficult on Harden and Irving, just by staying in front of them and not allowing either star guard to go into their usual bag of tricks.
He may not put up a bunch of points on offense, but his defense is what keeps him on the floor and in the starting lineup for Cleveland.
It's a small sample size, but Edwards is one of the statistically best isolation scorers in the league so far this season, generating 1.417 points per possession per Synergy Sports Technology. He's also been a great spark plug off the bench for the Timberwolves, nailing 3s and getting to the basket with ease.
The only issue, though, is that while Edwards has a quick first step that allows him to blow past many defenders, he's only connecting on roughly 50 percent of them. That may seem high, but considering how often he's able to get to the basket he's leaving a lot of points on the table by not being able to finish consistently.
The mid-range shot has returned to Chicago, and Williams has benefited greatly from it. He's shooting 50 percent on mid-range jumpers, and continues to prove that the Bulls absolutely made the right choice in choosing him fourth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. He also doesn't need the ball in his hands to make an impact on offense, which is why you'll typically find him open on the 3-point line ready to drill one home.
He's missed a game due to hip injury. However, he's expected to be back on the court for Chicago's next game to pick up where h left off.
Tate continues to have an impressive rookie season in Houston, as he shows off his shooting ability and athleticism on both ends of the floor. His wide frame comes in handy when he wants to get down in the post, and he's absolutely bullied some guys in the paint -- like Zach LaVine -- to get buckets.
There actually isn't an area of Tate's game on offense where he isn't at the very least average at, and as a small forward he has good court vision too. He's been compared to teammate PJ Tucker type of player, because not only can he contribute in a variety of ways on offense, but he's on track to be a good defensive player as well.
Bane can score from all three levels. He's shooting an absurd 72.7 percent from mid-range, 58.1 percent on above-the-break 3s, and 53.3 percent in the restricted area. Oh, and he can also defend better than pretty much every rookie in his class.
Between him and Tillman, the Grizzlies got perhaps two of the best steals in the draft...again.