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NBA Rookie Ladder: Banchero Returns, Smith Jr. Heats Up – NBA Draft Digest


Now a handful of games into the season, NBA rookies are starting to settle into the rigorous routines of the NBA season.

Some are continuing to affect the sport at record pace, while others are coming down from their initial blazing starts.

After missing several games because of injury, Paolo Banchero made his triumphant return this week, scoring 19, 18 and 24 points. He picked up right where he left off: because the runaway favorite for the 2023 NBA Rookie of the Yr Award.

Banchero’s likely only competition, Bennedict Mathurin, continued his fiery begin to his debut season, and is now averaging 19.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists on the yr.

Risers include Houston’s Jabari Smith Jr., who has seen a spurt of efficient games after getting off to a shaky start, and Andrew Nembhard, who continues to do a little bit of all the pieces for the overachieving Pacers.

Smith Jr. is now as much as 11.6 points per game on the season, posting scores of 15, 21, 22, 12 and 10 in a five-game span.

Here is Draft Digest’s full NBA rookie ladder through Nov. 30, 2022:

1. Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic

2. Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers

3. Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons

4. Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings

5. Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets

6. Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City

7. Tari Eason, Houston Rockets

8. Andrew Nembhard, Indiana Pacers

9. AJ Griffin, Atlanta Hawks

10. Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers

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