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NBA Rookie Ranking: Jabari Smith turns corner after strong week; AJ Griffin hits the game-winner for the Hawks

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In honor of this week’s edition of the Rookie Rankings taking place on Thanksgiving, it only seems appropriate to consider what some of these teams have to be grateful for when it comes to young players. For example, file Indiana Pacers We should be thankful for the fact that they have two starters they can start for right now in Benedict Mathurin and Andrew Nimbard. Mathurin has Rookie of the Year potential and still comes off the bench, but Nembhard starts and makes solid contributions on both ends of the floor.

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The Orlando Magic We should be thankful that now at least it looks as if they have succeeded as first choice in picking Paolo Panchero. While Panchero is still sidelined with an ankle injury, he has already proven himself to be the best rookie player away and away this season. When you pair him with Franz Wagner, who also had a standout rookie season last year, Magic seems to make for an impressive young core. diff like pistons You should be thankful for that Kings She passed on Jaden Ivey — though Keegan Murray’s no slouch either — and Trail Blazers You should be thankful that Shaedon Sharpe has made a solid impact off the bench already.

Now it’s time to analyze this week’s NBA Rookie Rankings. Keep in mind that these ratings will only reflect the rookie’s performance on a weekly basis, not the collegiate season. These are not the Rookie of the Year rankings, but rather a reflection of what the player has done over the past week.

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at a loss to Golden State Warriors This week, Smith broke out of a shooting slump in a big way, putting up a career-high 22 points on 8-of-14 from the field to go with seven rebounds. Prior to that game, Smith had only been shooting 31.3 percent from the field on the season, and while a game certainly isn’t a trend, it’s a positive sign for the No. 3 pick overall.

Smith would come off the screens and stop for 3 seconds, hit a bounce from midrange and score into the rim in several approaches. It was a complete offensive game for Smith, who showed off his defensive abilities as well.

Smith’s performance against the Warriors was the culmination of his progression through the last set of games after a slow start to the season. In his last six games, he averaged 12.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, and improved 38.5% from the field and 30.6% from depth. Those numbers might not sound great, especially his shooting efficiency, but when you compare them to the 10 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 30.3/30 shooting splits he averaged in the first 10 games of the season, you can see he’s starting to turn the corner.

After the loss to the Warriors, Smith spoke about his game transformation.

“I feel like I’m in a good vacuum,” Smith said. “I compliment myself just for keeping my head up. Not many people can get through these shooting slumps and things like that and still go out there every night and still try to contribute, still have a good attitude. And just, I’m happy with myself.” . Yeah, I’m just ready for the next match. Ready to see how the season goes.”

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Griffin’s week started with a 17-point performance against Toronto Raptorsa game that sent fans home delighted after converting a layup on a long pass from Trae Young as time expired to raise the score hawk For the overtime victory over the Raptors:

First, let’s appreciate this sweet play by the Falcons even for an easy look as the time runs out. Young pushes past three Raptors defenders to get into the open field, then delivers the ball in perfect time for Griffin to field a shot. A tip of the hat to Griffin for his ability to cut to the rim with Young dropping to the ground for an easy throw. Just beautiful execution all around.

After this exciting finish, Griffin was promoted to the starting lineup for the next game in which he again finished with 17 points, to go along with three steals and two rebounds. Atlanta ended up dropping that game to the Cavaliersbut Hawks coach Nate McMillan still paid tribute to his rookie forward.

“He did a good job,” McMillan said. “He made some shots there and he was able to get about 3 seconds and be productive. The challenge was going to be for him on the defensive end of the floor, but I thought he was playing the way he was playing – confidence. He would make some mistakes but I thought they were aggressive mistakes.” .I thought he played well.”

After playing just eight minutes a night for the first two weeks of the season, Griffin played in a solid 21 minutes a night. He probably won’t bench 17 points every night in a deep Hawks squad, but he contributes when needed and fills whatever role Atlanta needs to fill.

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in winning over Denver NuggetsIvey put up only seven points on 3-of-11 from the field and 1-of-4 from downtown. It was an uncharacteristic scoring performance than we’ve come to expect from a rookie guard this season, but even though he didn’t rack up a ton of points, he still helped his team win with his pass. Ivey had five assists to go along with six rebounds and a steal, concluding a performance that highlighted his skills as a facilitator as his shot soared. This quick pass to the tight side cornerback with a double-team on him was particularly impressive, and a great indication that the rookie can work under defensive pressure:

Ivey became Detroit’s lead guard with Kid Cunningham on the sidelines, and that opened up a wealth of opportunities as a result. He’s definitely in the Rookie of the Year conversation, and if he continues to score as effectively as he did last week on a 24-point ride in which he went 8-of-14 from the field and 4-of-4 from depth, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him carry that machine at the end of the season.

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Mathurin is another man in conversation for Rookie of the Year, and what’s most impressive about his production is that he puts up huge numbers while coming off the bench. In a win over the Magic, he finished with 22 points, five rebounds, and a plus-13 point difference. The Pacers score one more point when he’s on the floor than when he’s off the bench, and while that may sound counterintuitive, the fact that a rookie makes that much impact while coming off the bench is a significant achievement.

Including his performance against Orlando, Mathurin has reached the 20-point mark seven times already this season – all while coming off the bench – which ranks second among rookies behind Paolo Panchero. His 42.1 percent from 3-point territory ranks 14th in the entire league among players who make five or more attempts per game, making him a reliable threat from downtown Indiana. I say this every week, but it’s only a matter of time before Rick Carlisle Mathurin starts, and when that happens, he’ll get more opportunities to showcase his talents.

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Williams is a great example of building on every performance and continually progressing as a rookie. In the past week and a half alone, he’s had total points of 13, 16, 10, and 14. That 16-point performance against grizzly Along with seven assists, six rebounds, and two steals. It was a complete performance from Williams who played a major role in the thunder Keeping that game close against a strong Memphis team.

What has been most impressive about Williams over the past few games is his defence. He has a ridiculous 7-2 wingspan, and puts that to good use when guarding on the perimeter. Just look at how he used his height to snag David Roddy mid-dribble, resulting in a steal and pass from Williams at the other end:

On a young team where there are already talented passers like Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Williams is an impressive facilitator that the Thunder should build around.

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