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ESPN: Expect Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to be top sophomore

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Kevin Pelton and Chad Ford took a look at the NBA's sophomore class and think Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could rank as high as fourth behind the three top finishers in last year's Rookie of the Year balloting.

The two agree on the top three -- Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis and Nikola Jokic -- but after that, there's a divergence with Pelton ranking RHJ at No. 4.

After the three top finishers for Rookie of the Year, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson might have been the next-best rookie last season because of his defensive value. When he was on the court, Hollis-Jefferson ranked fourth among rookies who averaged at least 15 minutes per game in ESPN's real plus-minus behind the three players ahead of him on this list.

Hollis-Jefferson missed 50 games because of a fractured ankle, but is fully recovered now and should benefit offensively from the Nets upgrading at point guard with the addition of Jeremy Lin.

While conceding "Hollis-Jefferson is a defensive monster," Ford thinks his offense still needs help."Hollis-Jefferson is a jump shot away from being a dominant two-way player."  Instead, Ford likes Devin Booker of the Suns.

He was one of the youngest rookies in the league last year. His skill set as a ball handler and a passer are developing nicely. His work ethic is outstanding. And he can really, really shoot the basketball. I see a lot of Klay Thompson in Booker and given how well he played post All-Star break, I think he's in for a breakout sophomore season.

Hollis-Jefferson was taken at No. 23 by the Trail Blazers in the 2015 NBA Draft and traded to the Nets for Mason Plumlee.