- All records and stats through Game 13 of Top-16.
1. Blake Schilb - Elan Chalon-sur-Saone (France)
15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4 assists in 33 minutes.
Former Loyola star Blake Schilb had a dream Euroleague debut season, averaging MVP-award-worth 15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4 assists per game. The 29-year-old forward had a major role in Elan Chalon-sur-Saone, where he averaged 32 minutes per game (3rd most in the league) and brought his team to the doorstep of Top 16. Moreover, he also leads the Euroleague in ORAT rating (the difference between his team's scored and allowed points per 100 possessions) - Elan Chalon-sur-Saone scored 24.2 points more while Schilb was on the court.
Schilb successfully used his versatility and made himself best known in regular season's game 9, when he finished the game against Montepaschi with 28 points, seven boards and five assists. Schilb's career game secured him an MVP of the week award and helped him to climb to the top of Euroleague rookie rankings.
2. Paul Davis - Khimki Moscow region (Russia)
13.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in 20 minutes.
Paul Davis is not only one of the best rookies in the Euroleague this season, but undoubtedly he should also be considered as one of the most productive players in the league as well. Formerly of the Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards, Davis, together with Panathinaikos' Sofoklis Schortsanitis, ranks 1st in terms of scoring in 50 possessions (19 points).
Davis, a very crafty big man, usually comes of Khimki's bench and becomes a difference maker when Moscow region team needs it most. Davis excelled in Top 16 stage as he finished in double digits in all 13 games so far and lately has been producing an MVP worth numbers.
3. Ricky Hickman - Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
13.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3 assists in 28 minutes.
Hungary, Romania, Germany, Finland, Italy - journeyman Ricky Hickman played for many different level teams in various countries prior getting a chance to finally taste Euroleague basketball. But his patience definitely paid off as Hickman quickly became one of the key players for Maccabi, even though he didn't have any previous experience playing neither in Eurocup nor Euroleage.
Hickman, averaging 13.9 points per game, has been one of the biggest offensive threats in the league, as he also ranks 3rd in received fouls per game (5.3). At the same time, the fact he's playing meaningful minutes on a Top 8 contender gives him an edge over other rookies.
4. Shelden Williams - Elan Chalon-sur-Saone (France)
11.3 points and 7.6 rebounds in 23 minutes.
Before Shelden Williams made his debut in Europe, there was a question will he become another Euroleague bust coming from the benches of the NBA? However, it didn't take long for former Duke standout to silence those who questioned his abilities, as Williams immediately became a very productive Euroleague player.
Williams quickly established himself as an elite rebounder, ranking 3rd in rebounds (7.6) and 2nd in offensive rebounds (3.1). No surprise, Williams' performance didn't remain unnoticed and Fenerbahce Ulker made an effort to bring 6-foot-9 center for the Top 16 stage, but Williams remained in France for the rest of the season.
5. Marcus Williams - Unicaja Malaga (Spain)
10.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 22 minutes.
Marcus Williams is another veteran American player who has succeeded by using his six-year professional experience in either the NBA, Russia or China. The 27-year-old playmaker instantly contributed, helping Unicaja to have a great 7-1 start in Euroleague, while Williams played big minutes replacing starting point guard Earl Calloway during that stretch.
However, Williams established himself as one of the best lefty point guards in the league, who is not afraid to shoot from beyond the arc. Williams is ranked 3rd in made three-pointers (48) and hit three or more long distance shots in nine Euroleague games this season. Despite that, Williams has been too inconsistent on his debut season to prove he can be a starter on a winning team, as he failed to produce big numbers on a nightly basis.
6. Drew Gordon - Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
9.1 points and 7.5 rebounds in 29 minutes.
Partizan Belgrade is known as a great place not only for young European talents, but also for college graduates who want to kick-start their career in the Top European league. Oliver Lafayette, Curtis Jerrells and others made their name known with Partizan, and 22-year-old Drew Gordon is next on the list.
The former UCLA and New Mexico star, Gordon had a smooth transition to the European basketball style and successfully used his main weapons, rebounding and defensive skills. Due to his athleticism, Gordon ranked 4th in rebounds per game (7.5), 10th in blocks (1.1) and was one of the most influential players on the defensive end of the floor in the league. Despite that, his limited offensive game and poor results of Partizan kept him away from being ranked higher than 6th place in the Euroleague rookie ladder.
7. Leo Westermann - Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
9.6 points (43% 3FG), 2.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 29 minutes.
Gordon's teammate, Leo Westermann, is the youngest and the first non-American player in the Euroleague rookie ranking. Despite a rough Euroleague start, the 20-year-old guard quickly earned the trust of Partizan head coach Dusko Vujosevic and had a very rare a chance to learn by playing and making mistakes against the best.
As usual for young prospects, Westermann led the league in received personal fouls per game (3.7) and ranked 7th in turnovers (2.7). His first season in the elite competition didn’t answer any questions, as Westermann remains a future player of Partizan with two years left on his deal.
8. Dashaun Wood - Alba Berlin (Germany)
9.8 points (43% 3FG) and 2.5 assists in 24 minutes.
Dashaun Wood is clearly worthy of inclusion on this list as one of the Euroleague's Top 10 rookies this season, but things definitely could have gone better for the 27-year-old guard. After leading the Eurocup in assists (5.4) and averaging 14.2 points per game in the second top European competition, Wood expected to be a dominating offensive player in the Euroleague too.
In fact, after the departure of head coach Gordon Herbert, Wood had to face a decreased playing time, impacting his game, and his statistical numbers dropped to 9.8 points and 2.5 assists per game. On a better note, Wood proved to be an elite shooter, making 43% of his long distance shots, and he’s worth getting a new offer from a Euroleague team as his contract with Alba ends this season.
9. Nemanja Nedovic - Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania)
9.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 23 minutes.
In his Euroleague debut season, Nemanja Nedovic reminded a yo-yo guy with many ups and downs. The 22-year-old guard had a slow start but after Darius Maskoliunas replaced Alexander Djikic as a new head coach of Lietuvos Rytas, Nedovic’s adjustment was accelerated by received more playing time.
In front of NBA scouts, Nedovic had a 1-for-9 shooting from the field performance against CSKA, 6-for-15 against FC Barcelona Regal and 3-for-15 versus Brose Baskets. Clearly, Nedovic remains a rough, athletically gifted talent, who, as most of young players, lacks consistency. Moreover, Nedovic proved to be more of a ‘work in progress’, rather than a player who could make a difference right away.
10. Kelvin Rivers - Khimki Moscow region (Russia)
9.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 26 minutes.
Kelvin Rivers, 26, spent three seasons in Eurocup prior joining Euroleague, but still struggled to adapt to the second best league in the world. Rivers, who once made eight three-pointers in a single NCAA game, has struggled from beyond the arc in the first half of the season, making only 23% of his long distance shots. However, the percentage rose by 27% in the Top 16 as Rivers made 24-of-48 three-pointers he took.
Khimki became dependent on Rivers scoring as Moscow region's team is 6-1 this season when Rivers scored 14 points or more. Still, Rivers game remains very unpredictable as for example, in the middle of Top 16, former Clemson star scored 16 points against Caja Laboral and went scoreless versus Olympiakos in the next week's game. Then Rivers put 14 points against Besiktas; again was held scoreless versus FC Barcelona Regal, and scored 19 against Montepaschi. 16-0-14-0-19 points performance best illustrates Rivers' roller-coaster ride in the Euroleague debut season.
Honorable Mentions: Lukasz Koszarek, Rasid Mahalbasic, Asseco Prokom; Miro Bilan, Cedevita.