Anyone able to share? Thanks
Anyone able to share? Thanks
NBA draftees just finished a two-month process of flying around the country for job interviews, no different in most respects to recent college graduates. And though a few top rooks will get the red-carpet treatment, most of the new hires will be thrown immediately into the mix with people who are competing for the same jobs, some of whom were the celebrated new recruits from just a year ago.
Being a first-round pick in the NBA is not a guarantee of much, besides a two-year contract. And with so many teams geared up to add major talent via free agency this summer, playing time might be even more difficult to come by for many of these youngsters.
So, based on their own talent and the talent around them on their respective teams, which rookies project to start the season on top of our Rookie 50 rankings? Here's an early look.
1. John Wall, Wizards
There is no doubt the ball will be in Wall's hands a lot next season, even if Gilbert Arenas remains on the team. Wall, the No. 1 overall pick, will be a feature of Washington's system from day one and has the talent to shine on a global stage.
2. Wesley Johnson, Timberwolves
My regular readers may be surprised to see Johnson ranked this high, considering I've always pegged him as just a solid player. But "solid" will earn you minutes in the NBA as a rookie, and it's likely that Johnson, the No. 4 pick, will share the two wing spots with Corey Brewer and Martell Webster, so he'll get ample time to put up numbers.
Minnesota also can be expected to move either or both of those aforementioned veterans as they shop Al Jefferson around, and that would only add minutes, touches and opportunities for Johnson to shine further.
3. Evan Turner, Sixers
I'd put him second on this list if I knew Andre Iguodala was going to be traded. But even paired with Iggy, Turner should get lots of chances to play his game.
Drafted second overall, Turner will form an excellent duo on defense with point guard Jrue Holiday. Also, since Holiday is not a ball beater on offense, that will allow Turner to look for scoring opportunities frequently.
4. Greg Monroe, Pistons
The No. 7 pick, Monroe is one of the more fortunate rooks because he's going to a team that drafted both for value and need. With the horrible job the Pistons did in developing Darko Milicic still fresh in their minds, it seems very likely that Monroe will get major minutes inside and lots of attention from his coaches.
Ben Wallace should also help with some rebounding pointers, and Jonas Jerebko will challenge Monroe daily to play as hard as possible.
5. Xavier Henry, Grizzlies
This is based on a hunch that either Rudy Gay will not be in Memphis next season or O.J. Mayo will slide over to the point. Either way, Henry is one of the few players who wasn't drafted in the top five -- he went 12th -- who has All-Star potential. Memphis mentored Mayo beautifully as a rookie, and I see similar things happening with Henry.
6. Blake Griffin, Clippers
The reason Griffin is even on this list is the same reason he's not in the top two or three: The No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft will be coming back from a knee injury, which requires two types of recovery -- physical and mental.
Typically, the physical part returns first, so I expect Griffin to start out OK. And as January arrives, the beast will be back. He's my choice as the most likely ROY not named John Wall, with a heated race developing after the All-Star break.
7. Al-Farouq Aminu, Clippers
The Clippers (and Aminu himself) see him as a 3, but I like him more as a 4. Either way, he's going to get lots of floor time at both positions. He has the skills and size to immediately impact games. I often say that, in the NBA, the first guy to get to the ball wins the rebound. Aminu, who was drafted No. 8 overall, has the game to be that guy. A lot.
8. Trevor Booker, Wizards
Opportunity is such a huge part of the NBA process, especially for rookies. In Washington, where toughness and energy are sorely lacking in the paint, a player like Booker is a gift to his coaches. He can be a Carl Landry-type player if he just gets the time.
However, if the Wizards add a veteran power forward to the mix, then Booker, the No. 23 pick, will drop down this list.
9. DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
Remember, this is a look toward the first month or so of the season, not where I think the rookies will finish the season. Cousins, who was the No. 5 pick, clearly has the game to be special, and he should get there soon enough, but it's not going to be easy for the Kings to play him a lot in November.
The team acquired Samuel Dalembert, who produces with proper minutes, and will feature Carl Landry on offense. Jason Thompson, the Kings' 2008 lottery pick, should also be a rotation player. Thus, Cousins will be fighting for minutes early in the season. But as the season evolves, he'll surely rise in our report.
10. Derrick Favors, Nets
The third overall pick, Favors is the hardest guy to project right now, since his team is both loaded with power forwards and is likely to add an All-Star at that position in free agency.
But it looks probable that the Nets will trade away the other bigs that would compete with Favors for playing time and give the youngster backup minutes at both post positions. He'll be on the court frequently with another talented big, so he can just run and jump and make plays off his teammate.
11. Ekpe Udoh, Warriors
While I (and most others) saw Udoh as a reach at No. 6, that does not mean he lacks talent. Quite the contrary. He can be both a shooter out on the floor and, possibly, a low-post scorer. If indeed he becomes both, then Golden State's pick was not a reach, but a steal. Factor in his shot-blocking talent, and the dearth of such in Golden State (outside of Anthony Randolph), and it's easy to see lots of minutes for Udoh.
12. Gordon Hayward, Jazz
I love him in Utah's system. Hayward, the No. 9 pick, is a college 4 in the body of a 3 and eventually will be a 2 -- absolutely perfect in an offense that moves players to the point, wings and post spots smoothly. And with two solid, but by no means secure, players in front of him (C.J. Miles and Wesley Matthews), Hayward will be a threat to crack the starting lineup from the get-go. His contributions will also be more meaningful than the rookies above him on this list because he'll be playing for a playoff contender.
13. Quincy Pondexter, Hornets
Teams tend to believe that four-year college players have little upside. In some cases they are right, sure, but in other cases they are flat-out wrong. One thing I look for is four-year players who put it together in their last year, and how they did it. Maybe it's because they were bigger and stronger than most everyone else, or maybe they finally just figured it out. I think it may be the latter case for Pondexter, the 26th pick, who will have many opportunities to play in New Orleans.
14. Ed Davis, Raptors
Assuming Chris Bosh will be playing in another NBA town next season, Davis is expected to form a nucleus with DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani in Toronto going forward. The No. 13 pick, Davis will get plenty of time to grow, develop and make mistakes. But he's also talented enough to be productive right away.
15. Larry Sanders, Bucks
Sanders, who was taken 15th overall, is a tough call because he has a lot of players in front of him at the moment in Milwaukee. And if coach Scott Skiles wants to play small at times, which he did with success after Andrew Bogut got hurt last season, Sanders may not play much at all.
But there's a chance the Bucks will play him with Bogut frequently as they build for the future. If Sanders is successful early, he could cement his spot in the rotation. If he's not, he could be D-League bound, which wouldn't be a bad thing, either.
No love for George....
Hopefully Paul proves the doubters wrong.
I'm sure he'll make it on the Rookie Challenge roster.
How much do you guys value Thorpe's opinion? Sometimes he seems full of insight but some of his opinions are really counter intuitive (for example, he thinks it is a coaches' league and not a players' league)
I wouldn't really weigh much on Thorpe's opinion. He's pretty bias to those players who he works out or has worked out. I remember him saying Orien Greene was a starting PG in this league
you can't call it right all the time, it's impossible. Of course he will be off at times. Unlike Ford, et al he is an actual coach. He trains professional players and he improves their skillset. Not to mention he is pretty good at what he is doing (never short of clients). I value his opinion much more than most other guys. Unlike many so called experts, he is an actual talent evaluator. From my experience he is the guy that makes the most accurate predictions about players' future careers.
Out of our three draft picks, is it bad that I think George might actually be the most likely to be out of the NBA 5 years?
Wasn't George more of a "potential" pick anyways?
George is definitely going to be a project. I personally am looking for him to start "getting it" in about three years.
Awesome. Indy becomes the D-League team for the Chicago Lebrons.
Shouldn't Bird have drafted 2-3 year projects the last 2 years and older guys ready to go this year instead of doing exactly the opposite?
"I had to take her down like Chris Brown."
I can already tell Xavier Henry is going to be a point of contention all year. This draft could very well become the "WTF was Larry thinking" draft.
IMO, the only mistake was Stephenson. Rolle appears to be the real deal from the highlights, but obviously those can be misleading. If he is anything close to as agressive around the rim as it appears he is, we might have found a non-stretch 4 on the cheap. Stephenson's highlights are generally underwhelming, and then reading about his off court issues makes him a real reach at 40 IMO. I believe T-Bird's analysis of George, and I wanted the Pacers to draft him because of that, and his highlights don't disappoint, either.