Mike Meredith/CBS Sports

The NBA is still experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak that has been affecting teams and their rosters every single day. This past week heavily impacted rookies specifically, as Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley are all in the league's health and safety protocols. With some of the top draft picks sidelined, it's led to a continued wave of some first-year players getting the most playing time of the season, and it's been great to see some end-of-bench guys and/or two-way players get a chance. Some are showing that they're deserving of a bigger role on their respective teams, which should make for some tough decisions when players return from protocols. 

Moving on to this week's rankings, remember that these will reflect a rookie's performance on a week-to-week basis only, and not the collective season. These are not Rookie of the Year standings. With that straightened out, here is a look at the top-performing rookies around the league. 

1. Franz Wagner
ORL • SF • 22
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The month of December in its entirety has really been the most impressive stretch of Wagner's young career to date, as he's averaging 18 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and shooting an efficient 46 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from deep. This past week was just the latest in his December highlight reel, as he continues to show off his scoring versatility:

Wagner ranks in the 94th percentile this season as a scorer while cutting to the basket, generating 1.571 points per possession. But he can also generate points with the ball in his hands, by navigating through traffic, pulling up for a 3-pointer or fighting through contact to get a foul call. Wagner can act as a point-forward when necessary, which was required at times for the Magic this past week with starting point guard Cole Anthony missing two games. Though Wagner only totaled three assists in the last three games, it wasn't for lack of effort. He made some great passes to teammates, but they weren't converted. As Wagner feels more comfortable as a passer and his teammates build more chemistry with him, a lot of those passes will end in assists. 

2. Chris Duarte
IND • SG • 3
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You can tell from this past week that the Pacers are giving Duarte more opportunity and touches on offense than a couple weeks ago. He's taking defenders one-on-one more frequently, and has the ball in his hands far more to create for himself and others than we saw just a month ago. Perhaps that's a directive from the front office so the Pacers can really see what they have in Duarte, especially as rumors fly about Indiana toying with the idea of making Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner and Caris LeVert available via trade.

But as the rumors in Indiana swirl, it hasn't detracted from Duarte being able to fit into whatever role the Pacers have him play. He can be the spot-up 3-point shooter, as he moves well without the ball, or he can create off the bounce. Whatever Indiana decides to do with its roster construction as the trade deadline gets closer, it's clear Durante offers great value as a young player who can shoot, create for himself and others.

3. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
OKC • C • 50
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Robinson-Earl was another Thunder rookie who entered the league's health and safety protocols along with Wiggins, but before that he had another solid week. He was a huge factor in OKC's win over the Nuggets to start the week, as he showed off his defensive chops against the likes of Aaron GordonWill BartonJeff Green and reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic. Against the Suns his defensive impact was on display again, as he did a solid job in drop coverage in pick-and-roll situations, not allowing the likes of JaVale McGee and Deandre Ayton to get airborne too often.

4. Aaron Wiggins
OKC • SG • 21
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Although Wiggins has now entered protocols, he'll be quarantining after a standout performance in which he put up a career-high 24 points on 8 of 10 from the field and 2 of 4 from deep in OKC's win over the Magic:  

He received high praise from Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after the game, saying "I knew from Day 1 that [Wiggins] could hoop. He's got game." He certainly can hoop, and that was on full display against the Magic last week. He was moving around the court with purpose, cutting all the time for teammates to find him near the rim and showed off his strength and athleticism in finishes around the rim.

5. Corey Kispert
WAS • SF • 24
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On a night where Knicks guard Kemba Walker was proving to everyone that he should be in the starting lineup in his 44-point performance against the Bulls, Kispert was busy helping ruin that night for New York and Walker. Kispert put up a career-high 20 points for Chicago, while shooting a supremely efficient 6 of 7 from the field and 4 of 5 from deep to finish the game plus-12.

Kispert's production helped upset the Knicks on a night where Bradley Beal was sidelined due to the league's health and safety protocols.

6. Omer Yurtseven
MIA • C • 77
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Leave it to the Heat to find another undrafted diamond in the rough. Yurtseven has been used sparingly over the course of the season, but he averaged over 26 minutes last week, including his first career start in a win over the Orlando Magic where he put up 16 points, a jaw-dropping 15 rebounds and shot 53 percent from the field. It was a stellar week for the 7-foot rookie, who also had performances where he racked up 13 and 12 rebounds in the other two games from last week. His production was so crucial that he was nominated for Eastern Conference Player of the Week, so it's safe to say that he played pretty well.

7. Jock Landale
SA • C • 34
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Landale's been getting more run over the past couple weeks after missing time at the start of the season due to a concussion and then contracting COVID-19. But he's fully healthy at this point in the season, and it showed in San Antonio's latest win as he put up a career-high 18 points, five rebounds and three assists:

Although it's become more of the norm for big men to shoot 3s, Landale's long-range shooting was a treat to watch this past week because of his great form. He's shooting those deep shots with ease, looking more like a guard than a center. He's also been great in the pick-and-roll, and is always hustling up and down the court to make plays on both ends of the floor.

8. Josh Giddey
OKC • PG • 3
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Giddey recorded one of the rarer stat lines you can get in the league when he recorded a double-double last week without scoring a single point. The Australian guard finished Oklahoma City's win over the Pelicans with 10 rebounds, 10 assists and zero points, marking just the second time in league history for someone to finish with such a line. The last time came in 1971 when Norm Van Lier made NBA history with zero points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds. 

As wild as it is for Giddey to finish the game with those stats, it's not the least bit surprising given his penchant for setting up his teammates more than looking for his own shot. He's already established himself as an incredibly gifted passer and aggressive rebounder, but the scoring is where he's been inconsistent all season. Perfect example: Prior to that scoreless game, he finished with 17 points just three nights earlier vs. the Phoenix Suns. Giddey needs to find balance in his offensive game so that his scoring can be impactful just as his passing and rebounding are for the Thunder.

9. Brandon Boston Jr.
LAC • SG • 4
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Though Boston isn't regularly putting up 27 points like he did at the start of December in a win over the Celtics, he's still a solid bench player for the Clippers. He can spot up for 3s or act as a playmaker off the dribble to give L.A. a scoring option in the second unit. If he can balance his scoring efforts better, where he's not popping off for 18 points one night and then contributing just six points another, then he'll be even more beneficial for the Clippers down the line.

10. Alperen Sengun
HOU • C • 28
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While I understand the fervor some Rockets fans have in wanting to see Sengun in the starting lineup, I understand why head coach Stephen Silas hasn't made that move just yet. For starters, the positive things we see Sengun do in the second unit, primarily his court vision in of the post, wouldn't happen nearly as often if he started because of how much guys like Christian Wood, fellow rookie Jalen Green and Kevin Porter (when he's healthy) command the ball. The other part of that is there isn't a clear-cut player who he should replace in the starting lineup. If the Rockets make trades this season perhaps that situation changes and Sengun could see his minutes increase, and perhaps even a spot in the starting lineup.