We're a month into the season and one rookie that hasn't been mentioned in these weekly rankings is No. 2 overall pick Scoot Henderson. While Victor Wembanyama grabbed a bulk of the attention this summer as the most tantalizing rookie to watch, there was also a significant amount of interest in seeing Henderson with a Portland Trail Blazers team that finally entered a new era after trading Damian Lillard in the offseason.
However, the dynamic guard has been limited to just five games after an ankle sprain kept him sidelined for two weeks. Henderson returned on Wednesday, sporting some goggles by the way, and in 17 minutes put up three points on 1-of-7 from the floor. He did rack up seven assists for the third time this season, but his scoring has yet to take off. Though Henderson hasn't found his shot, you can still see the flashes of what he can become: an uber-athletic guard with a crazy handle and the ability to get to the rim at will. But this first month has shown that it's going to take some time before Henderson gets there. I'm sure we'll see Henderson on these rankings in the near future now that he's returned to action, but right now, let's focus on the guys that stood out the most this week.
Keep in mind that these rankings will reflect a rookie's performance on a week-to-week basis only, not the collective season. These aren't Rookie of the Year standings, but rather a reflection on what the player has done over the past week. With that straightened out, here is a look at the top five performers from the NBA's freshman class:
It's still too early to take a definitive stance on Rookie of the Year, and yet I find myself unmoved from the position that Holmgren is out in front right now. His incredible 36-point performance on the road against the Golden State Warriors, in which he hit an absurd game-tying triple to send it to overtime, was his best performance to date, and of course, he did it with elite efficiency. Holmgren went 16-of-22 from the field, while also grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing five assists and putting up two steals and block apiece.
But let's circle back to that game-tying 3-pointer. The degree of difficulty is off the charts when you consider the context: OKC is down by 3 points with 1.6 seconds left, Holmgren's flying around a screen to get the inbound pass from Josh Giddey, and he only has time to plat his foot, turnaround and let it fly. He did all that, while still managing to get his entire body square to the basket and as time expired the shot sank through the net. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said he was in "disbelief" when he saw Holmgren make the shot. "It just seemed crazy," . "It felt like a movie in the moment. Hats off to Chet. Hell of a shot."
But that wasn't the only impressive thing Holmgren did all night. He completely owned the Warriors in the paint, and without Draymond Green -- who is currently serving a five-game suspension -- to use his strength to guard Holmgren, the 7-footer used his quickness and handle to get by Kevon Looney all night. He even made the "too small" gesture to future Hall of Famer Chris Paul when the undersized guard tried to check him.
Holmgren just keeps improving each game, and he's fit seamlessly onto an OKC team that suddenly looks like a serious threat in the Western Conference.
The Spurs may be in the midst of a 10-game losing streak, but that hasn't slowed Wembanyama's development. Against the Clippers Wednesday night he put up a super efficient 22 points on 7-of-13 from the field and 1-of-2 from deep. He also racked up 15 rebounds and three blocks and assists apiece. His comfortability is increasing every game, as is the comfortability of his teammates finding him in the tiniest of windows.
Even with all the outsized amount of attention Wembanyama garnered as he entered the league, I still don't think he's getting enough of it. The things he's able to accomplish on both ends of the floor are simply unfathomable for his size. He's still developing his 3-point shot, but he's been ridiculous from practically everywhere else inside the arc. Just look at this fadeaway jumper he pulls off over Keegan Murray:
We've just never seen this before in the league, and he's already become nearly automatic with that shot. Look here at him knocking down basically the same shot against Kawhi Leonard, but the difficulty is raised even higher as he's elevating off one leg and off-balanced, too.
Wemby's still not terribly efficient from midrange either, but when he does improve in that area he'll have no problem knocking down tough shots because he's already shown an ability to do it early.
One thing that's been impressive about the start of Miller's career is his ability to bounce back immediately from a poor shooting performance. So when he shot just 41.7% from the floor on 10 points at the start of this week, he immediately followed that up with a 10-for-15 outing for 29 points. It happened again when he shot 33% from the floor, then went 50% from the field for 15 points on Wednesday. That ability to brush off a bad game is important for a young player's development, and Miller is having no issue with that so far.
But none of that has been surprising to Hornets head coach Steve Clifford, who praised his rookie's development so far. "He does it the right way," Clifford said. "He works in practice, he's very bright, he picks things up quickly. He also has a natural feel for the game. He knows where the ball should go, he shoots when he should shoot, he passes when people are open...He has a very mature game."
Miller may be flying under the radar in this rookie class despite being the No. 2 overall pick, but what he's already shown as an offensive player and on defense proves that he's going to be a very solid two-way player for years in the NBA.
Porter has been making the most of this opportunity as an undrafted rookie who was signed to a two-way contract back in July. He got his first start Wednesday night against the Heat while the Cavaliers were without Donovan Mitchell and he went on to drop 16 points, five assists, two rebounds and two blocks. That's just two days after he had 21 points off the bench against the Nuggets on 70% shooting from the floor with no 3-point attempts. Porter does nearly all of his damage around the basket, which you don't typically see from an undersized point guard standing at just 6'1. But he's crafty with the ball, finishes strong and moves great without the ball, which leads to opportunities like this:
His effort on defense is also noteworthy. Against the Heat, he recovered nicely after the screen from Jacquez and still managed to not just block Kyle Lowry's shot, but then proceed to bring the ball up the floor and nail this short jumper:
Porter seems like a diamond in the rough for Cleveland, and given that the Cavaliers rank 22nd in the league in bench points this season, the rookie could definitely provide a much-needed spark in that second unit.
Jacquez might end up being the steal of the draft, and of course, he landed on the Heat. It feels like every year a player falls to Miami and he immediately makes an impact. Wednesday night was the perfect example of that. With Miami being without All-Star big man Bam Adebayo, the Heat were going to need other players to step up. Jacquez certainly played a role in that, racking up 22 points on an absurd 70% from the floor, including a perfect 4-for-4 from deep. The rookie also had eight rebounds off the bench, but his instant offense had the most impact. Jacquez wasn't afraid to attack the length the Cavaliers possess in the frontcourt, taking it straight at Jarrett Allen on multiple occasions, and he made the most of defenders leaving him wide open from beyond the arc every time.