NBA Rookie power rankings: Jaime Jaquez Jr. among the best

Over the last several games, Miami Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. has crept up the power rankings of the league's top rookies.
Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat
Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Ausar Thompson, Kelly Oubre Jr.
Philadelphia 76ers v Detroit Pistons / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages

3. Ausar Thompson, Detroit Pistons

Stats: 12.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists

Thompson is piling up numbers on the box score but, most impressive, has been his defense. Heat fans saw Thompson guard Jimmy Butler on opening night at Kaseya Center, and since then he’s only been better. His length, strength and athleticism stand out and make him the rare rookie to make a positive impact on that end of the court.

4. Dereck Lively II, Dallas Mavericks

Stats: 8.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists

Contending teams don’t usually look to the draft to fill holes in their starting lineup, but that’s what the Dallas Mavericks did when they took center Dereck Lively II with the No. 12 pick in June’s draft. Since then, Lively has started nine of his first 10 games (all but Dallas’s first game of the season) and has become the lob threat and rebounder the Mavericks have been looking to pair with Luka Doncic for years.

5. Jaime Jaquez Jr., Miami Heat

Stats: 9.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists

Injuries opened the door for Jaquez to get early playing time but, even as the Heat get healthy, coach Erik Spoelstra will have a hard time taking Jaquez off the court. Jaquez is the rare rookie who makes few mistakes. He’s a useful cog in the offense, keeping the ball moving, making baseline cuts and getting open for corner 3s. He makes the right decision more often than not and more than holds his own defensively. Over his last four games, Jaquez is averaging 14.8 points on 53.5% shooting (38.5% on 3s), 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals.