NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Luka Doncic back on top after clutch scoring barrage; Trae Young finally breaks loose

Halleluka indeed. Mavericks forward Luka Doncic reclaims the top spot in this week's Rookie Rankings after a brief, one-week abdication of the throne to Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. It was quite a week for Doncic, who was not only serenaded with a custom version of the timeless classic, "Hallelujah," but also provided us with one of the best GIFs of the season in a jubilant celebration with teammate DeAndre Jordan.

Meanwhile Collin Sexton and Kevin Knox continued their ascent up the rankings with strong weeks, while Trae Young jumped back into the top half of the group after settling toward the bottom for the past few weeks. We also saw how fickle the life of a rookie can be, as Jackson dropped all the way to No. 8 after his brief stint at No. 1.

This week's NBA Rookie Rankings
1
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks SF

Last week: 3
Stats this week: 16.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists

Doncic limped toward this week's finish line with a pedestrian 13-point performance in a loss to the desperate Phoenix Suns, but he did enough in the previous three games, all wins, to earn back the top spot in the rankings. He's been struggling shooting the ball recently, but he had the best sequence of his young NBA career on Saturday, going on a personal 11-0 run in the final three minutes to rip the Houston Rockets' heart out and pull out a victory.
Doncic's step-back 3-pointer has already become a signature go-to shot, and is rivaling James Harden's for the best in the league. He also dished out a career-high nine assists in just 26 minutes in a win over the Magic -- a sign that his assist numbers might soon start catching up to the passing ability he has clearly displayed.
2
Collin Sexton Cleveland Cavaliers PG

Last week: 5
Stats this week: 21.5 points, 3.0 assists, 2.8 rebounds

If you throw out a 5-for-18 clunker against the stout Bucks defense, Sexton shot the ball extremely well this week. More importantly, however, he attempted 14 3-pointers in three games, making a respectable 37.5 percent of them. The Cavs have wanted Sexton to shoot more 3s, and his total in the last three games exceeds the number that he had taken in the previous seven games combined, so that's a positive sign. Here's a situation where Sexton comes off a screen and has plenty of space in front of him to dribble in for a pull-up 20-footer, but instead he chooses to take the 3-pointer.
Even though he missed, and you wish Eric Bledsoe wasn't quite so close to him, this is the type of 3-over-2 mindset that will help Sexton, who's back in action on Friday against the Bucks (7:30 p.m. ET -- watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension), moving forward -- as long as he can make them.
3
Kevin Knox New York Knicks SF

Last week: 4
Stats this week: 17.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 0.7 blocks

The Knicks went 0-3 this week, no surprise, but Knox's development has been a silver lining amid the Zion Williamson sweepstakes. The 6-9 forward tied a career-high with 26 points and set a new mark with 15 rebounds in Sunday's loss to the Hornets. He's still not shooting efficiently from the field, but he went 7-for-15 from behind the 3-point line this week, and the Knicks will certainly take that. Knox has only played 22 games this season and is still increasing his workload, so there will be growing pains along the way, but it's a good sign that he's already been able to put up some big scoring games.
4
Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns C

Last week: 6
Stats this week: 13.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.8 blocks

Ayton seems to be out of whatever strange situation caused him to be benched last week against the Trail Blazers, and he got back to his steady production for most of the week. He notched double-doubles in every game except Thursday's win over the Mavericks, which ironically was one of the worst offensive games of his career (seven points, five rebounds, 3-of-13 from the field). The good news is, Ayton is back to blocking shots. Maybe the benching lit a fire underneath him defensively, but Ayton blocked seven shots in four games this week, after blocking just two in the previous four-game stretch. He's not the best defender yet, but as long as he can protect the rim he can at least be of service to the struggling Suns defense.
5
Trae Young Atlanta Hawks PG

Last week: 8
Stats this week: 16.5 points, 7.0 assists, 1.0 steals

Is Young finally out of his slump? That remains to be seen, but he did finally have a good game. After struggling in an upset win over the Nuggets on Saturday, Young broke out for 24 points on 11-of-20 shooting and dished out 10 assists in a close loss to Doncic's Mavericks. Young and Doncic will, of course, be linked throughout their careers because of the draft day trade, so that may have provided some extra motivation for Young to step up. He's still not shooting efficiently from beyond the arc, but he did see some go into the basket this week (3 of 8). He's got a tough task carrying so much of the load for a terrible team, so it won't be surprising to see him go through some lulls throughout the season.
6
Marvin Bagley III Sacramento Kings PF

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 13.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists

Bagley rejoined the Kings lineup after a back injury sidelined him for two games last week, and he didn't miss a beat. He only played 10 minutes against the Pacers due to foul trouble, but other than that he was solid in his reserve role in a 3-1 week for the Kings. Bagley's rebounding numbers have been wildly inconsistent throughout his rookie season, and that continued this week. He collected five total boards in the first three games this week, then pulled down 10 in 26 minutes in a win over the Timberwolves. Sacramento would probably like to see him get a little more consistent in that aspect of his game, but overall they have to be pleased with the way Bagley is fitting in.
7
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Los Angeles Clippers PG

Last week: 7
Stats this week: 11.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals

The Clippers have fallen on hard times recently, going 1-3 this week, but Gilgeous-Alexander has continued his strong play. He's already established himself as a master of the mid-range, using his pull-up ability to excel in the pick-and-roll, but he's also been able to consistently knock down catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. He also excels on the defensive end, where the Clippers had been strong all season until their recent skid. The Clippers may regress to the mean over the next couple of weeks, but Gilgeous-Alexander already looks like a building block for years to come.
8
Jaren Jackson Jr. Memphis Grizzlies PF

Last week: 1
Stats this week: 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals

Jackson came back down to earth this week after taking the top spot from Doncic last week. His three-point, zero-rebound performance in just 15 minutes in a win over Anthony Davis and the Pelicans brought down his averages this week, but otherwise he was a solid contributor. The Grizzlies have enough veteran talent that they don't need to play Jackson 30 minutes per game no matter what, and the rookie found that out this week. He had a strong game against the Blazers on Wednesday with 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks, but it's probably going to be a while before the 19-year-old achieves consistency.
9
Kevin Huerter Atlanta Hawks SG

Last week: 10
Stats this week: 13.5 points, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks

We'll give you one guess at which player led all rookies in minutes per game this week. That's right, Kevin Huerter. The 6-foot-7 shooting guard continues to impress as a mainstay in the Hawks lineup, averaging 36 minutes in two games this week. He exploded for a career-high 19 points on 4-of-6 3-point shooting in a loss to the Mavericks on Wednesday, and he's now collected a blocked shot in each of his last four games. Believe it or not at this young stage of his career, Huerter has already become one of the more reliable members of the Hawks.
10
Jalen Brunson Dallas Mavericks PG

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 12.3 points, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals

Last year's National College Player of the Year at Villanova, Brunson was pressed into action this week due to an injury to Dennis Smith Jr. As a three-year college player and two-time national champion, Brunson's poise and maturity were evident from the get-go as he fit seamlessly into the Mavs' starting lineup. He displayed an ability to get into the lane, and finished at high clip with both hands, leading to a stellar 61 percent from the field this week.
Brunson may not have a permanent spot in the rotation when Dallas is fully healthy, but he's proven more than capable of filling in, and is a valuable asset to have as the Mavericks attempt to make a playoff push.

Dropped out

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Wendell Carter Jr. CHI • PF • 34
Stats this week:
PPG6.0
RPG4.3
BPG1.0
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Miles Bridges CHA • SF • 0
Stats this week:
PPG4.3
RPG3.0
BPG1.3


On the bubble

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Mikal Bridges PHO • SF • 25
Stats this week:
PPG11.5
APG1.5
RPG3.3
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De'Anthony Melton PHO • PG • 14
Stats this week:
PPG10.5
APG4.8
SPG2.0
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