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NBA Rookie Rankings: Lillard, Davis, Waiters open strong

Mitch Ward, TSN.ca

11/8/2012 12:35:12 AM

TSN.ca NBA editor Mitch Ward is tracking the progress of the 2012-13 NBA Freshman Class and will be updating the Rookie Rankings every week.

Anthony Davis is good, real good. But we all knew that.

Heading into the season it seemed a foregone conclusion that Davis would roll to the Rookie of the Year award.

After roughly a week's worth of games it's clear it won't be a cakewalk for the first overall pick though.

Portland Trail Blazers point guard and sixth overall pick Damian Lillard has exploded out of the gates and is avergaing nearly 20 points and eight assists per night. He looks every bit the part of a star point, coolly directing traffic for the Blazers, getting his own shots and making his teammates better.

If he continues to lead all rookies in scoring and assists he is going to be right in the thick of things come awards season.

Right behind Lillard is Davis who has already shown why he was the top pick in June's draft. He is a future All-Star that might be in the running for not only Rookie of the Year but a spot on the NBA All Defensive team as well.

Davis' baptism by fire came in the form of an opening night matchup with future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan. He went shot for shot with Duncan dropping a cool 21 points with 7 boards, 1 steal and 1 block. The only hiccup so far is a mild concussion Davis suffered in the Hornets second game.

Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters also threw his hat into the ring during the NBA's first week with a 28-point performance in a win over the Clippers. The race for Rookie of the Year is on.

The top Raptor rookie so far has been 2011 fifth-overall pick Jonas Valanciunas. The rookie big man has come exactly as advertised - hard-working, active on the boards and willing to mix it up inside. He is rebounding the ball well, finding his place in the offence and will continue to improve as the season goes on.

The Top 10

1. PG Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers

2.PF Anthony Davis - New Orleans Hornets

3. SG Dion Waiters - Cleveland Cavaliers

4. SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - Charlotte Bobcats

5. C Jonas Valanciunas - Toronto Raptors

6. SF Jae Crowder - Dallas Mavericks

7. SF Harrison Barnes - Golden State Warriors

8. PF Thomas Robinson - Sacramento Kings

9. SG Kyle Singler - Detroit Pistons

10. SG Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards