Week 5 NBA Rookie Report: Can anyone knock Damian Lillard from the top spot?After a weeks hiatus, the NBA Rookie Report is back. The lead rookie is still in place, but he now has a new supporting cast. Which new faces will we see this week?
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail BlazersIt was a tough week for Portland but Damian Lillard continued to put up the consistent numbers that have placed him as the clear favorite for Rookie of the Year. Lillard and the Blazers began week 5 with a tough match up as they dropped a 98 - 85 decision in Brooklyn to Deron Williams and the Nets. Lillard put up solid numbers in the loss. He had 13 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in the loss. Next up was a 108 - 101 loss to the Pistons in Detroit. Lillard struggled from the field shooting 4 of 18 from the field, 1 of 5 from three. He would finish with 12 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds while turning the ball over three times. The following game was at Boston, where the Blazers lost to the Celtics 96 - 78. The Celtics did a solid job containing Lillard holding him to 8 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds while forcing him into 3 turnovers. Lillard and the Blazers bounced back after dropping 4 straight, pulling out a 118 - 117 double overtime win over the Cavaliers. In the win, Lillard stuffed the stat sheet. He finished with 24 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds while shooting 9 of 17 from the field, 4 of 7 from beyond the arc. Portland has handed the keys to the team to Damian Lillard and he has them up and running well. He has found a home in the top spot of the Rookie Report and it doesn't seem like he will be moving from it anytime soon.
Kyle Singler, Detroit PistonsIt is no fluke that Kyle Singler's increase in playing time has coincided with an increase in Detroit's win column. In the Pistons opening game of week 5, a 121 - 100 loss to the New York Knicks, Singler chipped in 16 points and 3 rebounds. He shot 5 of 7 from the field while hitting 2 of 4 shots from three. Next, Singler and the Pistons took down the Portland Trail Blazers 108 - 101. Singler had a double-double going for 16 points and 10 rebounds. He also had 5 assists and 2 steals while once again shooting well from the field. He hit 6 of 7 shots from the field including a perfect 3 for 3 from deep. The Pistons won consecutive games, following up the win over the Blazers with a 117 - 77 blowout of the Phoenix Suns. Singler contributed 12 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in the 40 point win. Detroit then traveled to Memphis where they dropped a 90 - 78 decision to the Grizzlies. Kyle struggled a bit in this one, shooting 3 of 7 from the field; 1 of 3 from three. He would finish with 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. After Memphis, the Pistons traveled to Dallas to take on the Mavericks. Dallas would win the game 92 - 77. Singler finished with 12 point and 4 rebounds. He shot 50% from the field and 33% from three. The Pistons are in full on rebuilding mode so they are giving more time to their young players, including Kyle Singler. He has shown to have a solid overall game and a nice stroke from deep. Singler, along with Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight and fellow rookie Andre Drummond, show that the future is bright in Detroit.
Alexey Shved, Minnesota TimberwolvesShved has been on the fringes of the Rookie Report throughout the season and is now making his debut after a strong week 5. Alexey had a quiet game in the opener of week 5, a 97 - 89 Timberwolves win at Sacramento. Shved had 8 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound and 2 steals while shooting 3 of 8 inside the arc, 2 of 5 from beyond it. Minnesota then traveled to Los Angeles where they lost 101 - 95 to the Clippers. In the loss, Shved had 17 points and 2 rebounds. He hit 3 of 6 from three point land and 5 of 12 shots overall. The Timberwolves got back to Minnesota and got back on the winning track, topping the Milwaukee Bucks 95 - 85. Shved had a full box score in this one with 16 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.He was again hot from deep, hitting 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. As everyone knows, Minnesota has been rocked by injuries this season which has caused them to play Shved big minutes. The rookie has responded exceptionally well and will be a significant part of the rotation even when the Timberwolves are fully healthy. Other rookies making positive contributions to their teams include Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Bobcats), Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto Raptors), Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Jeffrey Taylor (Charlotte Bobcats).
Can any other rookie challenge Damian Lillard for the Rookie of the Year award? Photo Credit: Howard Smith/USA Today Sports