1.  Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Last week: No. 1

The Philly bottom line is that Embiid has missed six games in a row and nine of the last 10 because of a bruised left knee as the Sixers continue to insist they are simply being cautious and coach Brett Brown tells reporters Sunday that “we take it to the extreme on managing Joel Embiid’s health.” The Ladder bottom line? Extreme injury management needs to last another few weeks, and maybe into March, before any conversation about his hold on No. 1 being threatened, and even then it would take a big push from one of the challengers. The 76ers next play Wednesday against the Spurs.

2. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks 

Last week: No. 2

He has at least temporarily answered the challenge from San Antonio’s Davis Bertans for the rookie lead in 3-point accuracy, reclaiming the top spot at 42.2 percent. More importantly for the Bucks as part of the playoff chase, the 52.2 percent overall the last three games is a sign he is coming out of the shooting slump that led to the 39.2 percent of January. One of those three, Saturday at Phoenix, also included eight assists against one turnover.

3.  Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers

Last week: No. 3

While the shooting percentage has dropped to 37.7 percent overall, ordinarily close to an automatic disqualifier to pass the efficient Brogdon, Saric is keeping the pressure on for second place by averaging 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds the last 10 games. That has at least temporarily solidified his hold on No. 2 in scoring among rookies, behind Embiid, and enough to maintain No. 2 in rebounding. The key has been the sudden windfall of minutes, with an average of 28.4 the last five outings as he contributed on the boards.

4.  Marquese Chriss, Phoenix Suns

Last week: No. 5 

The Suns have rewarded Chriss for the continued climb up The Ladder by increasing his role to 23.8 minutes the last five games, moving him to 18.3 for the season and in position for a big finish. Chriss regularly playing into the high-20s, if the current trend continues, could be a very fun watch, but even staying in the range of the last couple weeks could still get him into the top five in several rookie categories by April. The 27 points against the Bucks on Saturday came in just 24 minutes and made him just the third newcomer to reach that total this season, joining Embiid (three times) and Yogi Ferrell.

5. Buddy Hield, New Orleans Pelicans

Last week: No. 4

Shooting 34.6 percent the last 10 games and 38.5 for the season is no way to make a stand for fourth place. Hield, though, tied for fifth in the class in scoring, tied for fifth in 3-point accuracy and tenth in minutes. And there have been no shortage of opportunities behind the arc, with at least five attempts in three of the last four outings. Playing four times in six nights, starting Wednesday against the Jazz, is a chance to reverse the slide just before the All-Star break since three of the four are against the poor defenses of the Timberwolves, Kings and Suns.

6.  Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies

Last week: No. 6

The encouragement of the 45.7 percent from the field in January disappeared the instant the calendar turned. Harrison immediately regressed to 30.8 the first four games of February, while maintaining the same counter-arguments that have kept him on The Ladder despite what has mostly been a season of shooting woes: second in the class in assists, second in assist-to-turnover ratio, sixth in steals, sixth in minutes and eighth in defensive rating. Staying in the rotation will be a key consideration moving forward.

7.  Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

Last week: No. 7

And now he’s back to playing. Siakam went from out of the rotation to starting Sunday and Monday and getting 29 and 16 minutes, respectively, in much-needed stability that goes with the credibility of fifth among rookies in defensive rating, seventh in rebounding, second in shooting and second in blocks. The bruised knee that sidelined Patrick Patterson has become a parachute for Siakam just as he appeared on the verge of dropping from the rankings with another week or two of sitting.

8.  Willy Hernangomez, New York Knicks

Last week: Not ranked

Hernangomez was No. 5 in mid-November, fell out of the rotation and out of the rankings. He was No. 9 for two weeks and No. 10 in late-December and as the calendar turned to 2017, fell out of the rotation again and out of the rankings. Maybe it’s safe to try again. Finally getting consistent minutes for an extended period, the 35th pick in 2015 is averaging 9.7 points and 9.9 rebounds while shooting 50 percent the last nine appearances to move to eleventh in the class in scoring, third in rebounding, first in shooting, seventh in blocks and sixth in defensive rating.

9.  Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets

Last week: 10

One of the best rookies of the second half has missed four of the last nine games, either because of the knee injury that appears to be minor or while being rested Embiid-style. But the five that he did play in that time: 26, 27, 27, 27 and 30 minutes. He is third among rookies in steals, tied for eighth in scoring, tied for ninth in assists and already eleventh in minutes, while shooting 43 percent. LeVert just hasn’t made enough baskets yet, after missing the first 20 games, to meet the qualifying minimum for field-goal percentage.

10.  Isaiah Whitehead, Brooklyn Nets

Last week: 9

He was unable to capitalize on the chance to get back in the opening lineup, posting poor numbers while lasting 23, 14 and 15 minutes in three consecutive starts. Spencer Dinwiddie took his place Tuesday at Charlotte while Whitehead returned to a reserve role. Still, he is tied for ninth in the class in scoring, third in assists, fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio, sixth in blocks and seventh in minutes, enough to stay ranked in what over the last couple weeks has actually become a competition, with options and everything, for the final spots.