Skip to main content

NBA.com, Official site of the National Basketball Association

2013 NBA Summer League 2013 NBA Summer League
Main content
Advertisement

NBA.com Rookie Ladder

The Rookie Ladder is a free-flowing, constantly updated chart that ranks the 2012-13 rookies. If a rookie plays well, he climbs the Ladder. Play poorly, and he'll slide down a rung ... or two or three. The rankings are updated by NBA.com's Drew Packham. If you have an issue or have a question or comment, send Drew an e-mail. You can also follow him on Twitter.
Past Seasons: 2011-12 | 2010-11

Rookies of the Month

MARCH

The Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas and the Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.

Lillard in landslide

April 17 -- I'm going to keep this brief, because there's not much discussion. Damian Lillard is your Kia Rookie of the Year.

From Day One (and actually before that, if you take into account his breakout Summer League performance), Lillard has been the best rookie in this class.

Others have had very, very good rookie campaigns, but none has been on Lillard's level.

Anthony Davis could make the best case, thanks to a strong finish to the season. The Hornets rookie and No. 1 pick finishes the season with some impressive averages -- 13.5 points (fourth among rookies), 8.2 rebounds (first) and 1.8 blocks (first). To bolster his case, he's among the leaders in advanced metrics, currently first in both PER (21.78) and in Estimated Wins Added (9.4). However, Davis' case takes a serious hit when you consider he missed 22 percent of the season (18 games) due to various injuries.

Several other rookies shined in their first seasons as well.

Bradley Beal averaged 13.9 points and proved to be one of the best 3-point shooters of the class, hitting at a 38.6 percent clip. When John Wall returned in the second half of the season, Wizards fans got a glimpse of what could be a deadly backcourt for many years.

And speaking of deadly backcourts, Cleveland got a glimpse of its guard tandem of the future as Dion Waiters finished second among rookies in scoring (14.6 ppg). Waiters, who had 14 games scoring at least 20 points, improved his shooting numbers throughout the season and will pair well with Kyrie Irving to give the Cavs a tough guard combo.

But none of those three can touch what Lillard did in Portland this season.

Aside from the numbers -- first among rookies in scoring (19.1 ppg) and assists (6.2) while setting the rookie record for 3-pointers made -- Lillard brought a presence to the Trail Blazers and made opposing teams game plan for his pull-up 3s and ability to get to the rim while running the team efficiently.

And there was a confidence and swagger about Lillard that brought stability to a team that dealt with depth issues all season. He ran the team not like a 22-year-old rookie, but like a veteran.

Lillard is on course for a long and illustrious career, and it will start with his first hardware: 2012-13 Kia Rookie of the Year.

-- Drew Packham

Just missed the cut: Kyle Singler, Alexey Shved, Meyers Leonard, Tyler Zeller

Dropped out: Evan Fournier

As always, feel free to email me with any comments, questions or suggestions. I'm also on Twitter, if that's your thing.

1
Damian Lillard : PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Lillard started the season with the top rung, and he's going to finish the season there. And he's earned it. Not only did he set the rookie record for 3s made (surpassing Stephen Curry's mark), but he became just the third rookie to total 1,500 points and 500 assists. The other two? Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson. Lillard had his rookie moments in which he struggled from the floor, but he also had moments that made you wonder how five teams passed on him in the draft. Say hello to your 2013 Kia Rookie of the Year.

-- April 17

related links

  • Draft pick: No. 6 overall, 2012 Draft
2
Anthony Davis : NEW ORLEANS HORNETS

Davis was always behind the curve this season. While Lillard was earning MVP honors in Las Vegas Summer League, Davis was earning valuable time (albeit out of the limelight) with the U.S. Olympic Team. When Lillard started the season on a tear, Davis was dealing with early-season injuries that continued throughout the season. Davis proved he's the real deal with a strong finish -- leading all rookies in rebounding and blocks -- but it wasn't enough to overcome Lillard's body of work.

-- April 17

related links

3
Bradley Beal : WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Beal finished his season playing just 56 games, but shined in the time he played, averaging 13.9 points (third), 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 41 percent from the floor (38.6 on 3s). The No. 3 pick out of Florida had several breakout games, most notably a 29-point, 11-rebound performance in a loss to the Knicks. Beal -- who will be 20 years old in June -- got better as the season progressed (and especially when John Wall returned) and should only get better as he figures out the finer points of the NBA.

-- April 17

related links

4
Dion Waiters : CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Waiters dealt with injuries, playing in just 61 games (entering Wednesday), but still had one of the better rookie campaigns and earns the fourth spot on the Ladder. He and Beal jostled for position all season behind Lillard, and both had similar seasons, both statistically and otherwise. Waiters finishes second among rookies in scoring (14.6 ppg), third in assists (3.0), but struggled from beyond the arc, hitting at a 31 percent clip. Still, despite bouncing between the starting lineup and the bench, Waiters proved he can be a deadly scorer and gives Cavs fans hope for a bright future.

-- April 17

related links

5
Andre Drummond : DETROIT PISTONS

Drummond was a pleasant surprise for the Pistons and may end up being a steal at the No. 9 pick. The big man out of UConn has averaged about 20 minutes for most of the season, and still put up respectable numbers, finishing second to Davis in rebounds (7.7 rpg) and blocks (1.8) and leading rookies in field-goal percentage (60.6). Since returning from a fracture in his back, Drummond has seen an increase in minutes and has averaged 10.9 points and 8.8 rebounds to finish off his season on a high note. This kid (he's still just 19) has a bright future, for sure.

-- April 17

related links

6
Harrison Barnes : GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Barnes' numbers weren't mind-blowing, but he was in a unique situation compared to most rookies. Barnes started every game he played (missing one game with a calf strain) and will be the only rookie regular starter in the playoffs. Still, the UNC product averaged 9.3 points (fourth among rookies) and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 44 percent from the floor in 25 minutes per game. On a team loaded with scoring options, Barnes was called on to be a defender and got his buckets mostly on cuts to the basket and 3s from the wing.

-- April 17

related links

7
Jonas Valanciunas : TORONTO RAPTORS

The Raptors' big man is huge on potential, which was on display often in his rookie season. His youth and inexperience was also evident as he struggled with foul trouble at times. But JV finished the season strong and gave Raptors' fans a glimpse of their franchise center, finishing with averages of 8.8 points (seventh), 6.0 rebounds (third) and 1.2 blocks (third) while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor. JV had his ups and downs, but on the whole, it has to be considered a successful first season.

-- April 17

related links

8
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist : CHARLOTTE BOBCATS

For a No. 2 pick, Kidd-Gilchrist had a pretty under-the-radar season. The young swingman out of Kentucky is raw, but quietly put up decent numbers while starting all but one of his 77 games played. MKG will finish sixth in scoring (9.0 ppg), fifth in rebounding (5.8) and sixth in blocks (.9). MKG impressed me with his ball-hawking, but needs to work on his shooting if he wants to become a real scoring threat. He's still only 19, so he's got time to become more of an all-around weapon.

-- April 17

related links

9
Maurice Harkless : ORLANDO MAGIC

Harkless came on strong down the stretch to earn a rung to close out the season. Harkless started seeing big minutes in February and after the All-Star break averaged 13.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals while shooting 46.8 percent from the floor. He struggles from beyond the arc (28.3 percent), but his athleticism and effort on the glass make him a nice grab for the Magic, who got him from the Sixers in the Dwight Howard trade.

-- April 17

related links

10
Chris Copeland : NEW YORK KNICKS

There were several players who could have earned this last rung, but I'm giving it to Copeland, who had some key moments for the No. 2 team in the East, especially as they dealt with injuries. Copeland's playing time wasn't consistent (he had 24 DNP-CDs), but when he saw the floor (filling in for Amar'e Stoudemire and other injured Knicks), he put up big numbers, scoring 20-plus seven times and finishing with averages of 8.2 points on 47.9 percent shooting. He could be a big factor in New York's playoff hopes, and gets the final rung.

-- April 17

related links

Rookie Poll

Who is your pick for 2013 Kia Rookie of the Year?

  • Damian Lillard
  • Anthony Davis
  • Someone else

Rookie Photo Shoot