Rookies rarely start off their careers like a rocket ship -- it's usually more like one of those rickety, old wooden roller coasters you're a little bit scared to ride. Sure it has fun moments, but they're interspersed with an overriding feeling of anxiety and unpredictability.

So when we get rookies like Luka Doncic, who, as we've mentioned several times, should have a bit of a leg up on other first-year players given his professional experience, they become the exception rather than the norm. This week's rankings feature two players in particular, Collin Sexton and Marvin Bagley III, who have had more traditional rookie campaigns.

After rocky starts, they both look like they're starting to find their place in the league (Bagley told CBS Sports that the frequency of games and travel compared to college has been a difficult adjustment), and the success is translating to the court. As a result they've both moved up this week, ahead of more consistent performers like Jaren Jackson Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. From everything we know about rookies, however, both Sexton and Bagley could be back at the bottom -- or even out of the rankings -- next week.

Up and down we go.

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

Last week: 1
Stats this week: 17.5 points, 5.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals

We're running out of things to say about Doncic, who continues to be the floor leader for a Mavericks team that's won eight of its last 10 games. He tied a career high with eight assists in a big win over the Celtics, and shot 6-for-11 on 3-pointers in two games this week. Here's another thing: If it seems like Doncic has made a lot of buzzer-beaters so far in his young career, that's because he has. According to Synergy Sports Tech, Doncic has made 13 field goals with less than four seconds remaining on the shot clock, second only to Chris Paul and James Harden. Coincidentally, Doncic hit perhaps his most absurd end-of-shot-clock buzzer-beater against Harden and the Rockets in Wednesday's win.
Marvin Bagley III Sacramento Kings PF

Last week: 4
Stats this week: 18.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 blocks

Bagley is the subject of controversy in Sacramento, as the front office reportedly wants him to have a bigger role in Dave Joerger's offense, and perhaps even join the starting lineup. Despite all the noise, Bagley has been steadily improving, and just had his best week as a pro. Before his career night against the Warriors on Saturday (20 points, 17 rebounds), he told CBS Sports that the game was starting to slow down for him, and it's definitely showing on the court. Were it not for a late injury against the Clippers on Thursday night, his numbers for the week would have been even more impressive. 
Collin Sexton Cleveland Cavaliers PG

Last week: 5
Stats this week: 21.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists

Sexton has come into his own since receiving the keys to the Cavs' offense, leading all rookies in scoring this week while shooting a respectable 49 percent from the field in four games. Most importantly, and perhaps most challenging, he helped lead the Cavs to two wins this week. It's going to be a while before he racks up the assist numbers, but he did register his first career double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds in Wednesday's loss to the Thunder. Sexton has performed well in spot-up situations, but it's not because of his jumper. He still hasn't been able to find the range on 3-pointers, but he's taking advantage of overly eager defenders on close-outs, blowing right past them to get to the rim. 
Sexton will return to action on Friday when his Cavs visit the Boston Celtics (7 p.m. ET -- watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension).
Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns C

Last week: 2
Stats this week: 16.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks

Another week, another double-double average for Ayton, who continues to be as efficient as they come on the offensive end (63 percent field goals this week). The big man's defensive struggles are apparent as he gets acclimated to NBA pick and roll situations, but he's blocked seven shots in his last three games -- a sign that he could improve on his less-than-stellar rim protection as the season goes on.
Jaren Jackson Jr. Memphis Grizzlies PF

Last week: 3
Stats this week: 13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 blocks

The surprising Grizzlies have hit a bit of a lull, but Jackson continues to impress. Perhaps the most impressive game of his career so far came this week against the Knicks, when he scored 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting, including 4-for-4 on 3-pointers, and blocked SEVEN shots. It was a small glimpse of the two-way potential that Jackson possesses, and it was a welcome sight for the Grizzlies to see him producing from the 3-point line with that kind of volume. He's still getting in foul trouble a bit too often, but that's really the only complaint you can muster about the 19-year-old at this point.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Los Angeles Clippers PG

Last week: 6
Stats this week: 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks

Gilgeous-Alexander continues to defy his age and experience level with his poise for a Clippers team that has surged out to the No. 1 seed in the loaded Western Conference with a 4-0 week. He supplanted Patrick Beverley as the team's starting point guard when Avery Bradley returned from injury, and it looks like that's now SGA's position for the taking. He had a rough 4-of-14 shooting night against the tough Grizzlies defense, but that was a small bump in an otherwise steady road, capping off the week with a brilliant 17-point, five-rebound, four-assist, two-steal, two-block, zero-turnover performance against the Kings. His presence on both sides of the ball is a huge reason why the Clippers have been so successful.
Trae Young Atlanta Hawks PG

Last week: 7
Stats this week: 14.5 points, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals

Young was mired in a horrific shooting slump, but looks like he may be on his way out. He said he needed to get back to being himself, then went 9-for-24 from the 3-point line in his final three games of the week. He's still not shooting efficiently (36 percent this week from the field) and he's turning the ball over too much (4.0 per game this week), but that will happen when a rookie point guard has a 27.6 usage rate. He put up 17 points and 10 assists in a big win over Miami, and went toe-to-toe with Kemba Walker twice this week, winning one of the matchups. The biggest fear for the Hawks is that he develops long-term confidence issues about his shot, but it looks like the slump may have just been temporary.
Allonzo Trier New York Knicks SG

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists

The definition of a heat-check/irrational confidence guy off the bench, Trier has been the best player on the Knicks on numerous occasions this season, including twice this week -- a 25-point, eight-rebound performance in a win over the Pelicans, and a 24-point, 10-rebound, seven-assist gem in a loss to the Pistons. The problem is that in games where Trier doesn't go off and isn't efficient scoring the ball, he provides little else. But still, he's become a Knicks fan-favorite who's capable of catching fire at any time.
Landry Shamet Philadelphia 76ers PG

Last week: Unranked
Stats this week: 10.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists

After dealing Robert Covington and Dario Saric to get Jimmy Butler, it's no secret that the 76ers need shooting. So far, Shamet has done an excellent job filling that need. He's basically a mini-JJ Redick on offense, in perpetual motion as he runs off screens, but it's in hand-off situations where he's particularly thrived.
It makes things a bit easier when you have massive men like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons getting in your defender's way, and so far Shamet has taken advantage.
Wendell Carter Jr. Chicago Bulls PF

Last week: 10
Stats this week: 8.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 blocks

The Bulls had a rough 0-4 week (perhaps not that surprising), but they lost close games to the Spurs and Bucks. Carter's numbers haven't been as impressive as they were a few weeks ago, but he continues to be a tremendous rim protector on Chicago's back line. Opponents are scoring just 0.892 points per possession around the basket against him, according to Synergy, and that allowed him to have a plus-1 net rating this week despite the four losses. Carter may not be flashy, but the Bulls have been better with him on the court than off it.

Dropped out

Aaron Holiday
WAS • PG • 4
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Mikal Bridges
PHO • SF • 25
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On the bubble

Deonte Burton
G •
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Mo Bamba
ORL • C • 5
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Kevin Huerter
ATL • SG • 3
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