A panel of SI.com writers unanimously selected Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard as the first half Rookie of the Year.

Ian Thomsen

Lillard has been a revelation while driving the surprising Trail Blazers into playoff contention. All of a sudden LaMarcus Aldridge has a fellow star to help him lead the Blazers into post-Greg Oden/Brandon Roy contention. Lillard and New Orleans' Davis are the two instant stars of this class, and they may yet engage in a terrific ROY race as long as Davis stays healthy. Charlotte's Kidd-Gilchrist has been the steadiest (and hardest-working player) of the other rookies, with a ready-made talent for producing across the board.