PDA

View Full Version : Rookie Watch: Sinking or swimming?



Trophy
01-20-2010, 05:53 PM
http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=thorpe_david&page=Rookies-100120

(David Thorpe)

Moving or staying up

DeJuan Blair, Spurs | Rookie card
Many rookies have been solid contributors on good teams. But how many can say they dominated a game for a playoff-bound team against a likely playoff team? Blair had 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting with 21 rebounds (10 offensive) against Oklahoma City. The last rookie to pull off a 20-20? It wasn't Dwight Howard. Or Chris Bosh. Or Amare Stoudemire. Or Yao Ming. It was Blair's Hall of Fame-bound teammate, Tim Duncan, who did it in March of 1998.

All season long, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been saying he's amazed by what the undersized Blair can accomplish in the paint. You know what I call the ability to produce in spite of circumstances? Talent. And Blair is loaded with it.


Stephen Curry, Warriors | Rookie card
Most draft experts considered Curry to be the best shooter in the class, and he's certainly lived up to the hype recently. His 5-for-8 from 3 to help beat the Bulls on Martin Luther King Day pushed his monthly 3-point percentage to 58 percent (18 of 31).

Almost as impressive is Curry's assist rate (the percentage of a player's possessions that ends in an assist), which hovers around 24 even though he isn't the Warriors' primary ball handler. A month ago, it seemed unlikely that he would make the Rookie Challenge during All-Star Weekend. But now, if he fails to make it, the game will not be as good. He is a very deserving candidate.


A.J. Price, Pacers | Rookie card
DeJuan Blair, Omri Casspi, Jonas Jerebko, Taj Gibson, Chase Budinger, Marcus Thornton and Brandon Jennings have all been labeled draft night steals this season. Add Price to the list.

The second-rounder is one of just six rookies with a player efficiency rating of 15 or better. I watched Price play in person recently and was impressed by how he is balancing his instincts as a scorer with his job of running the team. To wit, he ranks eighth in assist rate among rookies, ahead of similar score-first guards such as Jonny Flynn and Tyreke Evans. Better yet, Price has the lowest turnover rate of any rookie point guard. That combination, plus some solid scoring games, has earned him huge rotations minutes; he's averaging 20-plus minutes per game and 10 points per game in January. This after appearing in just 12 games and averaging just eight minutes per game in 2009.


Sam Young, Grizzlies | Rookie card
Young, ironically, was one of the oldest players in the draft at 24 years old, which was seen as a strike against him. But "old" age has its advantages, too. Young's emotional maturity and better perspective have enabled him to make progress despite pedestrian minutes and production in November.

And he's still at it, providing increased production and efficiency in fewer minutes. Young is scoring 9.8 ppg in January, up from 8.8 points last month, despite playing three fewer minutes per game. Three minutes might seem like a small number, but players keep track of their minutes the way a mother watches her children in a crowded mall -- very carefully. Many rooks who experience a loss in minutes get frustrated, which tends to lead to poor play. But Young's increased efficiency -- and his vital role in Memphis' surge -- has made him one of the best sleeper picks of the 2009 draft.


Marcus Thornton, Hornets | Rookie card
Few rookies have had to surf rougher waters than Thornton. Consider that he started the season playing just nine minutes total in the Hornets' first seven games. Then he went on a scoring tear, averaging 12 ppg in November. Then he scored just 6 ppg on 38 percent shooting in December. Now he's back on top with six straight double-figure-scoring games and is shooting an impressive 13-for-30 (43 percent) from 3 in January.

Thornton is proving to be irrepressible. No matter how tough things get for him, I think he'll find a way into the Hornets' rotation and have a positive impact.


DeMar DeRozan, Raptors | Rookie card
Only 20 years old, DeRozan is expected to have a large learning curve. But being patient with his mistakes is easier said than done, especially because the Raptors must win enough games to persuade Chris Bosh to stay in Toronto. However, he has not made the team suffer much lately.

In the Raptors' past five wins (in an eight-game stretch), DeRozan has made 23 of 39 shots and scored 11 or more points in four of those five games. He's been efficient and smart with his shot selection, allowing Toronto's better players to run the offense. Oh, and he's had just three turnovers in those eight games. Sounds like a veteran's numbers, doesn't it?


Wayne Ellington, Timberwolves | Rookie card
Ellington is having a successful month as Minnesota's backup 2-guard. He's shooting the ball much better, having made 11 of his past 20 3-point attempts after hitting just 14 of 53 in November and December. He's looking for his shot, only taking smart ones and averaging more than 10 ppg in January.

I also like how Ellington is alert and aggressive when chasing rebounds. If he can work his way into Minnesota's starting lineup, it would allow Corey Brewer to move back to his more natural small forward position and the Wolves to become a more athletic team.


Sundiata Gaines, Jazz | Rookie card
Just getting the call-up from the D-League was a story enough for Gaines. But then he hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to knock off Cleveland. It was the first 3 of his career.

Gaines has provided some energy off the bench beyond that fairy-tale moment, but as we have written throughout the years in this report, the NBA is not all puppy dogs and ice cream. Gaines is getting some love now but could be back in the D-League at any time.

For the record, I remember watching him play one afternoon when he was at Georgia and thinking he was a very underrated player. Whatever happens going forward, how many rookies can say they made their first 3-pointer to beat King James?

Naptown_Seth
01-20-2010, 06:20 PM
My draft night want list:

Blair, G Henderson, Young, Budinger, TWill, Price...some interest in Holiday but worried about if they could develop him.

Had the Pacers turned that 13th pick into 2 2nd round picks and got Blair and Young (or Chase) which is something I was saying during the draft, things would look pretty darn sharp.

Well, other than the fact that Blair and Young would be on their 20th straight DNP. ;)


One caveat in all this is that Price, Young, Chase, Twill - older players should be better their rookie year because they are mature. Over time we might see the younger kids catch them as they mature (see Thabeet maybe, definitely Holiday).

This is also something I see as another big worry with Hans as a 24 year old 4 year guy. Gotta be up to full speed out of the block.



I do think we are seeing good evidence in recent years that college players that get 2-3 years, let alone 4, tend to LEARN their major (basketball) just like any other college age students. People are all about the money and how we are holding kids back, but for a lot of these guys the NCAA situation is just as helpful as it is to any bright student who could technically skip college and start working in a lab, law office, etc.

There's a lot to be said for learned maturity. Just ask UConn's Stanley Robinson.

90'sNBARocked
01-20-2010, 06:26 PM
The lowest amount of turnovers has me warm and fuzzy inside :-p

Sookie
01-20-2010, 06:33 PM
My draft night want list:

Blair, G Henderson, Young, Budinger, TWill, Price...some interest in Holiday but worried about if they could develop him.

Had the Pacers turned that 13th pick into 2 2nd round picks and got Blair and Young (or Chase) which is something I was saying during the draft, things would look pretty darn sharp.

Well, other than the fact that Blair and Young would be on their 20th straight DNP. ;)


One caveat in all this is that Price, Young, Chase, Twill - older players should be better their rookie year because they are mature. Over time we might see the younger kids catch them as they mature (see Thabeet maybe, definitely Holiday).

This is also something I see as another big worry with Hans as a 24 year old 4 year guy. Gotta be up to full speed out of the block.



I do think we are seeing good evidence in recent years that college players that get 2-3 years, let alone 4, tend to LEARN their major (basketball) just like any other college age students. People are all about the money and how we are holding kids back, but for a lot of these guys the NCAA situation is just as helpful as it is to any bright student who could technically skip college and start working in a lab, law office, etc.

There's a lot to be said for learned maturity. Just ask UConn's Stanley Robinson.

Thing with A.J. though, despite his age, he hasn't gotten to improve his skills for the past five years, (with exception to three point shooting) he's been playing catch up because of injuries. So despite being a bit older, I think there's room for improvement.

Mentally, he probably won't improve that much. Maybe just the slowing down of the game, and a little bit better decision making. But he really doesn't have too. There are plenty of young point guards that won't reach Price's level mentally, ever.

Anyway..about Stanley. I hope..Indiana doesn't do it. Yes, four year senior..probably expected to go around where Indiana's gonna draft..could play the PF..yes..it all fits. But please don't do it. Please Larry, save yourself the grief. He's a nice kid and all..but don't do it. He's the definition of inconsistency.

PacersHomer
01-20-2010, 07:40 PM
This article made me happy about Price but then it made me haz a sad about passing on Blair.

MyFavMartin
01-20-2010, 07:59 PM
Thanks. I saw his pic on espn and wondered what the art said.

Naptown_Seth
03-10-2010, 01:48 PM
Bump, I guess this is the only 2010 Rookie watch thread.

The two biggest "misses" for me were TWill and Henderson, two of my favorite prospects. With TWill his FG% was always going to be the main issue, could he make NBA jumpers enough to keep him on the court. With Henderson the question was...well, just why isn't Brown even trying to use him.

Both have had minor upticks lately. Henderson is finally getting back into the rotation in Charlotte for minor minutes. Hard to say much about his game so far, but at least he's getting to play. Odd how this came about just after the trade deadline rumor. Showcasing? Making sure before summer so they don't trade someone good?


TWill has played some really outstanding ball lately. I saw a little of his play the other night, just incredible passes. And he's made buckets.

4-5 vs WSH, 8-16 vs CLE, 4-9 vs ORL, 6-11 vs MEM. His one "dud" was 1-4 vs the Knicks. After starting the year with tons of 26 mpg nights, the Nets cut him way back. They gave him a little 4-5 game bump to end JAN, backed off again, and now have used him 26+ minutes in every March game.

His assists per game in March so far? SIX. 6.0 apg. And 6.5 rebounds per, and 13 ppg. That's the TWill I scouted, and those March games are against 3 winning teams and the Knicks (who they beat), it's not just loading up against dogs.


My biggest miss right now is thinking that Collison wouldn't share the ball enough. He has had a lot of nights where his FGAs dwarfed his assists, but he's also put up some monster assists numbers on other nights. Home cooking with the scorers? He did have an 18 assist night on the road, but his other more recent huge nights have all been at home.

And as I said, his game log is loaded with 18+ FGA nights...really nearly every night. So maybe I shouldn't kick myself just yet, that's a lot of FGAs from your PG if he's truly running the point for others. His 3 big assist nights did have his FGAs down in the 12 range, so maybe he's adjusting and becoming a better true PG.

Regardless he's played really well for New Orleans, far better than he did at UCLA.

Sookie
03-10-2010, 01:57 PM
I posted this in the other thread, but figured I'd post it here too.

Price is apparently one of five rookies this year to score over 18 points in a quarter.

So glad we aren't playing him.

Justin Tyme
03-10-2010, 06:29 PM
Bump, I guess this is the only 2010 Rookie watch thread.

The two biggest "misses" for me were TWill and Henderson, two of my favorite prospects. With TWill his FG% was always going to be the main issue, could he make NBA jumpers enough to keep him on the court. With Henderson the question was...well, just why isn't Brown even trying to use him.

Both have had minor upticks lately. Henderson is finally getting back into the rotation in Charlotte for minor minutes. Hard to say much about his game so far, but at least he's getting to play. Odd how this came about just after the trade deadline rumor. Showcasing? Making sure before summer so they don't trade someone good?


TWill has played some really outstanding ball lately. I saw a little of his play the other night, just incredible passes. And he's made buckets.

4-5 vs WSH, 8-16 vs CLE, 4-9 vs ORL, 6-11 vs MEM. His one "dud" was 1-4 vs the Knicks. After starting the year with tons of 26 mpg nights, the Nets cut him way back. They gave him a little 4-5 game bump to end JAN, backed off again, and now have used him 26+ minutes in every March game.

His assists per game in March so far? SIX. 6.0 apg. And 6.5 rebounds per, and 13 ppg. That's the TWill I scouted, and those March games are against 3 winning teams and the Knicks (who they beat), it's not just loading up against dogs.


My biggest miss right now is thinking that Collison wouldn't share the ball enough. He has had a lot of nights where his FGAs dwarfed his assists, but he's also put up some monster assists numbers on other nights. Home cooking with the scorers? He did have an 18 assist night on the road, but his other more recent huge nights have all been at home.

And as I said, his game log is loaded with 18+ FGA nights...really nearly every night. So maybe I shouldn't kick myself just yet, that's a lot of FGAs from your PG if he's truly running the point for others. His 3 big assist nights did have his FGAs down in the 12 range, so maybe he's adjusting and becoming a better true PG.

Regardless he's played really well for New Orleans, far better than he did at UCLA.


Don't give up on T'Will. I still feel he can be a good player. He was one of the players I wanted at 13 along with James Johnson who hasn't done jack this year. Johnson came out too early, but I'm not quitting on him. Gibson has just been great, and Johnson's play hasn't made anyone do sommersaults, cartwheels, or handstands with his play.

I wanted Bird to get a 2nd 1st who I had penciled in Maynor and Budinger. I'm looking forward to seeing how they progress next year.

Naptown_Seth
03-11-2010, 04:21 PM
My issue with Maynor remains the same, he doesn't have many moves. He's got an NBA teardrop just past the FT line, or he leaps in the air and 2 hand passes to one of the corners. That's a majority of his game. He does those things well, but I need to see more variety to think he can stick.

Still I wouldn't have minded him as a pick later on, but to be honestly I preferred AJ Price anyway.



I just mentioned Collison and he has what has become his prototypical game. He goes an awful 3-14 from the field, but has 9 assists. So you like the passing, but all those shots show that he is still ball dominating which is what I didn't like about him. Is he racking up assists with great passes, or just always being the last guy to touch the ball before someone else shoots?

I hate to nitpick the stat, but the FGAs are hard to ignore. Huge shooting volume.


My boy TWill might really be onto something. He had his first "best guy out there" night for the Nets. 7 of 12 for 18 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 stl, 1 blk, 1 TO. Not bad against the Mavs.

Speaking of Mavs, Beaubois has really been tearing up as the new version of Barbosa. Obviously I didn't scout him since he was a Euro, but he looks like a pretty nice steal even in a PG heavy class.


Sam Young continues to be a mainstay of the Griz rotation, and that's in quality wins, not just scrap time. He and Chase were two that I really wanted but thought might slip, which they obviously did. Young has one of the longest, hardest upfakes you'll ever see, really gets bites on it.