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NBA Rookie Report 2/15/13

There's only been two rookies that have separated themselves from the pack.  Lets check in on the status of the 10 best rookies as we hit the All-Star break.

1. Damian Lillard

By far the best rookie at the break. The kid out of Weber State has been putting on a show in Portland night after night. He's currently posting 18 and six a night while shooting nearly 42% from the field 35% from three and 86% from the charity stripe. He's the reason Portland has a shot to make the playoffs. Aldridge is good but as we have seen for the last couple years he can't do it himself. Lillard gives him some much needed help. Lillard should be a fixture in Portland for a long time.

2. Anthony Davis

Despite missing a few games due to injury he's had a pretty stellar rookie campaign so far. He's up over 51% shooting from the field but only scoring 12.5 a night. Where we knew he would have an immediate impact was with his defense, and he has. He's been blocking nearly two shots a game and changing several others while grabbing a steal or two a night. All the while committing under three fouls a game. He is going to be a special player on the defensive end, but he needs to start hitting the glass more, and work on his offensive game if he wants to find himself in the game on Sunday for years to come.

3. Bradley Beal

Now here's where it starts to get dicey. Like Davis, Beal has missed some time due to injury, but he hasn't had nearly the impact. He's shooting just 39% from the field along with 37% from three and 79% from the free throw line. I think it's safe to end those Ray Allen comparisons since he would have retired if he ever shot that poorly. He should get more comfortable with each game he plays but until they he's still a bit of a mystery.

4. Dion Waiters

He's not as good a shooter as Beal but he won't tell you that. He seems to be a bit of an irrational confidence guy, he loves bombing dumb shots. I'm not hating on him because he has a lot of talent but I'd be really nervous that he is a career 6th man who thinks he's a stud.

5. Alexey Shved

I wanted to put him third but I couldn't pull the trigger. Shved has the brains to make it in this league. He might be a career backup but he will make someone rather happy. He can start when called upon and can create big match-up problems for opposing teams since he is a 6'6 point guard. He needs to get stronger to be able to guard the best point guards in the league but I think he'll have a nice career.

6. Harrison Barnes

Unlike most of the other top rookies, Barnes finds himself on a potential playoff team so he doesn't get the same kind of touches as the others. He's shooting pretty well but I'd like to see him force the issue a little more. I want him to start playing pissed off. He's a bit passive right now and I understand it, but get angry and get that team off the schnied.

7. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Maybe the biggest rookie disappointment of this year so far. I haven't lost all faith in him but I was in the he might be rookie of the year camp leading up to the draft. He's playing in Charlotte so only averaging nine points a night is unacceptable. He has the build and enough raw talent plus he's only 19 years old. But right now wow he's having a rough to at this NBA thing.

8. Tyler Zeller

This Zeller seems to be exactly what we thought he was, just another tall wafey white guy. Not especially strong in any aspect of the game but his size will keep him in the league long enough. As a seven footer he needs to shoot better than 42%, he needs to grab more than six boards a game, and he needs to block more than 1.0 shots a game.

9. Andre Drummond

And I'm officially out of good healthy rookies. He made a lot of people nervous when thinking about taking him with a top pick last June. Despite being out four to six weeks with a stress fracture to his fifth lumbar vertebrae he really turned some heads. If he didn't get injured he'd be right near the top of this list probably ahead of Davis. In just under 20 minutes a game he was grabbing nearly eight boards a game and blocking almost two shots a night while shooting nearly 60% from the floor. He could end up being a poor mans Dwight Howard. Well old Dwight not the lazy whiny baby he's turned into. The biggest flaw in Drummond's game is the same as Dwight's... free throw shooting. 36.5% is not going to earn you any extra minutes.

Word is he's feeling great right now and could return to action shortly after the All-Star break.

10. Jared Sullinger

Another rookie with back problems. You could argue at one point that he was the best player the Celtics had. His effort is second to none in this rookie class. He does all the little things every player should be doing but never does. He works his ass off and wants to get better. Sully clearly wants to make it. I just hope this injury doesn't hinder career ceiling because I'm really excited to watch him for another 10-12 years.

Friday, February 15, 2013

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