LOS ANGELES, Nov. 12, 2008 -- After listening to the most addictive song I've heard in years, Love Lockdown, on the radio for the umpteenth time last week I got home and decided to look up who the artist was on my computer.

I assumed it was somebody new and this was his debut single. I was legitimately floored when I found out that the new track was by Kanye West.

I knew Kanye's rapping was good and all, but who knew he could sing too? Here was somebody who I already totally respected and appreciated for his abilities one-upping himself after already establishing a lofty level of performance that he reached for years.

The same day I found out that Love Lockdown was Kanye's song, I saw O.J. Mayo's line against the Nuggets: 31 points on 4-for-5 shooting from deep, eight rebounds and three assists. A couple of days earlier Mayo had put up 28 points on the Kings, but it had only come with one rebound and zero assists. Mayo getting 28 with no dimes against a poor Sacramento team made sense to me. I knew he could score and I could see him calling his own number against a sorry Kings team all night.

But 31, eight and three while being guarded by a defensive-minded veteran like Chauncey Billups? Who knew Mayo's game was so complete?

Hearing Kanye sing like that opens up my mind to a whole new realm of musical possibilities from him in the future and seeing Mayo dominate in an all-around floor game like that so early into his rookie season makes me see a whole new career arc for the guy.

I had Mayo pegged as a scorer in the Allen Iverson-Ben Gordon-Vinnie Johnson mold. I thought he was an instant offense guy: just add playing time.

But 31, eight and three suggests so much more. Scoring, rebounding and passing gives you a Magic, a Bird, a Jordan, a Kobe, a LeBron.

Line of the Week
O.J. Mayo (MEM)
Nov. 9 at DEN
31 points, 8 reb, 3 ast
11-21 FG, 4-5 3-FG
It's a great feeling to be surprised for the better by somebody. If Kanye can sing and O.J. can be a five-tool player, then maybe the guy in my apartment building can stop parking so close to my car and the girl at Starbucks who makes my tea can remember not to fill the cup the whole way so I can add milk to it.

If O.J. is already surprising us just eight games into his career, just think of what level of play he'll be at when he impresses us like that the next time.

Korleone Young slide of the week: M. Gasol MEM (-3).
Eddie Gottlieb rise of the week: O.J. Mayo MEM (+5).

Overall Rankings - Week 2

1. O.J. Mayo, G, Memphis
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
8
39.5
21.0
5.0 2.4 1.4 0.1 .454 .439 .880
Last Week: 6 | Drafted: 3
Welcome to No. 1, Ovinton J'Anthony. I'm already on record picking Mayo to win the Rookie of the Year, but even I didn't think he would become this good this fast. Wednesday against New York he has a chance to become the first rookie to score 30-plus points in three straight games since Allen Iverson did it in six straight back in April of 1997.

2. Derrick Rose, G, Chicago
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
8 37.9 18.8 4.6
5.3
1.0 0.0 .468 .250 .842
Last Week: 1 | Drafted: 1
I was in the Houston locker room on Friday after they beat the Clippers, waiting to ask Ron Artest a question when No. 96 in Rockets red caught a glimpse of No. 1 in Chicago crimson playing on the television screen behind me. The highlights showed Rose in the midst of a coast-to-coast break finished with a powerful dunk over Leandro Barbosa, causing Artest to stand up from his chair and say something to the effect of, "Wow, that boy is good!" Now, I don't know Artest well enough to say that if one of those Sonic drive-thru advertisements playing on the TV wouldn't have caused him to get up and proclaim, "Wow, that commercial is good!" but still, it impressed me that Rose impressed him. In a brutal week, the Bulls were able to beat the Suns but lost two games to the Cavs, dropped a game to Hawks and lost Kirk Hinrich for a couple of months with a thumb injury. Rose responded after Hinrich's departure with 26 points and 10 assists against Atlanta. He'll have to have more nights like that if Chicago wants to keep itself in the playoff hunt.

3. Michael Beasley, F, Miami
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
7 34.6 16.7 6.3 1.6 0.7 0.9 .437 .250 .862
Last Week: 3 | Drafted: 2
Everybody wants to talk about Beasley's offensive repertoire - from the range on his lefty jumper to his quick hops around the hoop to his silky free throw stroke for a big man - but the forward out of Kansas State wants to switch the focus to defense for a change. ''The better defense I play, the longer I stay on the floor,'' Beasley told the Miami Herald."I'll be completely honest: I've never got down and completely grinded it out on defense like I do here. Now is a good time to start. It's a defensive organization, so I don't have any choice but to improve.''

4. Rudy Fernandez, G-F, Portland
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
7 28.4 14.0 2.9 2.0 1.1 0.1 .455 .462 .909
Last Week: 5 | Drafted: 24 by Phoenix in 2007
Glancing at Fernandez's 18 made threes in just seven games and stellar .462 shooting percentage from deep might lead you to believe that he's a clone of his Spanish National Team buddy Juan Carlos Navarro, who tore it up from downtown as a rookie with the Grizzlies last season. The fact is, he's so much more than that, but it so happens that he's getting a lot of great looks from outside with the way Portland spreads its offense out. I watched Rudy shoot around for a solid 20 minutes before a recent game in L.A. and studied his form. He's not what you call a "pure shooter." There's a bit of a hitch in his shot. It's not pronounced, it's not like he's Desmond Mason at the free throw line, but he's certainly not Ray Allen either.

5. Marc Gasol, C, Memphis
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
8 29.4 10.8
8.3
0.9 0.8 1.0 .542 .000 .733
Last Week: 2 | Drafted: 48 by L.A. Lakers in 2007
Gasol came back down to earth after that 27-point, 16-rebound gem he had last week. Foul trouble and turnovers have plagued him, but he's still shooting it at a high percentage and has yet to grab less than five rebounds in a game even when his minutes are limited. It's rare when a guy gets recognized for doing the things that don't show up in the box score, but Gasol's teammate Mayo made sure to praise the big man for being the team's "best screener" and allowing him to score off of high pick-and-roll situations by really getting a piece of his man.

6. Jason Thompson, F, Sacramento
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
8 24.0 11.5 6.5 1.3 0.4 0.4
.586
.000 .588
Last Week: 4 | Drafted: 12
Reggie Theus has only played Thompson for 30 minutes or more two times this season and both times the rook got an extended run he filled it up. The power forward put in 17 points, six rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes against Philadelphia and 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting and nine rebounds in 41 minutes against Detroit. It's only a matter of time before Brad Miller and Mikki Moore's minutes start to drop to make room for Thompson on the court.

7. Mario Chalmers, G, Miami
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
7 33.7 6.4 3.6 5.1
2.4
0.1 .400 .261 .375
Last Week: 8 | Drafted: 34
Chalmers swiped a whopping nine steals in a win against the Sixers last week, the most thefts by any rookie since Brevin Knight had eight steals for Cleveland back in 1997-98. You know how when you play a game of pick-up ball a lot of guys will yell, "Cookies!" as they get a steal? I hope against hope that Chalmers' calling card after a swipe is, "It's-a me, Mario!"

8. Russell Westbrook, G, Oklahoma City
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
7 21.9 10.4 2.3 2.4 1.1 0.3 .324 .357 .833
Last Week: 7 | Drafted: 4
Westbrook was a putrid 1-for-8 from the field against Utah last week and proved just how low he can go three nights later against Indiana with a 1-for-10 shooting line. He's still a talent to keep an eye out for, but if his .324 shooting percentage continues to dive, you won't be seeing him in the top 10 for much longer.

9. Luc Mbah a Moute, F, Milwaukee
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
8 26.9 9.1 6.3 1.0 0.6 0.8 .560 .000 0.680
Last Week: 10 | Drafted: 37
Mbah a Moute is quickly becoming my favorite rookie for several reasons. First, there's the name. His first name is fun to say ("Luuuuuuuucccc") and has the Longley spelling instead of the Walton one, which I approve of. His last name is equally enjoyable (after watching him play against Phoenix I started adding a M before all the B-words I said that night as in "I'm going to go take a Mbath ... Did you guys remember to record MBoy Meets World on DVR? ... I'm not going to eat the rest of this Mbacon, anybody want it?") And best of all, he's a prince back in his village of Bia Messe in Cameroon. I hope he develops a mean streak, starts throwing elbows and committing flagrant fouls so we can start calling him "Prince Harming." It's for the good of the game, come on Luc.

10. Kevin Love, F, Minnesota
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
7 25.4 9.6 7.0 1.4 0.4 0.9 .440 .167 .815
Last Week: 9 | Drafted: 5
Love rounds out the top 10 as the third straight UCLA Bruin on the list. Maybe seeing his alma mater's football team get smoked by Oregon State on Saturday, 34-6, hurt Love's confidence as he prepped to play Oregon's NBA team in Portland later that night. Love had his worst game of the season against the Blazers, going 0-for-7 in a loss.
RED = Rookie Leader (Must Qualify)

The Next 10 (alphabetical order): Darrell Arthur (MEM), D.J. Augustin (CHA), Bobby Brown (SAC), Nicolas Batum (POR), Eric Gordon (LAC), Roy Hibbert (IND), George Hill (SAS), JaVale McGee (WAS), DeMarcus Nelson (GSW), Anthony Randolph (GSW)

Noteworthy

Augustin

D.J. Augustin (CHA) was hand-picked by Larry Brown to be his point guard of the future, and it seems like the Hall of Famer knew what he was doing after seeing Augustin get the start and the win against the Hornets last week. Playing in his hometown against the best point guard in the planet in Chris Paul, Augustin shined, netting 11 points and four assists and knocking down a clutch 3-pointer late in the game to seal the W.
Bobby Brown (SAC) has a tremendous field goal percentage for a 6-2, 175-pound guard (.545) but his three-point percentage is even better as his .571 mark from deep (8-for-14) leads all rookies.
Anthony Randolph (GSW), a sleeper Rookie of the Year candidate, had to wait a week to see the floor but has made the most of it ever since, hauling in rebound totals of seven, seven and eight in his last three games.
The HNPAMY (Have Not Played A Minute Yet) Club: J.R. Giddens (BOS), Richard Hendrix (GSW), Darnell Jackson (CLE), Nathan Jawai (TOR), Sonny Weems (DEN), D.J. White (OKC), Jawad Williams (CLE), Sun Yue (LAL)