|1||DAMIAN LILLARD, G, PORTLAND: Didn’t have a great week with 4-of-17 at Lakers, zero assists vs. 76ers and seven TOs at Raptors. But he knocked down a cold-blooded three to seal a win at New York. To no one’s surprise, Portland’s poised point man was the West’s top rook in December.||1|
|2||ANTHONY DAVIS, F-C, NEW ORLEANS: Would be 16th in rebounding (8.7) and 10th in blocks (2.0) if he qualified. With Eric Gordon’s return, his effectiveness should grow. But Hornets have to get their prized big man more than 11 shots a game. And what’s up with 1-of-8 from the line this week?||2|
|3||ANDRE DRUMMOND, F-C, DETROIT: For you Sloan Sports Conference attendees, Drummond’s PER is 21.78, Davis is at 19.39 and Lillard is at 16.87. But Drummond is 13th among rookies in minutes at 19.5, well behind Davis (31.9) and about half of Lillard (37.9). Memo to Lawrence Frank: Play him more.||4|
|4||TERRENCE ROSS, G, TORONTO: Toronto has won eight of nine, with its springy gunner averaging 12.1 points while shooting 49 percent overall and 45 percent from distance. That’s not a coincidence. He also severely outperformed Lillard with a career-high 26 on six 3-pointers.||6|
|5||ALEXEY SHVED, G, MINNESOTA: There’s been some reader grumbling about his ranking, but he has scored in double figures in five straight games with two double-doubles while rediscovering his shooting stroke. He has plugged huge holes at both guard spots, which shouldn’t be overlooked.||3|
|6||MICHAEL KIDD-GILCHRIST, F, CHARLOTTE: Again displayed toughness by taking a shot in the eye, leaving and returning with eyewear to drop 22 and nine on the Hornets before sitting out against the Bulls. Also had a better month than Beal, but it’s hard to pick a guy whose team hadn’t won in five weeks.||7|
|7||TYLER ZELLER, C, CLEVELAND: Continues to hold his own in the absence of Anderson Varejao. He is averaging 11.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 34.6 minutes as a starter. The next steps are to manage his fouls better and figure out how to make those those numbers translate to wins.||8|
|8||HARRISON BARNES, F, GOLDEN STATE: Just when he was about to tumble out of the rankings, he put together his best three-game stretch in over a month, averaging 12.7 points while hitting the boards, knocking down threes and getting to the line. That helped him reclaim some of his lost minutes.||10|
|9||DION WAITERS, G, CLEVELAND: Shot 12-of-40 over a three-game stretch and lost his starting spot to C.J. Miles. Of course, that didn’t stop him from loading up the Howitzer for 19 shots (and 20 points) in 29 minutes off the bench. Second among rookies is scoring but PER of 11.67 is well below classmates.||5|
|10||BRADLEY BEAL, G, WASHINGTON: Monthly award gets him back in the table. Continues to score the ball pretty well, which the Wizards certainly need. Shooting remains an issue though there has been a small uptick. People think he will be better when John Wall gets back. I’ll believe it when I see it.||-|
DROPOUTS: Kyle Singler, F, Detroit (9).
FIVE TO WATCH: Chris Copeland, F, New York; John Jenkins, G, Atlanta; Pablo Prigioni, G, New York; Kyle Singler, F, Detroit; Jeffery Taylor, G-F, Charlotte.
Chris Bernucca is the deputy editor of SheridanHoops.com. His columns appear Monday during the season. You can follow him on Twitter.
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