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We're in the home stretch of the regular season, which means this is when we start to see some rookies who weren't getting much run earlier in the year. Guys like Gradey Dick have seen consistent playing time over the last month, and he's been showing the Raptors lately that he could certainly be an important rotation piece next season. But we're also seeing some of the top rookies really get into a groove as the season winds down, showing that the famed "rookie wall" isn't necessarily always true. Victor Wembanyama, Chet Holmgren, and Brandon Miller have all been putting up dazzling numbers, which should be promising signs for the lottery-bound Spurs and Hornets, as well as the Thunder, who figure to be title contenders this season.  

Now let's move on to this week's rankings. 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 five performers from the NBA's freshman class:

1. Victor Wembanyama
SA • PF • #1
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I wrote last week about how Wembanyama is leading the Rookie of the Year race right now, and if you've watched what he's been doing over the past two months, you'll understand why. Just this week, Wembanyama turned in back-to-back performances that really signaled that the league is truly wrecked as soon as the Spurs put better teammates around him.

Against the Kings, Wembanyama put up 19 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks, five steals, and four assists. The Spurs lost, but Wemby kept it interesting, never letting Sacramento get more than an 11-point lead. The rookie struggled with efficiency (8 for 21), but he sometimes looked like the best player on the floor with what he was doing on both ends. The Kings don't possess a ton of size, so Wembanyama was always going to feast, which is exactly what he did anytime an opponent came into the paint hoping to score. 

Even Sabonis, as skilled of an offensive player as he is, got blocked by Wemby twice, despite all the pump fakes and pivots he tried to bait the rookie with. 

Then, the next day, Wemby did what he was just one assist shy of the previous night by posting 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals, and a block apiece in a loss to the Lakers. He became the youngest player in NBA history to post a 5x5, just a week after he was a couple of assists shy of a quadruple-double.

In the words of what LeBron James said after that Lakers win, Wembanyama truly has no ceiling, and the fact he's doing all this in Year 1 should be truly terrifying for the other 29 teams in the league.

Chet Holmgren
OKC • C • #7
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Holmgren had another standout week per usual, but he really showed off his skills as a facilitator, specifically with a seven-assist night against the Rockets, where he also finished with 29 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. 

This is part of what makes Holmgren's skillset so unique. The fact that he can put the ball on the floor at all at his size and handle it with control and skill is already a feat in itself. But then you throw in the fact that he can create for himself, draw the defense in, and then kick it back out to a wide open Luguentz Dort in the corner, then you're getting into rare territory.

Four of his seven assists were to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, showing the strong chemistry those two have built in a two-man game. This one in particular, though, showed the brilliance of both players. SGA essentially set a screen for the trailing Holmgren, who could've very easily pulled up for a 3-pointer. But instead, as the defense reacts to him setting for a jumpshot, the rookie elevates but dumps it off to a cutting Gilgeous-Alexander for a layup. 

On another possession, Holmgren once again played it perfectly, first by pump faking out on the perimeter to get his defender jumping, then taking a step in, drawing SGA's defenders, which opened up the MVP candidate for a wide-open triple. 

Those two possessions showed exactly why the Thunder are so difficult to defend because of the variety of playmakers they have and how intelligent Holmgren is to make those reads as a rookie.

Brandon Miller
CHA • SF • #24
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My colleague wrote earlier this week about how Miller is the best rookie you're not watching, given the Wemby vs. Chet mania that's overshadowed most of the rookies in this class. That is very true, but it's a quote from Hornets head coach Steve Clifford that really points out why Miller is so special.

"He's unlike most of the younger players, to me, that have come in the league the last five or six years. If you say, 'this is a coverage,' it's coverage. He doesn't need 18 days of rep, or ask why or anything," Clifford said of Miller. "He can work on something in the afternoon and do it that night. That's what the greatest players do in this league.

"[Tracy] McGrady in his prime, he didn't have to have a million reps to do stuff. Kobe and those guys, they're different. And he's different that way too."

That is incredibly strong praise from Clifford, who, in the same article, preached about how basketball IQ is something that is sorely lacking in young players today. But not Miller, who, to Clifford's point, has not only been having a stellar season offensively but has shown the chops of someone who could very well be amongst the best two-way players at some point in his career.  

Jaime Jaquez Jr.
MIA • SF • #11
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Jaquez came up huge for the Heat in a win against the Kings when Miami was without Jimmy Butler due to a league suspension. The rookie put up 26 points, his second-highest point total of the season, along with five rebounds, four steals and two assists. He shot over 70% from the field, and he was getting pretty much anything he wanted from mid range and around the rim. He's hitting fadeaway turnaround jumpers and dumping it off to guys while cutting to the rim just to get the ball back and get a quick layup. He's speedy, and if you lose track of him when he's moving off the ball, chances are he'll find a window of opportunity to get a high-percentage shot off. 

Gradey Dick
TOR • SG • #1
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Dick is one of the few lottery picks that haven't gotten a ton of playing time, but since Jan. 20, he's seen the court consistently, and in that time, he's been averaging nearly 10 points on 52.6% from the field, and 46.8% from deep. This was a guy coming out of Kansas as a highly-regarded prospect, and he's been showing why as of late highlighted by back-to-back 18-point outings this week. He was a perfect 4 for 4 from long range in a win against the Pacers and went 8 of 13 from the floor in a win against the Hawks, both of which were in the midst of a four-game winning streak for the Raptors. The Kansas product has shown that he could be a valuable role player for the Raptors going forward. And since Toronto made major moves leading up to the trade deadline to center their focus on their youth, Dick could start to see an even bigger role in the home stretch of this season as well as next year.