On Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks faced off against the Minnesota Timberwolves for the second time this season.
In a game that saw the Mavs playing on the second night of a back-to-back and shorthanded, the Mavericks would lose 118-110. Despite being shorthanded with Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic out with their respective injuries, the Mavs fought hard and stayed within a puncher's reach of the top-seeded Wolves.
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the scoring charge off the bench with 32 points. It seemed like getting booted from the starting lineup earlier that day was the motivation Hardaway Jr. needed. All night, the Wolves had no answer for Hardaway Jr. He was constantly creating havoc with his dribble pull-up abilities.
NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Ausar Thompson plummets, new name joins top five
In one of his first starts of the season, Jaden Hardy surprised many fans with his play. He was constantly looking to be the facilitator and game manager while the Mavs star guards were out. He scored an impactful 17 points and even attributed a block and steal. He showed true poise by taking smart shots and getting himself open looks.
High flyer Derrick Jones Jr. even had himself a night after giving high praise to Luka Doncic. Jones Jr.'s rebounding ability was on display constantly, as he created many second-chance opportunities. He even cashed in 15 points and made it hard for anyone to get around him on defense as he finished with three steals.
Despite the high praise after a loss, rookie Dereck Lively II was largely a non-factor for most of the night. T-Wolves center Rudy Gobert made it hard for him and other players to get a footing in this game. Lively II would go on to finish the night with a measly two points and five fouls in the process.
Could Lively II's performance affect his rookie ranking? Let's take a look at this week's NBA Rookie Power Rankings.
10. Scoot Henderson
Last week's rank: N/A
Scoot rejoins the top ten after multiple weeks of missing out. Scoot has revitalized his rookie campaign and has shown flashes of the first-round selection fans thought he would be.
9. Keyonte George
Last week's rank: 7
Yet again, injuries play a factor in this week's rankings. George is back from injury but has failed to have the impact he did before his absence.
8. Bilal Coulibaly
Last week's rank: 9
Bilal has once again entered his name as one of the elite role players in this league. The Wizards record may not reflect it, but Bilal has quietly had an elite rookie campaign.
7. Ausar Thompson
Last week's rank: 5
Our biggest falloff in this week's rankings. In spite of the Pistons losing 28 straight games, Thompson's role has become questionable at times. The young forward will need to play the way he did for the first ten games if he wishes to rejoin the top five again.
6. Brandin Podziemski
Last week's rank: 8
Our biggest riser in this week's list becomes Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski. He has constantly proven to fans why he needs more playing time and has become a solidified starter for Golden State. He is playing at an elite level and putting the league on notice.