NBA: Top 5 Rookies

December 2nd, 2008
Today marks the beginning of a new weekly feature in which HOOPSWORLD's Joel Brigham takes a subjective glance at the league's top rookies. This group will likely fluctuate from one week to the next based on performance and momentum, but week one's analysis comes down to how well the rooks have played thus far. Take the list for what it is and post your disagreements in the comments. Now, on to this week's big winners:
#1 - Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls (8-9) – If you watched Sunday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers you know exactly why Rose is the best rookie in the league right now. His Tayshuan-Prince-esque block of Andre Miller's dunk, then subsequent killer crossover sending the veteran point guard to the floor showed his versatility. He's currently second among rookies in ppg with 18.4 and first in apg with 6.0, and he'll only continue to get better as the year goes on.
#2 - O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies (4-13) – Coming into the draft, Mayo had his doubters, but so far he's been even better than most expected. Not only is he the top scoring rookie with 21.9 ppg, but he's also the fourteenth best scorer in the entire league as of Monday afternoon. That puts him ahead of Amar'e Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, Michael Redd, Tim Duncan, and a host of other big-time names. His 4.6 rebounds a game don't hurt his stock, either.
#3 - Michael Beasley, Miami HEAT (8-9) – It may have been a slow start for the Beazer, but he seems to have settled down into a role as the HEAT's sixth man. Third amongst rookie scorers with 14.4 points per night, Beasley is only just now learning how to be effective in the NBA. He's still playing behind Shawn Marion, but if The Matrix gets moved, Beasley will be even more valuable.
#4 - Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers (12-6) – While Oden's numbers might not be as stellar as some of the other rookies in the class (8.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg) he does lead rookies in blocks per game at 1.67 per contest, and has only gotten better and better in the few games he's played. He brings so much to the Blazers in terms of having a solid center, and his value goes beyond the numbers. Just his presence in the paint has already made him one of the peskiest big men in the league.
#5 - Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies (4-13) – Any of a number of guys could've rounded out the Top Five this week, but Grizzlies center Marc Gasol pops out for now as one of the league's most impressive young bigs. He's third on his team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and his hauling down 7.1 boards a night as well. As a typical Gasol big man, he's held his own on the Grizzlies. While his brother Pau dominates in L.A., little bro Marc is just getting off the ground in Tennessee. In time, there may be a real discussion as to which one is an all-around better player.
Honorable Mention: Rudy Fernandez, D.J. Augustin, Anthony Morrow, Russell Westbrook, George Hill.