Last week: 1Needless to say, Doncic took things to a different level this week, putting up eye-popping numbers while shooting 48 percent from the field and 35 percent 3-pointers. He's clearly starting to get his bearings as a scorer, and that is opening up all sorts of passing lanes for him to utilize his uncanny vision. Luka dropped a career-high 32 points against the Clippers on Thursday (surpassing the previous career high of 28 he set two games prior), and it wasn't even the total, but the way that he got his points that was so impressive. After being hounded by Avery Bradley and Patrick Beverley for the first half, Doncic was much more surgical in the second, using his size to get where he wanted on the court, using his ball-handling and angles to get space and draw fouls (13 free throw attempts per game this week). It was a special night and a special week for the 19-year-old, and there are plenty more on the way. Doncic will continue his quest for a historic All-Star berth when the Mavs visit the Warriors on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET -- watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension).
Stats this week: 27.7 points, 8.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals
Last week: 4If not for Luka's best week yet, Ayton would have had a strong case for the top spot. The Suns have doubled their win total over the past four games, including a 3-0 record this week, capped off by a jaw-dropping victory over the Celtics at the Garden. It's a good sign that Ayton played well in all three wins, scoring 23 points and pulling down a career-high 18 rebounds in the win over the Celtics. Ayton also consistently displayed an ability to crash the offensive glass -- something he's only done in flashes so far this season. He averaged 5.7 offensive rebounds per game this week, getting his team much-needed second-shot opportunities. Ayton hasn't only been out-jumping smaller and less athletic players, but he's also used his length and craftiness to tip the ball to himself a la Dennis Rodman. This type of effort is just what the Suns want to see out of their prized big man.
Stats this week: 20.7 points, 14.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Last week: 3Knox has become a central piece of the Knicks offense, playing 35 minutes or more in three games this week -- all losses. It's clear that David Fizdale and his coaching staff have given Knox carte blanche offensively, as the youngster has put up at least 15 field goal attempts in each of his last six games, after only passing the mark three times in his entire career before that. He's shooting well from the 3-point line (39 percent this week), and the next evolution of his game is to become more of a playmaker -- but there's no rush on a Knicks team doing its best to win the lottery.
Stats this week: 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Last week: 5If you throw away a terrible shooting night against the stout Celtics defense, Young had a pretty decent week. He had a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists in a loss to the Nets, then had a strong 19-point, four-assist game against the Wizards -- and he shot well in both those games (4-for-8 from deep). He at least appears to be breaking out of a month-long shooting slump, which is a great sign for the Hawks, but, of course, it's not translating to many more victories. The biggest thing is to make sure Young's confidence doesn't take any serious hits while he gets some seasoning in his rookie year.
Stats this week: 13.7 points, 5.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds
Last week: 8The Grizzlies struggled with an 0-4 week, and Jackson's stats continued to drop following a breakout stretch that landed him atop these rankings a couple of weeks ago. One area that's a bit concerning: Jackson has only collected double-digit rebounds in one game this season. For a player as athletic and active as he is, albeit slight of frame, you'd think he would be able to pull down more rebounds in the 20-30 minutes he gets every night. Memphis is sixth in the league in defensive rating, but 29th in rebound percentage. For a team that forces so many misses, you'd like to see more of those rebounds snatched up -- preferably by Jackson when he's in there.
Stats this week: 10.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks
Last week: 9Playing more than 30 minutes per game in a 1-2 week for the Hawks, Huerter just continues to do what he does on the court. He shot 50 percent from the field and a sterling 47 percent from the 3-point line (8-for-17) for the week, tying a career high with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting in a loss to the Celtics. Huerter also picked up three steals in that game, and has now tallied at least one steal in six of his last eight games. He's not a lock-down defender by any means, but for a 6-foot-7, 190-pound rookie, he's more than holding his own. According to Synergy Sports Tech, he's allowing just 0.75 points per possession around the rim, of all places, which means he's doing a good job moving his feet and funneling his man into the help defense in the paint.
Stats this week: 12.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals
Last week: 7Gilgeous-Alexander generally lets the game come to him and rarely forces the issue, and we saw two games this week where that became somewhat problematic. He attempted only four shots in a loss to the Thunder and a win over the Mavericks, and was pretty much a no-show offensively. Sandwiched between those two, however, was a career-high 24-point performance against the Trail Blazers, where he shot 9-of-15 from the field. Gilgeous-Alexander has a silky smooth game, but as his career progresses he needs to find ways to assert himself offensively when he feels his team needs it.
Stats this week: 10.0 points, 2.0 assists, 1.7 rebounds
Last week: UnrankedWhen the Suns go 3-0 in a week, they deserve two players on this list. Ayton had the big numbers, but Bridges has become an important part of the Suns' attack on both ends, and that will only grow with the departure of Trevor Ariza. Billed as a prototypical 3-and-D guy out of Villanova, Bridges has already proven himself capable in both those areas. He shot 31 percent 3-pointers this week, but has had much better stretches than that so far in his career. But where he's really excelled is on the defensive end, where his versatility and length allow the Suns to switch screens on the perimeter. Watch these two plays -- first Bridges fights over the screen and uses his long limbs to deflect a Kyrie Irving pass, then he offers baseline help on Luke Kornet, but uses his anticipation and quickness to get back into position in time to intercept the (very bad) pass. Bridges may not be a 20-point scorer or 40 percent 3-point shooter any time soon, but he's already developing into an elite wing defender.
Stats this week: 9.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks
Last week: UnrankedShamet does pretty much one thing on the court, but this week he sure did it well. In a 2-2 week for the Sixers, Shamet shot a scorching 11-of-17 from the 3-point line, making four against both the Cavs and the Knicks. Clearly picking up some tricks from teammate JJ Redick, Shamet has excelled running off screens and in dribble hand-off situations, but he's been especially deadly spotting up, scoring 1.235 points per possession in those situations, according to Synergy, which puts him in the same realm as players like Kevin Durant, Danny Green, Tobias Harris and Kawhi Leonard.
Stats this week: 10.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists
Last week: 2Sexton's rocky road continued in a 1-3 week for the Cavs, as the rookie point guard struggled shooting the ball (37 percent from the field, 14 percent 3-pointers) and facilitating for his teammates (six assists in four games). After attempting 14 3s in three games last week, a step in the right direction, he saw that number drop to just seven attempts in his last four games. He has a long leash given the Cavs' situation, but it's clear it's going to be a while before Sexton is the impact player the front office hopes he'll develop into.
Stats this week: 10.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists