Welcome to another ranking for the NBA’s sophomore class. Just as we did last week, the newest rankings for the sophomore class will only count games up until the All-Star break. The next batch of rookie and sophomore rankings will both begin from the first games post All-Star break. We do this to accurately depict how the players performed since the last ranking within a relatively even number of games played. There’s some movement within the top 5 and a new name makes the list after a phenomenal series of games prior to the break, so, keep an eye on that when you are reading. Let’s get into it.
10. Bones Hyland – G – Los Angeles Clippers
Season Stats: 11.8 PTS, 2.1 REB, 2.9 AST, 39.8 FG%, 38.0 3P%
Averages Since Last Ranking: 3 G, 5.7 PTS, 2.3 REB, 1.3 AST, 33.3 FG%, 40.0 3P%
Last Ranking: No. 9
Bones Hyland comes in at the 10 spot in the updated rankings, dropping a spot from his previous place at nine. Hyland is the only sophomore on this list that had a change of scenery since the last ranking as he was shipped off from Denver to the Los Angeles Clippers at the trade deadline. In the period we selected, Hyland only managed to appear in three games and didn’t perform too well in them, which is why we dropped him a spot. However, his season averages of 11.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and a 39.8 field goal percentage were enough to keep him on the list, though he can’t afford another poor performance in his recent statistics come next ranking.
9. Quentin Grimes – G – New York Knicks
Season Stats: 9.9 PTS, 3.3 REB, 1.9 AST, 44.4 FG%, 35.1 3P%
Averages Since Last Ranking: 9 G, 9.4 PTS, 3.3 REB, 1.4 AST, 45.7 FG%, 29.3 3P%
Last Ranking: No. 8
New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes checks in at the nine spot on this list, also falling from his previous ranking. There were a few players who performed better than Grimes since the last ranking, however, the second-year guard did well enough overall to stay put. Grimes had four straight games where he scored in double figures, including a 17-point outing against the Miami Heat where he shot 3-for-5 from 3-point range and grabbed four rebounds while dishing out three assists. The former 25th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft is averaging just under 10 points per game on the season and is shooting 44.4% from the field. He’s safe for now, but other players performing better could knock him lower or even entirely off the list.
8. Cam Thomas – G – Brooklyn Nets
Season Stats: 11.3 PTS, 1.7 REB, 1.6 AST, 45.4 FG%, 41.2 3P%
Averages Since Last Ranking: 9 G, 26.0 PTS, 3.2 REB, 2.7 AST, 49.7 FG%, 46.0 3P%
Last Ranking: N/A
Cam Thomas made it onto our Hot & Cold rookie article after an explosive series of games where he dropped 40-plus in three straight games. Those types of performances will get you onto this list. And that’s exactly what happened to Thomas. Yes, his 26.0 points, 49.7 field goal percentage and 46.0 3-pointer percentage since our last ranking are significantly inflated due to the 40-point outings, so his spot at eight considers his season statistics. 11.3 points and a 40/40 shooting percentage are solid for the Nets guard. He’s scored 14 or more points in eight of his last nine games, so, Thomas may become a regular on this list and hunt down a higher ranking next time around.
7. Trey Murphy III – F – New Orleans Pelicans
Season Stats: 12.7 PTS, 3.6 REB, 1.3 AST, 47.5 FG%, 38.9 3P%
Averages Since Last Ranking: 8 G, 15.1 PTS, 3.5 REB, 1.0 AST, 49.4 FG%, 39.2 3P%
Last Ranking: No. 7
Trey Murphy III has been a consistent shooter pretty much the entire season. In this batch of games, Murphy III shot 49.4% from the field and just under 40% from beyond the arc. On the year, he nearly mirrors those stats with a 47.5 field goal percentage and 38.9 3-point percentage. Mr. Consistent. The Durham, North Carolina, native is up to 12.7 points this season and raised the average to 15.1 points over his last eight games. This included a 30-point night where Murphy III shot 6-for-8 on 3-pointers and 9-for-11 from the field. Six of his last eight were double-digit scoring nights. The New Orleans forward is legit.
6. Scottie Barnes – F – Toronto Raptors
Season Stats: 15.5 PTS, 7.0 REB, 4.8 AST, 45.3 FG%, 30.1 3P%
Averages Since Last Ranking: 8 G, 15.3 PTS, 7.5 REB, 4.4 AST, 40.7 FG%, 30.6 3P%
Last Ranking: No. 5
Scottie Barnes fell one spot since our last ranking. In most cases, the higher on the list we go, if a player drops, it’s not because they performed subpar, it’s just that another player outdid them. That’s the case here. The former Rookie of the Year had a terrific eight-game stretch averaging 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 40.7% from the field. In all eight games Barnes played, he recorded double figures in points including an 18-point, 14-rebound night against the Utah Jazz. Barnes has fluctuated throughout this list but obviously has the potential to move up higher, so, don’t be surprised if another surge lands him back into the top 5.
5. Franz Wagner – F – Orlando Magic
Season Stats: 18.8 PTS, 4.0 REB, 3.5 AST, 48.5 FG%, 36.9 3P%
Averages Since Last Ranking: 9 G, 13.3 PTS, 3.7 REB, 3.7 AST, 43.0 FG%, 34.2 3P%
Last Ranking: No. 4
Franz Wagner, like Barnes and a few others, dropped down a spot in this ranking. Across his last nine games, the Magic forward accumulated 13.3 points per game, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He shot 43.0% from the field too. Wagner is at 18.8 points this season and clocked in two 18-point scoring nights since the last ranking. We’re not trying to slight Wagner by dropping him, he’s still the second-best scorer in the class as of right now, it’s just that the player above is on the rise and had a fantastic stretch since the last ranking. Like Barnes, Wagner could easily move back to where he previously was.
4. Evan Mobley – F – Cleveland Cavaliers
Season Stats: 16.0 PTS, 8.8 REB, 2.7 AST, 55.2 FG%
Averages Since Last Ranking: 9 G, 18.7 PTS, 9.0 REB, 2.8 AST, 53.4 FG%
Last Ranking: No. 4
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley has been on a tear since the last sophomore ranking. Over nine games, Mobley averaged 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and shot 53.4% from the field. The Cavaliers also ripped off a seven-game winning streak during the stretch. In all nine of Mobley’s games, he scored in double-figures and three double-doubles. In the Cavaliers’ win over New Orleans on Feb. 10, Mobley went off for 28 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. He also had a night of 17 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and two blocks against Memphis. The former third-overall pick is up to 16.0 points per game this season and is just under nine rebounds. He’s beginning to turn a corner here and helping lead Cleveland to a playoff berth.
3. Alperen Sengun – C – Houston Rockets
Season Stats: 15.0 PTS, 8.8 REB, 3.8 AST, 55.4 FG%
Averages Since Last Ranking: 8 G, 13.3 PTS, 7.8 REB, 4.1 AST, 48.1 FG%
Last Ranking: No. 2
We know what Alperen Sengun is capable of. We’ve seen him dominate over a 13-game stretch averaging 18.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists. Although that might not be the case this time, the Rockets center still put up solid stats over his last eight starts. Houston’s big man grabbed 7.8 rebounds while scoring 13.3 points a game since the last ranking. While Mobley beats him in points by a single basket, Sengun is averaging the same number of rebounds and more assists on the season. The Rockets lost all but one game since Feb. 1, but Sengun has been fine. He had a near triple-double against Sacramento on Feb. 8 where he scored 18 points, hauled in nine rebounds and contributed 11 assists. Keep an eye out for Sengun and Mobley’s position next ranking.
2. Josh Giddey – G/F – Oklahoma City Thunder
Season Stats: 16.2 PTS, 7.7 REB, 5.8 AST, 48.4 FG%
Averages Since Last Ranking: 8 G, 17.8 PTS, 6.5 REB, 6.9 AST, 51.2 FG%
Last Ranking: No. 3
Josh Giddey is a wonder from down under. You know that. If you somehow didn’t and still wound up on this article, let’s talk about how well Giddey performed over his last eight games, albeit with a small sample size. Eight double-digit scoring nights. Seven games with five or more rebounds. And the same goes for assists. Giddey’s best game this stretch came against Houston where he had 17 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. Since the last ranking, Giddey averaged the fourth most points, fifth most rebounds as a guard/forward and most assists by 2.5. That’s who Josh Giddey is, a 20-year-old stat sheet stuffer.
1. Jalen Green – G – Houston Rockets
Season Stats: 21.8 PTS, 4.0 REB, 3.6 AST, 40.9 FG%, 33.3 3P%
Averages Since Last Ranking: 6 G, 22.3 PTS, 2.8 REB, 3.2 AST, 39.3 FG%, 34.7 3P%
Last Ranking: No. 1
Jalen Green is the No. 1 sophomore player again in this ranking. I’m sure a lot of you already guessed that before you read it, though he’s had some considerable competition this time. Aside from Cam Thomas’ 26.0 points this ranking, Green has consistently been one of the only 20-point scorers in season averages and averages since the last ranking. That’s how well-equipped he is as a scorer at only 21 years old. The former second-overall pick only appeared in six games since our Jan. 30 threshold, but he made the most of his limited time. This included a 41-point offensive outburst against the Sacramento Kings. Green shot 14-for-22 in the contest and 6-for-9 from 3-point land. He had two 40-plus point games last ranking, so, those are becoming more common for the Rockets guard. Green also had a 27-point and 29-point night in this stretch. He knows how to score and does it on a season field goal percentage of 40.9. If he keeps it up, no one will top him.