NBA Rookie of the Year ladder: Warriors' Brandin Podziemski surges into top 5

Golden State Warriors off-guard Brandin Podziemski has been a revelation for a team desperate to get back on track.

Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors
Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors / John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 6

3. Wing. 3. player. Heat. Jaime Jaquez Jr. . . Jaime Jaquez Jr. . 110.

The Heat continue to keep Jaime Jaquez Jr. heavily involved in the offense. The Jaquez pick was panned by some on draft night, but any concerns tied to the 22-year-old's age, athletic profile, or skill limitations have been tossed out the window. He's already a very real contributor for the reigning Eastern Conference champs, averaging 13.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists on .514/.380/.847 splits in 29.3 minutes.

It's difficult to find significant faults in Jaquez's production. He scales up when Miami faces injuries (five games of 20+ points) and he fits comfortably alongside Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Miami's star apparatus when the Heat are at full strength. Jaquez has been a potent 3-point shooter despite rampant inconsistency across four seasons at UCLA. There were doubts about the finer points of Jaquez's offensive game in college translating to the NBA — the post-ups, the heavy reliance on in-between shots — but Miami has embraced Jaquez's special quirks. He's bullying mismatches in the post, playmaking from the elbow, and contributing all over the place on offense.

Jaquez continues to get the job done every which way. He's a shifty driver who can score at all three levels. He's equally comfortable as a spacer or as a pick-and-roll ball-handler. Ask him to set screens, roll to the rim, and play connector, and Jaquez will gladly oblige.

The defense has been unexpectedly solid too. Jaquez is a testament to the value of feel and basketball I.Q. over pure athleticism. Jaquez isn't blessed with great lateral quickness and he can struggle to guard twitchy ball-handlers in space. Even so, he's always a menace in passing lanes and he knows exactly what is asked of him within Miami's scheme. The results are frequently positive.