NBA Rookie Power Rankings: New name cracks top five heading into final week

Apr 7, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA;  San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) blocks out
Apr 7, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) blocks out / Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
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On Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Houston Rockets for a chance to win two games in a row after defeating the Golden State Warriors 108-106 without superstar Luka Doncic. After being down by 22 points early in the game, Dallas would claw back and win in an overtime thriller.

With this game needing extra time to decide who the victor would be, this would mark the first time this season that the Mavericks would play in an overtime game. Kyrie Irving and Doncic combined for 85 points, and Irving would officially score his Mavericks career-high with 48 points.

Over this Mavericks' recent 16-game stretch, Irving has become a vocal leader for Dallas. Irving constantly rallies the team together in high moments and lets guys know the situation at hand, even in big-time moments.

NBA Rookie Power Rankings: New name cracks top five heading into final week

Irving would dazzle in the fourth quarter and overtime and would score 25 of his 48 points after the third quarter. A combination of pull-up threes and contested shots at the rim would lead the way for a barn burner out of Irving.

Despite scoring 48 points, the biggest performance of the night may have come from Dante Exum, after he hit a clutch buzzer-beating three to send this game into overtime.

With the Mavericks' most recent win over the Rockets, they are officially two games ahead of the Phoenix Suns for fifth place in the Western Conference. If Dallas can keep up this level of play for the remaining four games on the schedule, they could find themselves playing the LA Clippers for a third time in the postseason.

Unfortunately for Mavs fans, they could be without rookie Dereck Lively II for the remainder of the regular season. How will his latest injury affect his rookie ranking, let's take a look.

10. GG Jackson II

Last week's rank: N/A

GG Jackson II has stepped up hugely for the Grizzlies all season long. It may not correlate to wins, but his play has elevated him into a potential star player in the future.

9. Trayce Jackson-Davis

Last week's rank: 9

Trayce Jackson-Davis and the Golden State Warriors have found recent success after struggling the following week. Can the Warriors clinch a playoff spot?

8. Keyonte George

Last week's rank: 8

The Utah Jazz have yet to crack their lengthy losing streak. Keyonte George has played great all season long, but Utah has felt the limitations of having a rookie guard starting over these past 12 games.

7. Dereck Lively II

Last week's rank: 4

It took the Mavericks a while to figure out how to play without their rookie phenom, but over the last week, the Mavericks have found ways to grind out wins without Dereck Lively II. With Lively II likely out for the remainder of the regular season, it will be critical for Dallas' success that they find ways to win without him.

6. Brandin Podziemski

Last week's rank: 7

One of the few rookies to make a jump in one of the final weeks of the regular season, but Brandin Podziemski deserves his flowers after an amazing rookie season. If the Warriors end up making the playoffs, Podziemski will be a huge part of their success.