For months leading up to the 2021 NBA draft, we praised the depth and star power of the class, calling the group the strongest since the 2003 class that included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Now that we're almost a quarter of the way into the 2021-22 NBA season, how has the class lived up to expectations? Which rookies have shined brightest?
In the first version of Rookie Power Rankings, we rate the top 10 rookies based on how they've played so far. Keep in mind, this is not a re-draft or based on future potential, but rather a fluid list that spells out which rookies have been most valuable until this point.
1. Evan Mobley, center | Cleveland Cavaliers
No rookie has had more of an impact on his respective team than Mobley, who has turned the Cavaliers into a playoff contender with his defensive versatility and offensive skill set at just 20 years old. After ranking 28th in defensive rating a season ago, Cleveland currently sits sixth so far this season, being able to toggle between big and small lineups thanks to Mobley's defensive range that allows him to switch onto guards, check wings and protect the rim effectively. According to CleaningTheGlass.com, the Cavs' defense is allowing 8.9 points fewer points per 100 possessions when Mobley is in the game than when he sits. Cade Cunningham has generated more points for himself and his teammates, and Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes has been a revelation in The 6, but Mobley has done everything on both ends of the floor.