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We are two weeks into the NBA season, and while it's still too early to make any declarations about any award race, at the very least it feels like some Rookie of the Year candidates are beginning to separate themselves from the pack. I won't definitively say who I think is No. 1 or No. 2 in that race until at least a month into the season, but guys like Paolo Banchero and Bennedict Mathurin are certainly at the top of that conversation. But that's still far down the line, so for right now let's just focus on the week that was around the league and dig into the top rookie performers since the last check-in. 

Keep in mind that these rankings will reflect a rookie's performance on a week-to-week basis only, not the collective season. These aren't Rookie of the Year standings, but rather a reflection on what the player has done over the past week. With that straightened out, here is a look at the top rookies from the second week of the 2021-22 season.

1. Paolo Banchero
ORL • PF • #5
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The Magic got their first -- and only -- win of the season this week and Banchero played a huge role in that. The No. 1 overall pick finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and even more impressive finished the game with an absurd plus-27 point differential. The efficiency that Banchero is playing with to start this season is rare for rookies early in their careers, and yet the former Duke product is making things look easy out there. Just look at how effortlessly he brings the ball up the floor, gets the switch on the screen then attacks the middle for a soft floater:

Or this smooth stepback mid-range jumper he nails right in his defender's face:

It's not that Banchero is confident, because several of the rookies on this list are playing with an unmeasurable amount of that. It's the ease of his game, the calmness that he plays with, where he's not rushing or forcing up shots out there. He's playing in rhythm and, as a result, he led Orlando in scoring to capture the team's first win of the season.

2. Bennedict Mathurin
IND • SG • #00
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Mathurin's 32 points off the bench against the Nets might be the best rookie performance of the season thus far. It was a performance that highlighted his aggressiveness, showing no hesitation in attacking the rim, as well as efficiency as a 3-point shooter, going 6-of-9 on the night. Mathurin is second among all rookies in 3-point percentage so far this season (min. three attempts per game), and his outburst against Brooklyn showed exactly why. 

The other thing that stands out about Mathurin's game is how well he moves without the ball. He knows how -- and when -- to move to open space, creating open looks for himself and making it easier for his teammates to get him the ball. Like this 3-point attempt:

Although he missed the shot, he managed to catch his defender off guard and create space as he slid back over to the wing. He probably took a bit too long to get his shot off as he hesitated initially, but it's still a smart move for a rookie.

3. Keegan Murray
SAC • PF • #13
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When Murray and the Kings took on the Heat in their first of two meetings this past week, he had his best performance of the season, dropping 22 points on an efficient 61.5 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from deep. He bullied reigning Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro on multiple occasions, using his obvious size advantage to back him down for an easy layup, and exposing Herro's weak perimeter defense for a stepback 3-pointer.

But Murray's an equal opportunist when it comes to making defenders pay, which is what he did to Jimmy Butler on this play:

Just a solid all-around performance from Murray, who is finding his role on a team that is trying to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.    

4. Jaden Ivey
DET • SG • #23
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The highlight of the week for Ivey as well as the Pistons had to be the huge win over the defending champion Warriors. It was Ivey's most complete performance of the week, going for 15 points, four rebounds and finishing the game with a plus-16 point differential. It was a pretty poor showing from the Warriors in general on defense, as a lot of Ivey's looks came on wide-open attempts or without a defender within four feet of him, and he certainly made them pay. But without a doubt the best play for Ivey came on this transition dunk where he caught Jordan Poole on his heels:

It encapsulates what makes Ivey special. His speed, handle and pure athleticism are all highlighted in that dunk attempt, and he did a great job of surveying the floor, seeing what the Warriors were trying to do on defense and attacking them right up the middle. 

5. Jalen Williams
OKC • SG • #8
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The Thunder, like many other lottery-bound teams, have actually started the season strong with a 4-3 record, perhaps in an effort to throw the league office off their scent to not get punished in trying to tank for Victor Wembanyama. Whatever they're doing right now, it has resulted in a surprising four-game win streak which includes victories over the Mavericks, Clippers (twice!) and the Magic. That win over the Mavericks is where Williams stood out the most, in just his second appearance of the season.

Williams clearly caught the Mavericks off guard, finishing with 13 points off the bench, four steals, three assists and three rebounds. He camped out in the passing lanes all night long and made the Mavericks pay as a result. When it came to scoring, he just attacked Dallas' extremely porous interior defense all night long, getting by whichever defender the Mavs put in front of him. It was all pretty easy for the rookie, and as a result, he got elevated to the starting lineup in the next game.