NBA KIA Rookie Ladder: 2020-21 No. 1 draft pick Anthony Edwards continues to be at the top of the Rookie Ladder. He is followed by Kings’ Tyrese Haliburton. Unfortunately for LaMelo, he is out of the top 5 on the ladder.
Injury avoidance isn’t something that can be spoken into existence, however, especially when it’s something as fluky as Ball breaking a bone in his right wrist when he braced himself Saturday from a fall against the LA Clippers.
The immediate fear, backed up soon thereafter by the prognosis, was that the versatile guard’s first NBA season was over ending with it his shot at the ROY trophy.
NBA KIA Rookie Ladder: The Top 5 this week on the 2020-21 Kia Rookie Ladder:
1. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
Season stats: 16.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.6 apg
Since the last Ladder: 24.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.3 apg
Last Ladder’s rung: 2
Now the Rookie of the Year favorite if voters decide Ball’s sample size is too small to merit the award, Edwards will determine whether he seizes the opportunity or wins it as a consolation choice.
Signs point to the former, given nights like his 42-point outburst at Phoenix when he became the third-youngest player in NBA history to score 40+ (only LeBron James and Kevin Durant did it younger).
Edwards’ efficiency isn’t great — 16.7 ppg on 16.0 FGA, while shooting 38.5% — but his free throw attempts are up in March (4.9 per game vs. 2.4 through February). Attacking the basket, meshing with teammate Karl-Anthony Towns, benefiting from suspended Malik Beasley’s available minutes, and learning under new coach Chris Finch all are boosting Edwards’ play.
2. Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings
Season stats: 12.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.0 apg
Since the last Ladder: 15.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.0 apg
Last Ladder’s rung: 4
Moved into a three-guard starting lineup with Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox with forwarding Marvin Bagley out, Haliburton responded and the Kings went 3-1.
Off his minutes’ restriction after returning from a calf injury, he is less frustrated and scored a season-best 28 points vs. Cleveland.
The No. 12 pick overall ranks were third in scoring among rookies, second in assists, and is hitting 42% of his 3-pointers. His 3.32 assist/turnover ratio is best among rookies who have played 30+ games, and his 60.3 true shooting percentage trails only Memphis’ Desmond Bane.
A new 𝐂𝐀𝐑𝐄𝐄𝐑-𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇 for @ TyHaliburton22!
✅ 28 PTS
✅ 4 3PM
Watch all the highlights from the 𝐑𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐢𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐘𝐞𝐚𝐫 ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/19UOAFDqs3
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 23, 2021
3. Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
Season stats: 12.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.3 apg
Since the last Ladder: 11.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.5 apg
Last Ladder’s rung: 3
Though only 18th in minutes among first-year players, Quickley leads the Class of 2020 in free throw attempts (3.2) while averaging 23.2 points per 36 minutes (Edwards is at 19.9) and a usage rate (26.8) that tops all rotation rookies.
The 25th pick out of Kentucky has logged most of his minutes at point guard for the improved Knicks, staying afloat as a plus-player. Maybe folks will factor this all into coach Tom Thibodeau’s reputation for favoring veterans and stifling young guys.
CHILL QUICK 🔥 pic.twitter.com/GpfHs9UErt
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) March 24, 2021
4. Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets
Season stats: 10.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.8 apg
Since the last Ladder: 13.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.2 apg
Last Ladder’s rung: 7
A contributor at both ends, Tate against Toronto Monday became the first Houston rookie with at least 20 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals since Steve Francis in 1999-2000.
He produces about the same wherever, whenever wins vs. losses, home vs. road. So far, when Tate hasn’t been on the court, the Rockets have been outscored by 9.6 points per 100 possessions, the biggest deficit among their regulars.
Tate is eating well tonight 🍽
🏀 22pts / 6reb / 5ast pic.twitter.com/aXtCMhq50W
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 23, 2021
5. Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons
Season stats: 10.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.2 apg
Since last Ladder: 17.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.0 apg
Last Ladder’s rung: 6
An off-night against Chicago Sunday, but Bey had been a consistent contributor in the 18 games prior, averaging 14.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 30 minutes while making 42% of his 3-pointers. “He’s as strong as an ox,” coach Dwane Casey said last week, “and you can see what he’s doing with his jump shot. He’s going to be a star in this league for a long time.” Effusive, yes, but the Pistons reportedly declined Sacramento’s trade interest in Bey for Marvin Bagley.
– NBA (@NBA) March 18, 2021
NBA KIA Rookie Ladder: The Next Five:
6. LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
Season stats: 15.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 6.1 apg
Since the last Ladder: 17.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.7 apg
Last Ladder’s rung: 1
Season-long ROY fave will hold this spot till, whenever, he returns.
7. James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors
Season stats: 11.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 0.6 apg
Since the last Ladder: DNP
Last Ladder’s rung: 5
Back from virus sitdown to starting, tops rookies in PIP (7.7), boards (5.9).
8. Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies
Season stats: 9.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 apg
Since last Ladder: 11.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.8 apg
Last Ladder’s rung: 9
Top 3FG% (45.7) for any rookie ever attempting 3+ per game.
9. Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls
Season stats: 9.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.2 apg
Since the last Ladder: 6.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 0.8 apg
Last Ladder’s rung: 8
Scoring was down but phone calls in trade queries were up.
10. Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons
Season stats: 6.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Since the last Ladder: 11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.0 apg
Last Ladder’s rung: N/A
NBA Trade: Prediction for the LA Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets on deadline day