The NBA announced that although there won't be a Rising Stars Game at All-Star ... day, the league will still announce which players made the cut for the hypothetical game on March 3. So, in honor of that, here are 10 rookies who I think should be considered for the roster. Since the Rising Stars Game takes first- and second-year players, all these guys may not make the cut, but here are 10 rookies who should be in the pool of players chosen.
|1. LaMelo Ball -- Charlotte Hornets|
6. James Wiseman -- Golden State Warriors
Now moving on to this week's rookie rankings. These rankings will reflect a rookie's performance on a week-to-week basis only, not the collective season, so these aren't Rookie of the Year standings. With that straightened out, here is a look at the top rookies this week.
The Kings have been on a nine-game losing streak as of late, but Haliburton has been a beacon of light in the otherwise dreadful run. In back-to-back games against tough Eastern Conference opponents, Haliburton put up 23 points and nearly registered a double-double in both contests. He's been a joy to watch so far this season, and incredibly efficient from pretty much everywhere on the floor. While he isn't in the starting lineup, he's getting starter minutes, and pulling more minutes than Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes, both of whom have started every game they've played this season.
23 PTS, 9 AST, 5 REBS, 3 STL and 1 TOV for rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton in a narrow loss to the Nets. Through 29 games Haliburton is shooting 55% from 2 and 44% from 3 with a 3.6 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. Touch from all over the floor with an elite feel for the game @ 6-5. pic.twitter.com/hitTGlOigp— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) February 24, 2021
I'm sure I say this every week in these rankings about Haliburton, but it's just absolutely insane that he fell so far in the draft last year. Unlike other young guards -- like the next guy on this list -- he's not turning the ball over a ton this season, which is uncommon for someone his age. It may not happen this season, or at all, but if Sacramento decides to trade Buddy Hield at some point, at least it can do so knowing that Haliburton is waiting in the wings to be a full-time starter.
With the Hornets down by eight in the fourth quarter against the Suns, Charlotte looked to its rookie to generate offense and lead a comeback over the heavily favored Suns. Ball more than answered the call down the stretch, putting up seven points to help upset Phoenix, capping off a night where he finished with 20 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two assists. He's firmly planted himself in the driver's seat for winning Rookie of the Year this season, and more importantly, his excellent play has the Hornets' future looking brighter than ever.
The Pistons have another rookie shining in Detroit! Lee saw huge minutes this past week after Delon Wright went down with a right abductor injury that will have him sidelined for two weeks. He should also see more playing time now that Derrick Rose has been shipped off to New York. But Lee's performance in his three games this week was more than just a rookie making the most of an opportunity. He has the potential to become a regular rotation guy for Detroit for years to come, as he looked more polished than most rookies on offense, and almost had a ridiculous dunk over Nikola Vucevic, but couldn't finish it.
Wiseman returned to the Warriors lineup after missing time due to a wrist injury, and while he didn't put up eye-popping raw numbers, his presence down in the paint on defense was certainly missed for a Golden State team that went several weeks without a legitimate big in the rotation. It'll take some time for him to get back in the rhythm of things after missing 11 games, but I'm sure we'll see him knocking down 3s and continuing to be incredibly efficient for the Warriors soon.
Anthony Edwards had the dunk of the season, and perhaps the best of the last few years. That's all.
Compared to previous weeks, Bey had a pretty mediocre week from 3-point territory and he still shot 37.5 percent from deep! Honestly, between Bey, Lee and Isaiah Stewart the Pistons should be incredibly happy with their crop of young guys going forward. Bey is a ridiculous 3-point threat already, Lee is an ideal backup guard who can create for himself and others and Stewart has been tremendous on defense this season. If Detroit decides to trade its veterans by the deadline this season, it should be pretty happy with how the future is looking with this young crop of guys.
Williams has been efficient from pretty much everywhere on the floor this season, whether that's corner 3s (44 percent), long mid-range shots (51 percent) or around the rim (66 percent). It's just indicative of the type of player he is as a whole: someone who doesn't typically take bad shots and doesn't force much. He's been a great complementary piece alongside Zach LaVine, Coby White and Lauri Markkanen when he's healthy. The best part is he's only 19, so if this is his floor, his ceiling looks to be incredibly high going forward.
In the Cavaliers' win over the Hawks, Okoro put on a defensive clinic in guarding Trae Young. The dynamic guard finished the game with 28 points, but when he was guarded by Okoro for nearly seven minutes throughout the game, he put up just seven points, went 0-3 from deep, turned the ball over twice and shot just 16 percent from the field. Okoro's offensive game is still a work in progress, as he's shooting just 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from long range, but his defense is why he starts, and against Atlanta, it certainly was a difference-maker.
Tate continues to progress as the season goes on, as he's upped his scoring numbers, shooting percentages and rebounds month-to-month. In February, he's averaging 12.3 points on 56 percent from the field, to go along with six boards and a steal per game. His 3-point shooting still needs some work, he's shooting around the low 30s this season, but his 58.7 percent effective field goal percentage ranks in the 84th percentile in the league. Probably because he's able to pull off crazy shots like this when he gets down by the rim:
Campazzo has come alive in the month of February, and while the Nuggets haven't been able to make up ground in the Western Conference standings, having someone with Facu's playmaking abilities will certainly come in handy in the playoffs. Not to mention the fact that he ranks in the 91st percentile in 3-pointers, and is even better around the rim (97th percentile). Oh, and pretty much every night you can count on a pass like this: