NBA rookie rankings: Top 10 players of the 2020-21 class

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Looking for pleasant surprises in the 2020-21 NBA season? You'll find plenty in the latest rookie class.While No. 3 pick LaMelo Ball and No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards are the frontrunners to win 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year, some of the best rookies outside that duo weren't even lottery picks. Take point guard Immanuel Quickley -- who's played a big role in the New York Knicks' resurgence -- or Saddiq Bey -- who's emerged as a consistent double-digit scorer in Detroit -- as two examples.With the regular season coming to a close, it's time to rank the top 10 rookies of the 2020 class -- and see if Boston Celtics first-years Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith make the cut.

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2020-21 stats: 15.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 6.2 apg, 44.2% FG, 35.5% 3PT (48 games)

Ball is on pace to become just the fifth rookie in NBA history to average at least 14/6/6 as a rookie, joining Oscar Robertson, LeBron James, Ben Simmons and Michael Carter-Williams.

We knew the youngest Ball brother was a dazzling passer, but we didn't expect him to be this well-rounded (and this good of a shooter) out of the gate. He missed time due to a wrist injury but should clear the 50-game mark and fully deserves Rookie of the Year.

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2020-21 stats: 19.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.8 apg, 41.4% FG, 32.7% 3PT

After scuffling early in the season, Edwards is averaging nearly 25 points per game as the Timberwolves' go-to scorer outside Karl-Anthony Towns.

Are some of those points empty calories? Sure. But Edwards is impressively polished for a 19-year-old and should be a bucket-getter for years to come.

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2020-21 stats: 13.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.3 apg, 47.2% FG, 40.9% 3PT

Haliburton plans to use the 11 teams that passed on him in the draft as motivation throughout his career. Can't say we blame him. The 21-year-old looked NBA-ready from the jump this season, flirting with the "50-40-90" club while playing 30 minutes a night before a knee injury ended his campaign early.

If we did a 2020 NBA re-draft, Haliburton easily would be a top-five pick.

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2020-21 stats: 12.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 40.9% FG, 38.9% 3PT

The No. 19 overall pick just keeps getting better. He's averaging 17.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in May and leads all rookies with 169 3-pointers. (He's also ahead of All-Stars Paul George and Jaylen Brown in that department.) The Pistons have managed to be disastrously bad while also appearing to have a bright future in Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Killian Hayes.

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2020-21 stats: 11.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 39.9% FG, 39.7% 3PT

The Knicks landed one of the steals of the draft in Quickley at No. 25. The Kentucky product and his silky-smooth floater gave New York the backcourt spark it needed and a played a key role in the team's early success. He's cooled off a bit lately due to injury, but his spot in the top 10 is secure.

 

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2020-21 stats: 11.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 50.3% FG, 29.8% 3PT

One of the best stories in this rookie class, the 25-year-old Tate went undrafted in 2018 and played two years overseas before latching on with Houston in November. All he's done since then is start in 56 of a possible 68 games while averaging double digits and defending multiple positions. He may not have gotten the opportunity on a better team, but he's certainly making the most of it.

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2020-21 stats: 9.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, 42.4% FG, 29.4% 3PT

Okoro has had his ups and downs offensively, but he's one of the best defenders in this draft class and has started all of his 65 games played for Cleveland this season. The Auburn product also has hit his scoring stride -- 15.4 points per game over his last nine -- to solidify his standing in the top 10.

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2020-21 stats: 9.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 47.3% FG, 44% 3PT 

The Grizzlies took the Celtics' No. 30 pick and flipped it into one of this season's most solid contributors. Bane has averaged at least eight points per game in every month thanks to a lethal 44% clip from 3-point range that leads all eligible rookies. He's looking like one of the better picks in the draft.

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2020-21 stats: 7.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 0.9 apg, 55.3% FG, 33.3% 3PT

The Pistons landed a quality big man in Stewart, who leads all rookies (and ranks 11th in the NBA) with 86 blocks in 68 games. He's notched eight double-doubles to date and should earn a center spot on the All-Rookie First or Second team.

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2020-21 stats: 12.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.1 apg, 39.5% FG, 32.9% 3PT (44 games)

Anthony missed extended time this season due to a rib injury, but we couldn't leave him off this list. The 20-year-old has been an electric scorer and playmaker for Orlando when healthy, and while his shot needs some work, he's hit some clutch buckets for the Magic late in games.

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Sorry, Celtics fans. Aaron Nesmith's late surge isn't enough to get him on this list. But his Boston counterpart Payton Pritchard deserves mention as a steady presence on Brad Stevens' second unit whose 41.6% 3-point rate trails only Bane among rookies.

Theo Maledon (10.1 points per game) looks like a second-round steal for the Oklahoma City Thunder, while No. 4 pick Patrick Williams hasn't lived up to expectations but still is a top-15 rookie in this class.

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