Lately, rookies all over the league have already been thrust into major roles for their teams, and several of them are responding in huge ways.
While the top spot remains unchanged, there’s been some commotion from numbers two through ten.
1. Tyreke Evans, PG, Sacramento Kings
Evans’ season just keeps getting better and better.
He recorded 27 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in a huge OT win at New York last week, and is having as good a rookie season as any player in recent memory.
He’s on his way to being a superstar.
2. Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
In Wednesday night’s 30-point win over the Clippers, Curry enjoyed his best game as a professional, racking up 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists.
Monta Ellis missed that game with an injury, and Curry is now averaging 29 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in three games without Ellis this season.
3. Brandon Jennings, PG, Milwaukee Bucks
Jennings has been wildly inconsistent with his scoring lately, and his last six games reflect that.
In those games, he’s scored 9, 2, 22, 5, 18, and 7 points.
His shooting percentage on the season is now down to just 37 percent.
4. Omri Casspi, SF, Sacramento Kings
While Casspi’s scoring numbers aren’t overly consistent just yet, he still finds other ways to positively contribute to the team day in and day out.
He’s 6’9″ and lanky, allowing him to be a very irritating defender that makes a living off of disruption.
He’s got a bright future in this league as an Andrei Kirilenko-type with more scoring ability.
5. Darren Collison, PG, New Orleans Hornets
Collison has stepped in for Chris Paul and looks like he’s been running an NBA team for years.
In his last five games, Collison is averaging 20 points, seven assists, and five turnovers.
Once he learns to cut down on the turnovers (he racked up a whopping 10 in the Hornets’ win over Boston), he’ll be a very good starting point guard.
6. Ty Lawson, PG, Denver Nuggets
In Denver’s loss to Utah last Saturday, Lawson filled in for the injured Chauncey Billups and scored 25 points in 37 minutes of action.
His scoring ability has translated to the NBA better than most had imagined it would, and he’s been a rock off the Nuggets’ bench all season long.
7. Jonny Flynn, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves
In a normal year for rookie point guards, Flynn might be getting more recognition for averaging 14 points per game.
He’s still adjusting to being a prototypical point guard distributor, and should be a solid all-around player should he continue to develop his skills.
8. DeJuan Blair, PF, San Antonio Spurs
Blair has been a great addition to the Spurs this season, and has proven to be a capable fill-in whenever Tim Duncan is off the floor.
His lack of height is made up for with his tenacity and grit, and it’s crazy to think that he fell all the way to 37th in the draft.
9. Marcus Thornton, SG, New Orleans Hornets
Thornton missed three consecutive games with a back injury before returning Wednesday night against Boston.
He’s shown that he can score at this level, and he’s sealed a permanent spot in the Hornets’ rotation.
10. Taj Gibson, PF, Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have come back down to earth since their five-game winning streak to end January, and Gibson has fallen along with them.
Like Thornton, he has been battling an injury, and it’s been limiting his floor time a bit recently.
His scoring numbers have been down a bit, but he’s still rebounding at a solid clip.
Gibson is one of several players snagged towards the bottom of the first round or early second round that has made a huge, unexpected difference for his team.
Just Outside the Top Ten:
Chase Budinger (Rockets), Jonas Jerekbo (Pistons), James Harden (Thunder)
For NBA news and rumors, head over to the NBA Watercooler.