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NBA Rookie Watch 12/2/2013

Week 5 of the NBA season is in the books and where Michael Carter Williams continues on the same path, his team is losing games and other rookies are starting to show signs of improvement. Plus, another rookie that missed the early part of the season is playing now and might just challenge our leader over the course of the next month. There remains lots of room for movement in our Rookie Watch List.

PHI_Carter_Williams_Michael1. Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
14 GP, 17 points, 39.3%, 5.4 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 3.1 steals, PER 18.5

It was just another typical week for Carter-Williams as he scored in double-digits each time out and recorded his fourth double-double of the season in a loss to the Pelicans. The only blemish on this rookie is his team’s 1-5 record since he returned from injury.

Orlando Magic Media Day2. Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
16 GP, 11.3 points, 42%, 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 steals, PER 12.7

After a huge home-and-home series against the HEAT last week, Oladipo carried the momentum forward averaging 17 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.7 steals and 2 blocked shots in 3 games this week. At this pace, it won’t be long before he will be seriously challenging for top spot on our watch list.

Oladipo had 5 steals in the win over the 76ers on Wednesday and 3 blocks in the loss to the Spurs Friday. Our expectations going forward have just gone way up for this rookie.

Utah Jazz Media Day3. Trey Burke, Utah Jazz
6 GP, 11.2 points, 36.6%, 3.5 rebounds, 3 assists, 0.8 steals, PER 13.1

The ninth pick in the draft, Burke played in his first NBA game a week ago Wednesday and in just his second week, he started putting up some starting point guard worthy numbers as helped the Jazz to triple their number of wins this season – the Jazz beat Chicago on Monday and Phoenix on Saturday for wins number 2 and 3.

Burke averaged 15.7 points on the week, scoring 20 points in Phoenix, a very impressive start to his NBA career.

SAC_McLemore_Ben4. Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings
15 GP, 8.8 points, 37.1%, 2.7 rebounds, 0.7 steals, PER 10.7

McLemore has continued his habit of disappearing after big games, but when he has it going, he has been pretty impressive. After 4 days off, McLemore scored 14 points against the Clippers, but 2 days later, his shot is off and Marcus Thornton quickly took over after McLemore had gone 1-5 from the field. There is lots of potential in this rookie if he can find some consistency.

BKN_Plumlee_Mason5. Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets
14 GP, 6.9 points, 68.6%, 3.5 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks PER 17.9

Plumlee has been taking advantage of his opportunities with the Nets to quietly put up some decent numbers. He may be a lone bright spot in a season marred by injuries and unexpected losses in Brooklyn.

The run-a-way leader among rookies who have attempted over 1 shot per game in field goal percentage, Plumlee had his best shooting game of the season on Friday in Houston going 7-8 from the field for 16 points to go with his 6 rebounds in 28 minutes.

It’s worth noting, Plumlee hasn’t made a shot further than 5 feet from the basket, but he knows his range and has only tried 5 shots further out.

Just missing the cut:

Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks

Nate Wolters, Milwaukee Bucks

Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics

Vitor Faverani, Boston Celtics

Steve Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons

It’s a long season that is just getting underway. If you think we have over looked or overrated a rookie, let us know in the comments below.

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.