The long-awaited arrival of the MotorCade

No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham has put a slow start to the season in the rear-view mirror and has arrived in a big way over the last two weeks with the Detroit Pistons.

Of course, Cunningham missed the first four games of the regular season but finally debuted with the Pistons on Oct. 30. He endured a rather slow start on offense, but has seemingly knocked off the rust and is beginning to show why he was the top pick in the NBA draft.

With the arrival of Cunningham, the rookie class received a big boost as it has started off the season with several notable performances. Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley continue to dazzle, while others have stepped up with their respective teams.

To make sense of it all, we took a look at the best recent performances of these first-year players and ranked them in the latest edition of the Rookie Wire Power Rankings. The rankings are not for Rookie of the Year purposes but, rather, to illustrate the best players week to week.

Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder

AP Photo/Kyle Phillips

Last Rank: 6

Stats: 9.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.2 steals

Despite scoring just 6.3 points over his last six contests, Giddey has helped the Thunder put together their best stretch of the season. The Thunder have gotten production from seemingly everyone on the roster, meaning Giddey hasn’t needed to put up big offensive numbers. He is finding those teammates, averaging 6.5 assists over the past two weeks, and is still dishing out some insane passes.

For more coverage on the Thunder, visit Thunder Wire

Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Last Rank: N/A

Stats: 8.5 points, 2.1 assists, 2.0 rebounds

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Bones Hyland AKA “Let’s get Bizzy Bones” has had a nice run for the Nuggets. He recently posted 15 points, four rebounds and 3.7 assists over a three-game stretch prior to getting injured on Monday. He played sparingly to start the season but has earned his way into the rotation and is producing in that role. The team had struggled to get production from the second unit and Hyland has stepped up and given them a nice scoring punch. They have won five out of six games and look to be trending upward.

Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings

AP Photo/José Luis Villegas

Last Rank: 8

Stats: 9.6 points, 3.9 assists, 2.4 rebounds

Sacramento has largely struggled as of late but the play of Davion Mitchell has been fun to watch. Watching him go up against some of the elite scorers in the league and holding them in check is something worth tuning in to see. On offense, Mitchell is beginning to look more comfortable and is becoming more efficient. Over his last seven games, Mitchell is averaging 10 points and five assists on 40.9% (9-of-22) shooting from 3-point range. The Kings knew the offense would eventually come around, and Mitchell is slowly developing into a two-way threat.

Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Last Rank: 3

Stats: 14.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists

Duarte has cooled off from his hot start, scoring 9.7 points over his last six games, but is still third in scoring among all rookies. Defenses are beginning to pay attention a bit more to him, leading to some recent struggles scoring the ball. However, he is still getting his touches and shots off so we expect things to pick up as the Pacers make adjustments for him. He is currently dealing with some shoulder soreness that prevented him from playing on Monday but the injury is not considered to be serious so he should return in the next game or two.

Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 9

Stats: 9.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.4 steals

Houston has been a disaster this season, losing 12 straight contests, but Sengun has been fun to watch. He recently registered his first career double-double after recording 10 points and 10 rebounds on Sunday and is up to ninth in scoring among all rookies. He continues to dazzle on offense with his ability to make advanced plays and passes, like this one below that, unfortunately, didn’t count. He is likely already the best passer on the Rockets with John Wall not playing, and a big reason why they are still worth a watch on League Pass despite having the worst record in the NBA.

For more coverage on the Rockets, visit Rockets Wire

Jalen Green, Houston Rockets

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 5

Stats: 13.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists

As we previously mentioned, the Rockets have lost 12 straight, but the organization still has Jalen Green to rally around. Green has had a couple of pockets of brilliance this season but is still working to put together consistent performances on a nightly basis. Of course, that is to be expected from a rookie but he has the makings to become a perennial All-Star player. He may have lost his first battle to Cade Cunningham, but the two players put on quite a show last week.

For more coverage on the Rockets, visit Rockets Wire

Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic

Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 4

Stats: 13.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals

Wagner continues to shine for the Magic and has done so on both ends of the floor. He has emerged as a player that doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be productive. He is one of the best cutters on the Magic and has been highly effective in finishing in the paint. His offensive numbers have slipped some over the last two weeks (10.5 points on 35.8% shooting from the field) but he has looked to be one of the best defenders in the class. He is often tasked with guarding the best player on the opposing team and has held his own in those matchups; his 19 steals lead all rookie players. Wagner so far has been the best first-year player in Orlando and that is likely a welcomed sign for the organization.

Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: N/A

Stats: 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steal

It turns out Cade Cunningham is pretty good at basketball after all but that wasn’t necessarily what you read after his first couple of performances when he struggled to shoot. Some were quick to write him off but the Pistons cautioned everyone that Cunningham would need time to figure things out and it appears as though the No. 1 overall pick has done just that.

He is averaging 16.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and four assists over his last six games on 40% shooting from the field. He is coming off a career performance in which he recorded 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists on Monday to go along with five 3-pointers, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to reach those numbers in a game at 20 years, 51 days.

Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 2

Stats: 14.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 blocks, 1.0 steal

Mobley recently had a seven-game streak scoring in double figures to help the Cavaliers to a surprising 9-6 start this season. He has been nominated twice for Eastern Conference Player of the Week already this season, a sign that Mobley is consistently producing. He has impressed not only with his ability on the court but also his basketball IQ.

He earned praise from head coach J.B. Bickerstaff for how quickly he can pick things up, something that is rather rare for a rookie. Unfortunately, Mobley will miss the next 2-4 weeks with an elbow sprain suffered on Monday. Despite that, Mobley will likely pick up where he left off once he can return.

Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Last Rank: 1

Stats: 16.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steal

Barnes continues to perform for the Raptors despite a recent cold streak in which they have lost five of six. While our rankings are not for Rookie of the Year purposes, Barnes is likely the front-runner to this point and was recently picked by Hall of Famer Charles Barkley as his choice for the award. Kendrick Perkins even said Barnes should have been the No. 1 overall pick. The point is, Barnes is beginning to earn the respect he deserves on a national level. He leads all rookies in scoring, rebounding and field goals made so he is certainly worthy of the attention.








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