Unlike the 2018 draft class, the 2019 class wasn't billed for having bonafide star power outside of the top three picks, but as we've now seen these rookies play a quarter of the NBA season, what we've learned is this draft class has produced a ton of really solid rotational players. Not everyone needs to be a Luka Doncic or Trae Young, and while teams hope that all their draft picks turn out to be that caliber of player, getting a quality rotation player can be just as important.
Players like Jarrett Culver, Eric Paschall, De'Andre Hunter and P.J. Washington, will likely never be the No. 1 scoring option on a championship team. However, all of those guys have the potential to enjoy long careers because they can be the third-best player on a team, play solid defense and still get buckets when they need to. There might not be as much star power in this class, but there's a slew of guys who have shown flashes of becoming quality rotation players, and as every championship team will tell you, depth is everything.
Remember, these rankings will reflect a rookie's performance on a week-to-week basis, not the collective season, so these aren't Rookie of the Year standings.. With that straightened out, here are the latest Rookie Power Rankings for the 2019-20 season.
Last week: Unranked
When you're getting praise from Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, you know you're doing something right. Hachimura had some poor shooting performances last week, but bounced back in a big way against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Wizards lost, however, Hachimura's 30-point performance came in a myriad of ways. He's still struggling with his 3-point shooting, but his touch around the rim, and mid-range game are far beyond where most rookies are at. He's constantly fighting for boards on both ends of the floor, and his defense is what will likely be his greatest asset throughout his career.
Last week: No. 1
Paschall ranks first among rookies in nearly every statistical category, and while wins for the Warriors are coming few and far between, his development has been something to watch this season. He's not the prototypical power forward, his range stretches out to the 3-point line, which fits in nicely with Golden State's style of play. His size may make you think that he can't handle the ball well or have any sort of finesse when attacking the rim, but during a game against the Charlotte Hornets this week, he hit Miles Bridges with the smoothest euro step to finish at the rim, you'd think it was a guard out there making that shot. Paschall is definitely in the mix for winning Rookie of the Year this season, and as far as what he'll mean to the Warriors going forward, he could find himself in the rotation next season when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson return, he's that good.
Last week: Unranked
If it weren't for Garland's 21-point performance against the Milwaukee Bucks, he likely wouldn't be in the top 10. He's had moments where he's flashed his potential of becoming a solid guard in this league, then there are times where his age is showing, as evidenced from his poor shooting performance against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. Garland's 3-point shooting has been top-notch lately, and while he's been left open for a large portion of them, being able to knock them down is important. His decision making and his ability to finish around the rim are two areas he'll need to greatly improve upon in order to have a more well-rounded game.
Last week: Unranked
Washington's strength, size and athleticism got him to the league, but his versatility on offense is what will keep him in the NBA for a long time. Need him to overpower a small defender? No problem, give it to him in the post and watch him go to work. Need him to knock down a 3-pointer? Well, he's made seven in a game already this season, so that's not a problem. There are times where he does rely a bit too much on his 3-point shot though, settling for a jumper rather than driving toward the rim. If he would've made smarter decisions during those poor 3-point shooting performances this week, he would probably be higher on this list, and would've averaged a few more points.
Last week: No. 4
Hunter missed the Hawks' game on Wednesday night with a dislocated finger, but before that, he strung together two solid offensive performances for Atlanta. The Hawks primarily use Hunter in a spot-up position on the 3-point line, and after struggling to find his shot, Hunter has become more consistent from deep. He's not the best marksman on his team, or even second-best, but at 22 years old, he'll have time to develop with the young Atlanta core. His defense will get him more touches on the offensive end by coming up with steals, and while he won't have the ball in his hands as much as Trae Young, it would benefit the Hawks to have him hone his skills to become a reliable second ball handler.
Last week: Unranked
Culver has played himself into a starting position lately, and while he's not putting up huge numbers, his play has been worthy of that starting spot. Against the Mavericks, Culver showed that he's not hesitant at all when he has the ball in his hands, whether it's setting up the offense, or coming around a screen to attack the rim, he's stepping up to the challenge for Minnesota. He took it straight at Luka Doncic to get to the rim several times throughout that game, and while Doncic isn't known for his defense, Culver's showing that he doesn't care who is in front of him when the ball is in his hands. Once he gets stronger, he'll be able to finish those shots around the rim at a higher clip, but the fact that he's not shying away from getting down there and trying to muscle his way through defenders is a strong starting point.
Last week: No. 7
In the small sample size that is Barrett's rookie season, a common theme, which was always a knock on him at Duke, is that he'll have super-efficient shooting performances, followed by a string of poor ones. You have to take the good with the bad when it comes to Barrett, and hopefully, over time, his shooting will be more consistent. This week was just the latest example of the good and the bad. He started the week with two solid performances, then went cold towards the end of the week. His 3-point shooting is all over the place so far, his mid-range game is really been his lone bright spot on offense this season, but he's also on a Knicks team where he's able to use every single game as an opportunity to see what works and what doesn't. If he has an 0-for-9 shooting performance, it's a little ugly, however, it shouldn't be too concerning because it's the Knicks. However, if he strings enough of those goose egg performances together, it starts to become a bad habit, and something that is hard to correct.
Last week: No. 8
Towards the end of the Hawks' game against the Brooklyn Nets, where Reddish finished with 25 points, you could tell he was playing with a bit more creativity and swagger on the floor. He started to fade away on his mid-range jumpers, was getting a little flashy with his finishes at the rim, Cam Reddish was feeling himself out there. He deserved that too because prior to that game, where he went 4-for-7 from deep, he was only shooting 21.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Last week: No. 2
Up to this point, Morant has been far and away the best rookie this season. Unfortunately, though, he's expected to be week-to-week with back spasms, so Morant only played in one game this past week. That lone performance against the Utah Jazz wasn't one of his better showings of the season. From tipoff, the Jazz swarmed Morant on defense. Still, though, the rookie was able to work his way through a game against one of the toughest defensive teams in the league. He didn't put up his typical numbers, but he wasn't kept completely in check either. He got off 13 shots, but didn't convert a high percentage of them, which will likely improve as he gains experience.
Last week: No. 5
Nunn's shooting as of late is a bit concerning. He's shooting the deep ball at a lowly 14.8 percent clip over the past five games, and his field-goal percentage is only 29.3 percent during that span. It could be nothing more than just a shooting slump for the rookie, and luckily he's on a team where he doesn't need to put up 20 points a night. However, he's been a reliable scorer for the Heat so far this season so they'll need him to bounce back before this goes on for too long.