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2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year rankings

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2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year rankings

We came into the 2017-18 NBA season with a rookie class dripping with hype. 

After last year's group, that saw second-round pick Malcolm Brogdon win Rookie of the Year in surprising fashion, most NBA fans were ready to see more of the "instant NBA star" type of rookie this year.

The problem is, they're just that, rookies.

Far too often we forget it takes time for even the most talented players to adjust to life at this level. 

Some early on have shown they have potential to be stars, others, have a lot to learn. 

Then there's the few, who weren't part of the hype train, that have taken the casual NBA fan by surprise so far this season.

Here's our NBA Rookie of the Year Rankings:

 

5. Kyle Kuzma, Lakers

Most expected a different name to be the best rookie on the Lakers in 2017. Kuzma though, has been the one to stand out so far.

Early in player's careers, shooting can be a major issue (*as you immediately think of Lonzo Ball*). 

Kuzma is shooting 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from three, on over four attempts per game. 

He's also leading the Lakers in scoring, and competing with his teammate Ball as to who's better with the media.

 

4. Lauri Markkanen, Bulls

The early production from Markkanen can certainly help ease the pain of the Jimmy Butler trade this offseason.

The 7-footer out of Arizona, naturally, draws comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki  and Kristaps Porzinigis, with his size and ability to stretch the floor. 

Markkanen has shown an early knack for rebounding, along with an ability to put the ball on the floor. 

Yes the Bulls are terrible, but at least they seem to have one player they can build a future around.

 

3. Donovan Mitchell, Jazz

During the draft, there was a sort of cult-following for Mitchell, mainly because of his ability to get you to click on every YouTube dunk video with his name on it. 

So far though, Mitchell has proven to be vital to the post-Gordon Hayward Jazz. 

More than just a high-flying 3-and-D guy, Mitchell is second in scoring for Utah, and is showing the rest of the league how deep this draft class just might end up being.

 

RELATED: THE GOOD AND BAD OF THE WIZARDS SO FAR

 

2. Jayson Tatum, Celtics

Tatum has a chance to end up being the most complete player in this draft down the road. 

The biggest thing about him is the amount of improvement we've seen since his one year at Duke. 

He's shooting nearly 50 percent overall, and 48 percent from three, which is a massive improvement from college.

Add that to the fact that he can get you 14 points a game on just nine shots, far and away the fewest attempts out of any player on this list. 

Just think, the Celtics traded DOWN to get this kid. 

 

1. Ben Simmons, Sixers

The amazing part about Simmons has been that he's made himself such a threat offensively without making a single three-pointer yet this year.

In fact, he doesn't even try. Almost 73 percent of his shot attempts are inside 10 feet. 

He's the size of a center, playing point guard, and is a triple-double threat almost every night. 

You do wonder though, how teams will use his lack of outside shooting against him as time goes on.

For now though, it's more fun to just sit back and watch him make the Sixers worth our attention again. 

 

"Guys to keep an eye on" tier: Dennis Smith Jr., De'Aaron Fox, John Collins, Frank Ntilikina, Mike James

The "where have they been?" tier: Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Markelle Fultz 

 

RELATED: MORRIS SEES SIMMONS AND EMBIID AS NEXT SHAQ AND PENNY

 

 

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John Wall and J.J. Barea continue Wizards-Mavs beef with postgame war of words

John Wall and J.J. Barea continue Wizards-Mavs beef with postgame war of words

Add the Dallas Mavericks to the list of teams the Wizards just plain do not like.

The Wizards have had beef with a host of their opponents over the past several seasons between the Celtics, Warriors, Suns, Magic and many others. Now the Mavericks can be included and one could argue they were the instigators.

On Monday night in Dallas, the Wizards and Mavs got into it several times. First, Bradley Beal and rookie Dennis Smith, Jr. got tied up at midcourt and Beal gave Smith an earful afterwards. Smith grabbed Beal's arm and the Wizards shooting guard did not like it.

Beal's displeasure was understandable, as this could have caused a shoulder injury:

RELATED: WIZARDS BLOWN OUT BY MAVERICKS

Soon after that, Mavericks center Salah Mejri was ejected and as he left the court, Kelly Oubre, Jr. waved him off. Mejri didn't like that too much:

Those incidents were all precursors to this, a dustup between John Wall and J.J. Barea. First, they had words for each other on the court and it resulted in a technical for Barea, one of five total handed out during the game:

RELATED: OTTO PORTER INJURED IN LOSS TO MAVS

After the game, they kept talking. Wall poked fun at Barea's height by saying this:

"It was cool. It was funny. It was just a little midget trying to get mad. So, I paid him no mind."

Barea then fired back with this to Dallas reporters:

"Now I have somebody in the NBA that I don't like. But I don't think his teammates like him either."

That's some decent trash-talking. But because they won in a blowout, the Mavs had the last laugh. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

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Wizards suffer another ugly loss to the Mavericks in game Otto Porter left with an injury

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Wizards suffer another ugly loss to the Mavericks in game Otto Porter left with an injury

The Washington Wizards lost to the Dallas Mavericks 98-75 on Monday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

It happened again: No one who has been following the Wizards throughout the 2017-18 season will be surprised by this. Once again, the Wizards faced a team with a far worse record, yet they not only lost, they got thorougly dominated.

And for the second time this season, it was the Mavs who pulled off the upset. Dallas beat them in Washington all the way back on Nov. 7, before we know these troubles against bad teams would define the Wizards' season to this point.

Offense was a major problem for the Wizards. They scored just 15 points in the second quarter and shot 35.6 percent in the first half. They only scored 17 in the third quarter and finished with just 75 for the game on 30.6 percent from the field. 

The Wizards also continue to have trouble in revenge games. Despite having a chance to punch back, they have now lost twice to the Mavs, Nets, Hornets and Jazz.

This one was just plain ugly and the result was the Wizards' 11th loss to a sub-.500 team. That's tied for the most in the NBA. They know it's a big problem, but they just can't seem to figure out why.

The Wizards have now lost five of their last eight games. With just over two weeks left until the trade deadline, one has to wonder what the Wizards' front office will do to shake things up. At some point they have to do something. It's not early anymore.

RELATED: OUBRE IS CHANGING WIZARDS' OUTLOOK

Porter injured: The Wizards didn't just lose, they saw one of their best players go down with an injury. Otto Porter was the player and once again it was his right hip, a recurring injury that has sidelined him periodically throughout his NBA career, including at various times this season.

Porter left for the locker room in the third quarter and never returned. The Wizards have two off-days coming up which should work in his favor, but clearly this is a concern as Porter can't shake the injury.

Wall played: Wall had another bout with migraine headaches and missed the team's shootaround. He was considered a gametime decision, but was able to give it a go. Early on, he didn't look affected by the headaches at all.

Wall came out hot by hitting his first shot and have five points and two assists in his first five minutes. By halftime, he had 11 points, four assists, two blocks but also four turnovers. But Wall didn't score in the second half and only added one assist.

PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE

Bit of chippiness: The Wizards and Mavs got into it a few times in this one, providing some entertainment in what was otherwise a dumpster fire of a game. In the third quarter we saw Bradley Beal and Dennis Smith, Jr. have words for each other:

Then we saw Salah Mejri get ejected and Kelly Oubre, Jr. wave goodbye to him:

And in the fourth Wall and Mavs point guard J.J. Barea did some jawing. The Wizards and Mavs do not appear to like each other, but Dallas continues to have the last laugh. They have swept the Wizards in seven of the last eight years.

Up next: The Wizards are off both Tuesday and Wednesday, which is not necessarily a good thing. They will have to stew on this loss for longer than usual. Their next game is Thursday night at the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on TNT, but you can catch pre- and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Washington. It all starts with Wizards HangTime at 7 p.m.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS