NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Ingram rewarding Lakers with immense versatility

Drawing comparisons to Kevin Durant, the expectation for Brandon Ingram was that he was going to be an impactful scorer right away. Although that hasn't happened yet, Ingram has shown signs that he can play multiple positions, including point guard.

Ingram has been running the Lakers' second unit at times but with D'Angelo Russell out with an injury against the Cavaliers, the No. 2 overall pick moved into the starting lineup and flirted with a triple-double (9 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists).

Point guard isn't Ingram's natural role but his court vision and ball handling skills allows him to play the position. And while Ingram is clearly still a work in progress, his versatility is a reason why his upside is so high. But that is just like the rest of the rookie class as this year's rookies have only shown flashes of potential and have been largely inconsistent.

This week's rankings
1
Joel Embiid Philadelphia 76ers C
Last week: No. 1

Embiid played four games in a row last week -- that's just the second time all season that has happened. During that stretch, Embiid averaged 17 points while shooting 49 percent, 6.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, two blocks and a steal in 26.9 minutes. Embiid also scored a career-high 33 points in the Sixers' 108-107 victory over the Nets. He remains the best rookie in his class and is also one of the better centers in the Eastern Conference.

2
Jamal Murray Denver Nuggets SG
Last week: No. 3

Murray's scoring was a bit inconsistent in the last week, yet he still ranks second among among all rookies. The Nuggets guard is averaging 9.2 points and is shooting 37.8 percent and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. Besides being one of the top rookie scorers, Murray is in the top-10 in 3-point shooting, rebounding and assists among first-year players.

3
Malcolm Brogdon Milwaukee Bucks SG
Last week: No. 4

Dunking on both Kyrie Irving and LeBron James in the same game, Malcolm Brogdon unquestionably now has the best highlight plays out of any other rookie. But Brogdon is more than just those two highlight plays, he is a fine playmaker (he dished out five assists against the Cavs). As a second-round pick, Brogdon is likely the steal of the draft. He's third among all rookies in assists (3.0) and sixth in points (7.5).

4
Brandon Ingram Los Angeles Lakers SF
Last week: No. 6

Ingram showcased his blossoming versatility for the Lakers in the last week. His scoring hasn't really made a significant jump but he'll have a chance to change that as as his role continually increases for the Lakers. Ingram even filled in as point guard when D'Angelo Russell was out in the Lakers' 119-108 loss and finished the game with a near triple-double of 9 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. Ingram is in the top-10 among rookies in points, assists and rebounds.

5
Dario Saric Philadelphia 76ers PF
Last week: No. 2

Dario Saric's shooting was very inconsistent in the last week, which is why he slides down the rankings. He even had two games where he didn't convert a single field goal attempt. That said, Saric did have a nice 7-point, 8-rebound performance against the Nets. He also is third among all rookies in points and second in rebounds.

6
Pascal Siakam Toronto Raptors PF
Last week: No. 7

In Toronto's last two games, Pascal Siakam has been playing more minutes for the Raptors. It remains to be seen if his increasing playing time is an anomaly or a sign of things to come, but Siakam has been solid when playing. Take his performance against the Magic as an example, Siakam set a career-high with four blocks to go along with six points and seven rebounds. He is second among all rookies in blocks and fifth in rebounding.

7
Isaiah Whitehead Brooklyn Nets PG
Last week: No. 8

Similar to Brogdon in Milwaukee, Isaiah Whitehead has done a fine job at running Brooklyn's second unit. Whitehead is a fine scorer (6.8 points) and playmaker (3.1 assists). He is second among all rookies in assists and ninth in points.

8
Andrew Harrison Memphis Grizzlies PG
Last week: No. 5

Mike Conley's return has impacted Andrew Harrison's role as he is back to coming off the bench and playing a limited role. His shooting is still dismal (27.9 percent) but Harrison is a fine second-unit point guard for the Grizzlies. He leads all rookies in assists and steals.

9
Willy Hernangomez New York Knicks C
Last week: No. 10

Despite still playing limited minutes (13.9), Willy Hernangomez remains a beast on the boards. He is averaging five boards a game, which is third overall among all rookies. He had two 10-rebound games in the last week and when he got extended minutes against the Nuggets, Hernangomez had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

10
Buddy Hield New Orleans Pelicans SG
Last week: Unranked

It may be fool's gold but it looks like Buddy Hield has finally gotten in a rhythm offensively. He's scored in double figures in the last four Pelicans' games and had a career-high 21 points against the Pacers. Hield has also moved into the starting lineup for New Orleans and his minutes have increased with his new role. If he is able to keep building on his recent success, Hield will surely be near the top of the rankings in no time.

CBS Sports Writer

Ananth Pandian has been writing about all NBA-related things including the social and lifestyle aspect of the sport for CBS Sports since 2015. His name is actually easy to pronounce, just remember it is... Full Bio

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