2008 NBA Rookie Analysis
As the first full month of the NBA season comes to a close it’s time to take a look at the impact the Rookies have made thus far.
As Good As Advertised
To me this rookie class begins with Derrick Rose. He is playing the most difficult position (Point Guard) of any of the Big Three (Rose, Beasley, Mayo) and he looks comfortable out there. He is second among rookies in scoring with 19.0 points per game and first in assist with 5.7 apg. He is every bit as good as advertised and will be a star in this league. While Rose is the best Rookie in the league, O.J. Mayo is the most explosive. He leads all rookies with a 20.6 ppg scoring average. He has reached 25 or more points in five of his fourteen games already. He too will be a star in this league, but I don’t expect as much team success for O.J. He is fortunate go get out of Minnesota. Memphis may be as bad, but at least it’s warm there.
Give Them Time
I am not going to label Michael Beasley a disappointment because he’s third among Rookies in scoring at 14.8 ppg and 8th in rebounding at 5.5 rpg. Dwayne Wade has been lights out early on this year, which has limited his scoring opportunities. He is playing alongside Shawn Marion and Udonis Haslem, which has a negative impact on his rebounding. I see both of those numbers improving as the season goes on. Greg Oden is another guy that you’re going to have to wait until he starts to reach his full potential. Not only does he have to learn the pro game like the rest of the rookies, but he has to work the rust off from missing a full year of hoops. I expect him to grow into a force in the paint on both ends of the floor.
Marc Gasol has to be one of the more pleasant surprises from this Rookie Class. Second-Rounders generally do not make a big splash. He has done just that though averaging 12.0 ppg and 7.2 rpg while shooting a Rookie best 57.7% from the floor. Luc Mbah a Moute is another Second-Rounder who is providing dividends to his team (Milwaukee) and his fantasy owners. Mbah a Moute leads all Rookies in Rebounding at 7.6 rpg. Mario Chalmers is another Second-Rounder that is contributing. He’s playing nearly 30 minute a night and averaging 8.3 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.0 steals. Russell Westbrook is having a solid start to his Rookie season. He’s put up averages of 12.1 points and 3.7 assists per night.
It’s hard to get on a guy who’s injured, but Danilo Gallinari has scored just two points in 11 minutes. He didn’t even make a Field Goal. Kevin Love not only has to deal with playing on the lowly TImberwolves, but he has to deal with the pressure of being the guy traded for O.J. Mayo. Love was the fifth pick in the draft yet his the 16th leading scorer at 8.3 ppg and the 7th leading rebounder at 6.0. Perhaps where he’s disappointing the most is the 36% he’s shooting from the floor. Joe Alexander was the 8th pick and he’s averaging just 4.0 ppg and 13.3 minute per game. #7 pick Eric Gordon isn’t much better with just 6.0 ppg in 15.2 minutes per game. Perhaps most disappointing of all is #11 Jerryd Bayless. He’s played in just five games for an average of 7.2 minutes per night. All he has to show for himself is a 1.8 ppg average.
Taking Advantage of Injuries
Early injuries have allowed Sacramento’s Jason Thompson (11.6 ppg, 70 rpg), San Antonio’s George Hill (11.0 ppg), and Portland’s Rudy Fernandez (11.6 ppg) to get off to fast starts.