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ESPN IN: Rookie Watch

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by greatpacha1, Jul 25, 2012.

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  1. greatpacha1

    greatpacha1 Member

    Oct 21, 2010
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    ESPN on the Rookies. http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/Rookies-120725/nba-rookie-watch-summer-school

    Rookie of the Year challengers
    The players who will give Anthony Davis a run for his money

    Harrison Barnes | Golden State Warriors
    Summer stats: 16.8 ppg (40% shooting), 5.6 rpg, 0.4 apg, 1.8 spg

    Barnes showed one big flaw in Vegas: The game is too easy for him. At 6-foot-8, with his skills, Barnes can get any uncontested shot he wants. But he has not yet learned how to grind for more makeable shots. Still, with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry by his side, Barnes should get a lot of open looks and slashing opportunities. He also will be asked to defend opponents' best perimeter wings most nights, so his chances at scoring and at earning defensive kudos are quite good.

    Bradley Beal | Washington Wizards
    Summer stats: 17.6 ppg (42% shooting), 4.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1 spg

    Beal proved to be perhaps the most versatile perimeter player of this rookie class, capable of handling point guard duties, attacking defenders off the dribble or softly lofting in jumpers off pin-downs and cross-screens. More importantly, his feel for the game means he'll be paired with John Wall a ton, as he instinctively knows where to move to so Wall has more space to create. Add Nene to the mix and Beal gets to play next to a true low-post threat, which, when combined with Wall, will give him a lot of great scoring opportunities. If Beal's 3-point shot improves a good deal, he'll help the Wiz make a playoff run.

    John Henson | Milwaukee Bucks
    Summer stats: 18.3 ppg (53% shooting), 6.8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 bpg

    Henson came in with a strong shot-blocking reputation and proved it in Vegas, totaling four swats in one game. But it was his ability to make paint shots, and some outside jumpers, that should have the Bucks so excited. Henson played with great poise all week -- a testament to how well-schooled he was in college and perhaps even before -- as he rarely acted impulsively on defense or on the glass. He finished third in blocks among rookie big men yet committed only five fouls (in four games), and the two players with more blocked shots fouled 16 times in five games.

    Damian Lillard | Portland Trail Blazers
    Summer stats: 26.5 ppg (44% shooting), 4 rpg, 5.3 apg, 0.5 spg

    In my eyes, Lillard was the best rookie in Vegas. His talent as a floor general, as well as his ability to shoot and score, proved that you don't have to play in the ACC or Big East to become an elite player. And that's what Lillard projects to be right now. He's a slightly downgraded version of Derrick Rose, with some Chauncey Billups mixed in, who likely will start from day one and will be the favorite to win ROY because he'll have the ball in his hands a ton.

    Jeremy Lamb | Houston Rockets
    Summer stats: 20 ppg (47% shooting), 4.4 rpg, 0.8 apg, 1 spg

    Lamb is a dynamic scorer with the ball in his hands, and he is better off the bounce than I expected, given his size (although he does tend to stand and watch when the ball isn't moving toward him). Lamb also might be the best shooter in this class. His coaches in Houston will need to add more wrinkles to their offense so they can take advantage of his ability to score off screens when he's running from side to side or bottom to top.

    Donatas Motiejunas | Houston Rockets
    Summer stats: 16.3 ppg (62% shooting), 7.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.8 bpg

    Is it not ironic that GM Daryl Morey broke up his team just before he finally got a big man who could score? Seven-foot Motiejunas isn't much of a rebounding and defensive presence, but there is no doubt that he can score -- and from a lot of spots, too. He's already pretty polished and can use either hand to finish, which helps him play with a lot of confidence when the ball is in his hands. The Rockets just waived Luis Scola via the amnesty clause, mostly for the cap space going forward, but having a power forward such as Big D helped that process at least a little bit. We rarely see big rookies score 64 points in three of four games while hitting 28 of 40 shots in summer league (two of those games came after an 0-5 stinker).

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist | Charlotte Bobcats
    Summer stats (one game): 18 ppg (50% shooting), 8 rpg, 5 apg, 4 spg

    OK, so he played only one game. But no one can deny that it was a very impressive one game. It helped that the Bobcats used a press the whole time and the Sacramento Kings were woefully unprepared for it; as a result, MKG's defensive intensity and overall awareness led him to easy looks on offense. But, even in a half-court game, Kidd-Gilchrist looks like someone who will excel on defense and in transition. Michael Jordan called MKG the Bobcats' Scottie Pippen, and the rookie looks as if he can indeed be the center of their defense and find ways to score without occupying the ball much in their half-court offense. He looks as though he can play 35 minutes a game from day one.

    The disappointments
    Players who will get lots of playing time despite what they did in Vegas

    Thomas Robinson | Sacramento Kings
    Summer stats: 13 ppg (34% shooting), 9.8 rpg, 3 apg, 1 spg

    At worst, Robinson will give the Kings some toughness and someone who can play with an edge and has the athleticism to make things happen with that edge. But he looked very lost on the perimeter, with a jumper more broken than that of any other first-round pick and too much interest in "showing it off" rather than focusing on working the paint. I loved him in the draft, but he has a lot of work to do to be worthy of a top-five pick. The good news is he has the talent to get a lot better.

    Dion Waiters | Cleveland Cavaliers
    Summer stats: 12.3 ppg (30% shooting), 3 rpg, 3 apg, 1 spg

    Waiters looked like a combo guard, and often more like a point guard without great passing skills. Which would be OK if Cleveland didn't already have one of the top young point guards in the league. I know the staff is high on Waiters, based on scouting him all season, but no one in Vegas saw what they had seen all year. He likely will play a good amount, so he'll have plenty of chances to figure things out.

    Austin Rivers | New Orleans Hornets
    Summer stats: 10 ppg (21% shooting), 2.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2 spg

    I liked what I saw from Rivers, but he didn't get much run after being pulled before their third game. He looked like a true point guard to me, running the offense and looking for teammates before himself. His fundamentals are strong, but it's going to be a while before he learns how to beat his defender and then score against the help. He already can do the first part. The second part is far trickier, especially when you can't just overwhelm the help physically like Rose or Russell Westbrook.

    Next in line
    NBA rotation players, sooner rather than later

    Terrence Jones | Houston Rockets
    Summer stats: 18.2 ppg (50% shooting), 8.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.4 bpg

    Soft touch, with the ability to get quality shots off over taller and longer players. That's the first thing I noticed about Jones. Then I started wondering whether he was going to be like Darrell Arthur -- a power forward who was doubted for a few reasons, only to become a pivotal player in his team's national championship run. Jones has a lot of talented 4s to contend with in Houston; Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris (who likely will play small forward, as well) and Motiejunas all deserve minutes next to Omer Asik, who needs an offensive talent next to him. Jones eventually will get minutes, too -- even if it's on another team.

    Jared Sullinger | Boston Celtics
    Summer stats: 12.3 ppg (35% shooting), 8.4 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.8 bpg

    Sullinger is probably your winner of "most impressive of the summer." Not because of his huge production but because his steady play over almost three straight weeks of action. First, it was a strong debut in four games in as many days in Orlando. Then he followed it up with a few strong games in Vegas. Sullinger and his teammates were dead tired by the end of Las Vegas Summer League, in which he never played fewer than 24 minutes until the very last game on Sunday. Great hands, touch and rebounding prowess will force the Celtics to get him minutes just as soon as he learns their defensive plans, which could be by opening day. His presence makes Kevin Garnett's move to the center spot academic.

    John Jenkins | Atlanta Hawks
    Summer stats: 15.6 ppg (51% shooting), 2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.8 spg

    A year ago, I felt Nolan Smith was a surefire NBA rotation guy because of his quickness and good (maybe one day great) shooting. I felt the same way this year about Jenkins, who has a quick and deadly release. He's not someone who is going to provide a lot of things for his team, but, within a season or two, Jenkins can become a shooting specialist in Atlanta and earn a bid to the 3-point contest at All-Star Weekend.

    Terrence Ross | Toronto Raptors
    Summer stats: 14.4 ppg (37% shooting), 3.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1 spg

    Ross has more potential than DeMar DeRozan simply because he's a far superior shooter. Or at least that's what I've been suggesting. He did not look the part this past week, although his form is basically solid. As he learns better shot selection, his size and fluidity should help him earn serious minutes for the Raptors, and he could end up being a great partner to Kyle Lowry because Lowry likes to get his own shot and Ross had no issues moving the ball in Vegas.

    Andrew Nicholson | Orlando Magic
    Summer stats: 12.6 ppg (47% shooting), 6.8 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.4 bpg

    Big, beefy guys who don't mind contact and can make shots are always very valuable players. With Orlando and Dwight Howard likely to part ways at some point, Nicholson has an even better chance at getting early minutes, thanks in large part to his strong summer showing. He has some post moves already that have Orlando fans muttering about him being more polished than Howard is now. That's not even remotely true, although Nicholson has the kind of body (6-9, 250 pounds) and game that translate into a long NBA career.

    Bernard James | Dallas Mavericks
    Summer stats: 10.2 ppg (61% shooting), 9 rpg, 0 apg, 2.6 bpg

    It's almost unfair putting a man on this list, and that is clearly what James is. Tough, hard-nosed, with a feel for shot-blocking, James likely will get on the court right away as a nice complement to Dirk Nowitzki off the bench. He'll know his role and take joy from being a defensive spark, as he did in Vegas, where he led all players in total blocked shots.

    Doron Lamb | Milwaukee Bucks
    Summer stats: 14 ppg (46% shooting), 0.0 3P%, 2.8 rpg, 0.8 apg

    Lamb actually will have a similar role to the one he already mastered in college: play off other guys, flow to open spots, knock down open shots and make heady plays on both ends of the floor. He's not going to be a ROY candidate, but I can envision first team All-Rookie if he gets enough playing time. Thanks to his feel for the game and not forcing things, Lamb averaged 14 points a game in Vegas despite not making a single 3-pointer. He's the perfect type of shooting guard to play next to Jennings or Monta Ellis.
  2. T FOR 3!!!

    T FOR 3!!! Member

    Jun 26, 2008
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  3. mr. 13 in 33

    mr. 13 in 33 Member

    Oct 23, 2010
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    no royce white
  4. LCAhmed

    LCAhmed Contributing Member

    Nov 10, 2009
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    Already been posted
  5. greatpacha1

    greatpacha1 Member

    Oct 21, 2010
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    Yea, lock it up Mods, i dont know how i over looked the original post.
  6. True Rocket

    True Rocket Member

    Aug 6, 2009
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    Lin before the lock.
  7. CheukLau

    CheukLau Member

    Jun 24, 2011
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