Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

Cade Cunningham makes his way up for Rookie of the Year next to Evan Mobley & Scottie Barnes, Jalen Green & Jalen Suggs miss time, and late picks find confidence in meaningful minutes.

  • Detroit’s Cade Cunningham (#1 pick) is settling into the NBA game, as his recent play has put him in the discussion for Rookie of the Year with Cleveland’s Evan Mobley (#3 pick) and Toronto’s Scottie Barnes (#4 pick). Cunningham is showing off the versatility that got him drafted 1st overall, averaging 15.8 PPG/7.1 RPG/5.7 APG/1.5 SPG in his last ten games. Mobley & Barnes have been impacting both ends in their last ten outings as well, Mobley put up 14.3 PPG/8.7 RPG/3.0 APG/2.5 BPG and Barnes tallied 13.8 PPG/7.7 RPG/3.7 APG/1.3 SPG.
  • Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey (#6 pick) and Orlando’s Franz Wagner (#8 pick) continue to look poised. Both are controlling games in different ways this season, doing it with their scoring (Giddey- 10.4 PPG, Wagner- 13.6 PPG), playmaking (Giddey- 5.8 APG, Wagner- 2.6 APG), and defense (Giddey- 1.0 SPG, Wagner- 1.1 SPG).
  • Houston’s Jalen Green (#2 pick), Orlando’s Jalen Suggs (#5 pick), and Denver’s Bones Hyland (#26 pick) were making strides for their teams before going down in late November. Green is currently out with a left hamstring injury, Suggs has a fractured right thumb, and Hyland sits out due to health & safety protocols.
  • Golden State rookies Jonathan Kuminga (#7 pick) & Moses Moody (#14 pick) are getting chances to see minutes at times, but not in big stretches. Washington’s Corey Kispert (#15 pick) is going through a similar situation, although he’s seeing more nightly minutes (11.8 MPG) than those two (Kuminga- 7.2 MPG, Moody- 5.9 MPG) and only has 2 DNP’s. As for Charlotte’s James Bouknight (#11 pick), San Antonio’s Josh Primo (#12 pick), and Atlanta’s Jalen Johnson (#20 pick), they’ve been impressive in the G-League despite dealing with limited NBA action early on.
  • Indiana’s Chris Duarte (#13 pick), Sacramento’s Davion Mitchell (#9 pick), Chicago’s Ayo Dosunmu (#38 pick), and Toronto’s Dalano Banton (#46 pick) continue to make heads up plays as guards while Houston’s Alperen Sengun (#16 pick), Oklahoma City’s Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (#32 pick), and New Orleans’ Herb Jones (#35 pick) are doing the same as versatile big men.
  • New Orleans’ Trey Murphy III (#17 pick) & Memphis’ Ziaire Williams (#10 pick) have the shot ball better since starting off cold. In their last eight games, Murphy has shot 61.1% behind the three point line and Williams is shooting 41.0% from the field.
  • Keep an eye on the progression of Oklahoma City’s Tre Mann (#18 pick) & Aaron Wiggins (#55 pick), Houston’s Josh Christopher (#24 pick), Brooklyn’s Cam Thomas (#27 pick), Memphis’ Santi Aldama (#30 pick), the LA Clippers’ Brandon Boston Jr. (#51 pick), Detroit’s Luka Garza (#52 pick), Philadelphia’s Charles Bassey (#53 pick), and Milwaukee’s Sandro Mamukelashvili (#54 pick). They’ve all shown off NBA skills in short minutes for their clubs.
  • Portland’s Greg Brown (#43 pick) isn’t seeing much playing time, but his athleticism has been must-see TV when he’s on the floor. The 20-year-old had a crazy between-the-legs dunk vs. the Denver Nuggets on November 23rd.
  • Milwaukee’s Georgios Kalaitzakis (#60 pick) and 24-year-old Justin Robinson were recently waived, making way for veteran Wesley Matthews and undrafted rookie Javonte Smart.
  • Although they weren’t selected in the 2021 draft, Minnesota’s Leandro Bolmaro (#23 pick in 2020) & Oklahoma City’s Vit Krejci (#37 pick in 2020) are playing in their first NBA seasons after deciding to stay with FC Barcelona & Zaragoza last year.