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Noel rises to the top in Las Vegas

By Scott Howard-Cooper
POSTED: Jul 16, 2014 1:41 PM ET

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Nerlens Noel has impressed in Summer League after missing all of last season due to injury.

— The Summer League schedule format changes Wednesday, and so does the Ladder.

The previous rankings started as the post-draft look at the best chances for Rookie of the Year, were adjusted as teams played in Orlando, then shifted again as the early returns came in from Vegas, always connecting it to the eventual ROY race. Now that everyone has played enough games to be on even footing, though, the Ladder shifts is to rating players strictly on actual performance, not on potential and not on the chances the same production will carry over to the 2014-15 season with backup minutes.

Tracking the race for Rookie of the Year will resume with the first Ladder of the season. But for now, and through the Las Vegas Summer League Championship game on Monday, July 21, the daily updates will focus on summer production.

That includes a change at the top that probably would have come under either format. Nerlens Noel not only played, noteworthy enough after being sidelined all 2013-14 following knee surgery, but played well. Jabari Parker, anointed as the ROY front-runner heading into summer league, has had good money and flashed his versatile game.

Rookie Ladder


1. NERLENS NOEL, 76ers (previous ranking: 2)

The No. 6 pick in 2013 is averaging 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks while also intimidating players into changing shots inside. The key stat: 28.5 minutes with six appearances in the 11 Philly games in both cities.

2. JARNELL STOKES, Grizzlies (4)

The second-round pick, No. 35 overall, finished Orlando averaging nine rebounds a game in 26 minutes, without ever playing more than 30 minutes. Though struggling with his shot at times, Stokes still scored 10, 16, 11 and 12 points in the limited time.

3. DOUG McDERMOTT, Bulls (8)

With the chance to keep climbing, McDermott went from an underwhelming opener to scoring 31 points in 27 minutes against the Nuggets and 20 points in 26 minutes against the Timberwolves, with the Minnesota game also including six assists and five rebounds.

4. JAMES ENNIS, Heat (5)

Leaving Monday after 14 minutes and sitting Tuesday because of the strained groin changes nothing. In five full games, Ennis has scored at least 17 points four times, while also contributing 5.5 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game.

5. T.J. WARREN, Suns (not ranked)

Fifty-four points in 63 minutes. That's how to break into the rankings. Warren, the No. 14 pick, continues to score in bunches, just as he did at North Carolina State. He also had 11 rebounds Tuesday after a slow start on the boards the first two games.

6. JORDAN ADAMS, Grizzlies (6)

Adams left Orlando on a bad note, by making just five of 13 shots and scoring 11 points against the 76ers, but that was after scoring at least 19 points in three of the four previous games. The Grizzlies are not playing in Las Vegas.

7. JORDAN CLARKSON, Lakers (nr)

The second-round pick with a lot to prove, though with the benefit of playing on a team that needs bodies, had an opening statement of 21, 16 and 19 points in the first three games. Four assists and 10 turnovers cost him the chance to move higher.

8. JABARI PARKER, Bucks (1)

Parker has yet to offer the kind of dazzling performance people want from a No. 2 pick, but he has had a lot of good moments despite shooting 37.5 percent. He had 11 rebounds in one game and nine in another, four steals one game, and has defended two positions.

9. ELFRID PAYTON, Magic (10)

While the 1.75-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is a bad number for a point guard, Payton did a lot of other things well in Orlando. He shot 59.3 percent, averaged 5.2 rebounds from the backcourt in five games, and showed signs of the potential on defense.

10. GARY HARRIS, Nuggets (nr)

The one bad game was really bad: one make in 12 shots against the Bulls, including four tries and four misses from behind the arc. The two other games, though, he piled up 33 and 18 points, even if he shot just six of 21 on 3-pointers.

Dropped out: Julius Randle (3), Andrew Wiggins (7), Dante Exum (9).

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