Get SI's Duke Championship Package Free  Subscribe to SI Give the Gift of SI
Posted: Tuesday February 3, 2009 6:19PM; Updated: Tuesday February 3, 2009 6:50PM
Bryan Armen Graham Bryan Armen Graham >

Rose lifts Bulls; Lopez impresses

Story Highlights

Derrick Rose's Bulls have played much better in the last week -- on the road, too

Brook Lopez moved back to the No. 4 spot after a huge all-around game

Foul-prone Trail Blazers center Greg Oden tumbled three spots, to No. 9

Nine first-year players were chosen for next week's Rookie Challenge during All-Star weekend, the annual exhibition between the league's top freshmen and their sophomore counterparts.

Aside from Kevin Love's mystifying omission (more on that below), kudos to the NBA's assistant coaches for getting it right. In fact, the only selection not appearing in this week's top 10 is Portland's Rudy Fernandez, who's made the cut in every other week and probably won't be gone for long.

(All stats and records are through Monday.)

NBA Rookie Rankings
1Derrick Rose
Last Week: 1
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Rose helped the Bulls win on the road at the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento and Phoenix for their first three-game winning streak since April 2007. The point guard finished with 26 points (on 12-of-19 shooting), six rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in Saturday's victory against the Suns -- despite missing the last seven minutes with a minor foot injury after asking out of a game for the first time in his career.
2O.J. Mayo
Last Week: 2
O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies
Mayo bounced back from a string of tepid performances with a 33-point outburst in the nation's capital on Groundhog Day, matching his career high while helping the Grizzlies snap a 12-game skid. Memphis' streak spanned nearly a month and covered three head coaches: Marc Iavaroni, who was fired Jan. 22; Johnny Davis, who coached two games on an interim basis; and current coach Lionel Hollins. "We got the monkey off our back, definitely," Mayo said after Monday's game. "Twelve-game losing streak, I've never experienced anything like that before in my life."
3Russell Westbrook
Last Week: 4
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thinder
Westbrook averaged 16.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals in January while adjusting to full-time point guard duties. (The Thunder went 7-7 last month after a 4-29 start). He's already off to a hot start in February: Westbrook finished with a personal-best 34 points along with eight assists and six rebounds in an overtime loss to Sacramento on Super Bowl Sunday.
4Brook Lopez
Last Week: 5
Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets
Lopez, who was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month on Monday, enjoyed perhaps the game of his young career Saturday in Philadelphia. He had 24 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks -- not to mention the game-deciding dunk with 16.8 seconds left -- as the shorthanded Nets dug back from a 12-point deficit for a dramatic 85-83 victory. "His development and how fast he's caught on ... it's been amazing," teammate Vince Carter told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I'm proud of him. He's been playing great basketball, he's been learning, he's been sucking in all the information he's been given from so many people. That's sometimes tough for a rookie, but he's done well."
5Kevin Love
Last Week: 4
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
The power forward averaged 12.6 points (on 54.3 percent shooting) and 10.0 rebounds in January as the Timberwolves went 10-4, salvaging some of their dignity in the wake of an abysmal start. His reward? A Rookie Challenge snub, which Minnesota coach Kevin McHale called "utterly ridiculous." Love ranks fourth in the league in rebounds per 48 minutes, trailing Marcus Camby, Dwight Howard and Andris Biedrins.
6Marc Gasol
Last Week: 7
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Gasol, a 2007 second-round pick of the Lakers who played five seasons overseas before coming to the NBA, turned 24 last Thursday. He celebrated with two subsequent standout efforts. The highlight came Monday in Washington, where the Spaniard collected 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals in Memphis' streak-snapping victory.
7Eric Gordon
Last Week: 8
Eric Gordon, L.A. Clippers
Gordon was honored as Western Conference Rookie of the Month after averaging 21.9 points and 4.1 assists in 41.1 minutes, the most prolific workload for a first-year player in January. He's scored in double figures in 21 straight games, including his 41-point eruption in a win over the Thunder on Jan. 23. "The sky is the limit for the Hobbit, man," Clippers forward Al Thornton told the Los Angeles Times, referring to the Tolkienian nickname conferred on Gordon by his teammates. "He can do so much."
8Mario Chalmers
Last Week: NR
Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat
Miami is looking like a postseason lock while making a push for home-court advantage in the first round. Chalmers' emergence is a major reason for the Heat's success. The point guard ranks first in steals, third in assists and fifth in minutes among first-year players. His defensive ability is well-known, but his offense has proved to be a pleasant surprise. Chalmers has scored in double figures 22 times, including five of his last six outings.
9Greg Oden
Last Week: 6
Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers
Over a nine-day span near the end of January, Oden scored in double figures while playing 25 or more minutes in five consecutive games. But that solid run ended because the foul-prone big man couldn't stay on the floor. He had five points and five fouls in 11 minutes Saturday against Utah, and six points and four fouls in 17 minutes Monday in New Orleans.
10Michael Beasley
Last Week: 9
Michael Beasley, Miami Heat
Beasley is averaging 15.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in only 24.5 minutes in the last four games. The 6-10 reserve forward made the Rookie Challenge roster, but fellow Heat first-year player Chalmers and second-year guard Daequan Cook won't be joining Beasley in Phoenix. "I thought they were both a lock, a shoo-in," Beasley told reporters.
Honorable Mention
Rudy Fernandez, Trail Blazers (11.0 points, 3.0 assists, 7-of-16 from three-point range in three games); Jason Thompson, Kings (15.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg in four games).
Dropped Out

Hot Topics: Sammy Watkins NFL Draft Rick Adelman NFL Questions Aaron Hernandez Donald Trump
TM & © 2013 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint