Rookie Rankings, Week 3: Trey Burke, Shane Larkin make strong debuts

1MCW Philadelphia 76ersMICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS, G, PHILADELPHIA: Would have tumbled from the top spot had he not returned Wednesday after missing four games with foot injury and filled the boxscore in his usual fashion. Unfortunately, that includes turnovers and missed shots, which are coming a bit too frequently for our liking.1
2Orlando MagicVICTOR OLADIPO, G, ORLANDO: Still playing at both guard spots, although that may not be best. The good news is he scored 20 points for the first time in Wednesday’s blowout loss to Miami. The bad news is 17 turnovers in 64 minutes over two games last week, including a flurry of mistakes that killed a rally vs. Dallas.2
3 Sacramento KingsBEN MCLEMORE, G, SACRAMENTO: Mike Malone’s shakeup has made him a starter and he appears to be finding his footing. Matched a season high with 19 points in Tuesday’s win over Phoenix. Has to shoot better than the 37 percent he managed this week but gotta like 5.3 rebounds over last four games.6
4Boston CelticsKELLY OLYNYK, F-C, BOSTON: Bounced between bench and starting lineup this week and averaged 6.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in 22.3 minutes. Still a perfect 17-of-17 from the line. Celtics are plummeting and need to move Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries to find more minutes for their young bigs.4
5Milwaukee BucksNATE WOLTERS, G, MILWAUKEE: Hasn’t had double figures or a 3-pointer in eight straight games for woeful Bucks, who couldn’t score in a brothel. Returned to bench role Wednesday with Luke Ridnour now healthy. Still doing a good job as a playmaker, but will he play at all once Brandon Knight is back?3
6 Charlotte BobcatsCODY ZELLER, C, CHARLOTTE: Al Jefferson’s balky ankle hasn’t been a disaster for the Bobcats somewhat because of Zeller, who averages 7.3 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 47 percent in wins vs. 3.2 points, 2.5 boards and 28 percent shooting in losses. Hey, Steve Clifford, this guy needs to play more.9
7 Brooklyn NetsMASON PLUMLEE, F-C, BROOKLYN: One of the few bright spots in the current mess in Brooklyn. Erupted for 19 points, six boards and his first block of the season vs. the Clippers and has shown he knows his way around the paint, shooting 76 percent from the field this week. Needs to play even when Brook Lopez returns.
8Minnesota TimberwolvesROBBIE HUMMEL, F, MINNESOTA: Has come out of nowhere to average 5.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 19.4 minutes over his last five games. Has a 3-pointer in his arsenal and can pass as well. It is ironic that Hummel gets minutes while first-round picks Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng get DNPs.
9KCP Detroit PistonsKENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE, G, DETROIT: Injuries to Chauncey Billups and Will Bynum elevated him from DNP to starter and he had a season-high 13 points vs. Knicks. Hasn’t missed a free throw this month (11-of-11) but has to shoot better than 35 percent (28 percent from the arc) to stay in rotation.
10Oklahoma City ThunderSTEVEN ADAMS, C, OKLAHOMA CITY: After his 17-point breakout in Detroit, we were expecting bigger things. But he has just 13 points in five games since and has moved back to the bench with the return of Kendrick Perkins. When opponents go small – as Denver did Monday – his minutes are marginalized as well.5

DROPOUTS: Tim Hardaway, G, New York (7), Vitor Faverani, C, Boston (8), Gal Mekel, G, Dallas (10).

FIVE TO WATCH: Giannis Antetokounmpo, G-F, Milwaukee; Trey Burke, G, Utah; Archie Goodwin, G, Phoenix; Rudy Gobert, F-C, Utah: Shane Larkin, G, Dallas.

OTHER RANKINGS: MVP | Rookie | Most Improved

Chris Bernucca is the deputy editor of His columns appear Monday during the season. You can follow him on Twitter.

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