NBA Rookie of the Year ladder: Big rise from Jaime Jaquez Jr. in Week 6

The landscape of rookie performances in the NBA continues to shift. Let's rank 'em.

Jaime Jaquez Jr., Miami Heat
Jaime Jaquez Jr., Miami Heat / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 6
Next

. 64. 5. Ausar Thompson. Ausar Thompson. . Wing. Pistons. 5. player

Ausar Thompson's star has dwindled lately. He has been relegated to bench duties in the last couple games, yet another brilliant strategic adjustment from Monty Williams. Please interpret with sarcasm. It's clear Williams has no idea what to do with the Pistons' (admittedly wonky) roster. Thompson may be a victim of Detroit's across-the-board personnel failure.

Thompson was the right pick in the No. 5 spot. He's going to be an absolute star, blessed with unreal defensive anticipation skills and the athleticism to one day launch into the stratosphere on offense. It has been a struggle to consistently generate points — Thompson has a mean first step and he's a flexible interior finisher, but the 3-point shot is completely absent (13.5 percent) — but such is life for a rookie guard who is still figuring out how to take advantage of his innate gifts.

His defensive playmaking numbers have tapered off slightly, but Thompson is still averaging 1.0 steals, 1.5 blocks, and 9.1 rebounds in 28.3 minutes. His ability to blow up passing lanes and impact shots at the rim is virtually unmatched on the wing, especially when looking at the rookie crop specifically. Maybe we get to see Amen Thompson take off with the Rockets eventually, but right now there's only one nuclear 6-foot-7 athlete with Ausar's unique capacity for movement.

The Pistons are the worst team in the NBA, which is saying something — the Wizards and Spurs exist. Thompson is not benefitting from his circumstances, despite the opportunity for significant early minutes. An opportunity that is evidently fading, despite him being one of the team's few bright spots. Hopefully, Williams doesn't lose faith in his most promising prospect.