NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Jaren Jackson Jr. takes top spot from Luka Doncic; Deandre Ayton in Suns coach's doghouse?

We've been spoiled by Luka Doncic's performance so far during his rookie campaign, but alas, all reigns must come to an end -- at least temporarily. For the first time since our very first edition of this season's rankings, Doncic has relinquished the No. 1 spot, so please join us in congratulating Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. on his rapid ascent to the throne.

Jackson's been excellent for weeks, but he put it all together in a huge game to begin the week, catapulting him to the top from the No. 5 spot. Meanwhile Knicks forward Kevin Knox joins the rankings after a breakout performance in a win over the Bucks, along with newcomers Miles Bridges and Kevin Huerter.

We don't know how long Jackson will remain king of the rookies, but he certainly earned it. Here are this week's NBA Rookie Power Rankings.

This week's NBA Rookie Rankings
1
Jaren Jackson Jr. Memphis Grizzlies PF

Last week: 5
Stats this week: 22.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks

Jackson shoots to the top of the rankings after a phenomenal week, led by a career night of 36 points and eight rebounds in a win over Brooklyn in which he hit a cold-blooded 3-pointer in the final seconds to send the game to overtime.
Jackson has been a favorite of the analytics crowd pretty much since he set foot on an NBA floor, but rookies need a signature moment to hang their hat on -- and this was certainly it. The 19-year-old continues to display two-way ability and poise beyond his years for a Grizzlies team, who face off next against the Pelicans on Friday (8 p.m. ET -- watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension), that could make the playoffs when all is said and done.
2
Wendell Carter Jr. Chicago Bulls PF

Last week: 10
Stats this week: 16.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks

The Bulls finally got to see their starting frontcourt of the future, as Lauri Markkanen started alongside Carter for the first time on Tuesday. Needless to say, it was a promising beginning. Markkanen finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Carter added 12 points, 13 rebounds and a block in 31 minutes. It appeared that Carter had hit a bit of a lull in his rookie campaign, and Markkanen's return has allowed him to go back to the role he's more suited for -- crashing the boards, blocking shots and creating energy. He and Markkanen are a strong, young one-two punch.
3
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks SF

Last week: 1
Stats this week: 11.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.0 steals

Doncic cooled off this week and, not surprisingly given how much of the offense he controls, the Mavericks struggled as well. He made only 28.6 percent of his field goals and 23.1 percent of his 3-pointers, while posting just 11.7 points per game, far below his season average of 18.1, as the Mavs went 1-2 with him in the lineup. Doncic missed a win over the Clippers with a hip injury, and that could have contributed to his subpar performance this week, so we won't read too much into it. Still, it will be interesting to see how defenses change their game plan against the rookie now that he has 20 or so games under his belt.
4
Kevin Knox New York Knicks SF

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 15.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists

Knox had a coming out party of his own in a baffling Knicks win over the Milwaukee Bucks last Saturday, scoring 26 points while dishing out four assists and pulling down four rebounds. It was the first time Knox had scored more than 17 points in an NBA game, and he shot 9-for-20 from the field (a vast improvement from his other percentages this week) and hit 5-of-12 3-pointers in the win. Knox is anything but a finished product, but it's games like Saturday that get Knicks fans cautiously excited for the future.
5
Collin Sexton Cleveland Cavaliers PG

Last week: 3
Stats this week: 15.3 points, 2.8 assists, 2.3 rebounds

Sexton didn't shoot well from the field (42 percent) in a 1-3 week for the Cavs, but he did make four of his six 3-point attempts, bringing him over 42 percent for the season. He's done a good job picking and choosing his spots to launch from deep, but the Cavs would like to see their lottery pick up his volume from beyond the arc. According to Synergy Sports Tech, Sexton has attempted 110 shots between 17 feet and the 3-point line so far this season, second only to Klay Thompson (who is far more effective at them). Eliminating these low efficiency shots and shooting more 3s will help open up the floor for the Cavs offense.
6
Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns C

Last week: 4
Stats this week: 12.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists

There was a slight red flag from Ayton this week, as he was pulled early in an embarrassing loss to the Kings due to poor effort, then mysteriously lost his starting spot to Richaun Holmes on Thursday against the Blazers. Suns coach Igor Kokoskov said that Ayton wasn't feeling well before the Blazers game, and that's why he didn't start, but he checked in just three minutes into the game, and then came off the bench again to start the third quarter, suggesting his benching could have been disciplinary. Kokoskov has gotten on Ayton already this season for not being aggressive enough, and he had some harsh words for the No. 1 overall pick after the Kings game, saying Ayton "didn't come ready to play." The Suns were without Devin Booker and TJ Warren for both games, so Ayton could have been the focal point of the offense. Instead, the reason why he came off the bench is now a subject for debate in Phoenix.
"Ayton is a rookie, he's going to hit a wall, he's going to have bad games, and we're still here to support him and coach him and teach him," Kokoskov said after the Kings game. "He's still our future. Nothing changes off one game. He didn't play an impressive game by any means, but Deandre's our guy."
Things like this happen with rookies, but it's certainly something to keep an eye on given the questions about Ayton's motor and passion coming into the draft.
7
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Los Angeles Clippers PG

Last week: 6
Stats this week: 9.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals

Though his minutes have dropped a bit with the Clippers backcourt at full strength, Gilgeous-Alexander continues to be rock-solid on both ends of the floor. SGA doesn't have elite athleticism or blow-by explosiveness, but he's been excellent in limited isolation situations, making 10 of his 14 attempts, according to Synergy. His craftiness and basketball IQ continue to stand out as he's helped the Clippers to one of the best records in the NBA.
8
Trae Young Atlanta Hawks PG

Last week: 7
Stats this week: 14.3 points, 5.3 assists, 2.0 rebounds

It looked like Young might be pulling himself out of a massive shooting slump last week, but he was horrendous again this week, shooting 33 percent from the field and 8.3 percent (1-for-12) on 3-pointers in three Hawks losses. Taurean Prince is expected to miss at least three weeks with an ankle injury, putting even more of the offensive burden on Young's shoulders. He had a usage rate of 30.5 this week, by far tops among rookies, and it doesn't look like that's going to drop any time soon.
9
Miles Bridges Charlotte Hornets SF

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists

Bridges scored in double figures in all three games this week, notable because he had only done it four times in his entire career before that, and hadn't done it since Nov. 3. Part of the reason for his increased scoring was his 3-point shooting, hitting 7-of-15 from distance in three Hornets losses. Bridges has shown tremendous athleticism and energy off the bench, but we'll have to wait and see if the 3 becomes a consistent part of his game moving forward.
10
Kevin Huerter Atlanta Hawks SG

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 7.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals

Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce has made no secret about the primary reason the team drafted Huerter: To shoot the basketball. So far the Maryland product has done that, hitting 39 percent of his 3-pointers in his young career, but this week he also displayed some serious playmaking ability that could be an added bonus. Huerter made some nifty passes to the roll man coming off of dribble hand-offs, and he's now dished out four assists in each of his last four games.
Huerter's primary function on the court is to be able to hit shots off screens and extend the defense -- making plays like this out of those actions raises his ceiling, and makes him a dangerous asset for the young Hawks.

Dropped out

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Marvin Bagley III SAC • PF • 35
DNP this week - injury
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Allonzo Trier NY • SG • 14
Stats this week:
PPG5.7
APG2.7
RPG2.7
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Landry Shamet PHI • PG • 1
Stats this week:
PPG7.3
RPG1.3
APG.7
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