With the start of the new year the rookies have now had adequate time to adjust to the league. For some, they’re looking to help their team midway through the season to set up for a playoff run. For others it’s all about rebuilding. One of the surprise rookies coming on late is Chicago Bull’s Bobby Portis. Drafted 22nd overall, Portis has not seen much lengthy game action due to the plethora of big men on the Bull’s roster. However with the recent injury to Joakim Noah, Portis has seen a rise in play time and is making the most of it including a big game against the Raptors where he put up 12 points, 9 rebounds and a couple of assists. In the month of December Portis is 7th in scoring and rebounding amongst all rookies. Karl Anthony-Towns continues his amazing rookie campaign averaging over 16 points and just under 10 rebounds per game. He’s improving his court vision and has developed good chemistry with teammate Andrew Wiggins. Kristaps Porzingis continues to thrill the New York faithful and had one of his better games of the season earlier this week against the Cavs with Carmelo Anthony out with injury. Porzingis had 23 points (4 three pointers) 13 rebounds and a handful of assists. Playing really well of late is Lakers’ guard DeAngelo Russell. In his last four games he’s averaging over 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2.5 assists. On Christmas against the Clippers he poured in 16 points and 7 rebounds off the bench leading to the question when head coach Byron Scott will put him back in the starting lineup. One of the rookies that have fallen off a bit has been the early stand out Jahlil Okafor. Ever since his suspension for an altercation in Boston Okafor’s production has fluctuated. Okafor has been injured and missed the Sixers’ last 2 games however his last game played might be just what he needed to get on track where he had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 block and 2 assists.

For many of the rookies it’s not superstardom but just helping the team win. Players like Justice Winslow (Heat) and Stanley Johnson (Pistons) good overall players contributing in an assortment of ways and most importantly playing lockdown defense. Frank Kaminsky is getting better week in a week out and had his best scoring output of the season against the Celtics where he scored 23 points along with 8 rebounds. Kaminsky is just another good story on a Hornets team that is surprising many throughout the league. Kelly Oubre has provided a nice spark in the absence of Bradley Beal. Oubre has scored double digit points in back to back games and is averaging 9 points in his last 3. A player to watch as the season goes on is Devin Booker. With Eric Bledsoe to be out for the rest of the season look for Booker’s role to increase dramatically. Booker is shooting 50% from 3 point range, the best amongst rookies.

Rookie Rankings:

  1. Karl Anthony-Towns
  2. Kristaps Porzingis
  3. Jahlil Okafor
  4. Nikola Jokic
  5. Justice Winslow
  6. DeAngelo Russell
  7. Stanley Johnson
  8. Bobby Portis
  9. Frank Kaminsky
  10. Devin Booker

image credit: http://www.cbssports.com

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