Top Rookie of the Year candidates

These freshmen have stood out from the rest of the class (PER Diem: Jan. 12, 2012)

Updated: January 12, 2012, 1:41 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com

Isaiah Thomas was the last player selected in the 2011 draft, and that's a good place to start today.

Watching the diminutive Thomas run circles around the Raptors in the second half Wednesday night -- he finished with 20 points and six assists to lead Sacramento to a 98-91 win over Toronto -- drove home the point that had already been established in the season's opening weeks: This rookie class is making a serious impact.