Though we are only two weeks into the 2012-2013 NBA season, it becomes clear pretty quickly which rookies are ready to contribute now and which players need more seasoning in the D league. Here, we examine a few of the players from the 2012 NBA draft and how they look so far in the infancy of their careers:
Damian Lillard (18.4 ppg, 6.6 A, 3.1 R, 1.3 S): Lillard is off to an incredible start to his NBA career, dazzling crowds with great speed and an ability to score from anywhere on the court. While Lillard has great athleticism, which he uses effortlessly to create seperation when driving in the lane, whether through spin moves, step backs or hesitations, he doesn’t use his athleticsm on shots. A quick release makes up for his somewhat flat footed shot and allows for him to get this off on any defender. He has also shown excellent court vision through his first eight games. Not only did the Trail-Blazers make a great pick with Lillard, but they may have found the star compliment to pair next to Aldridge and Batum to take them to the promise land of a Larry O’Brien trophy. I love this kid, he will be a franchise caliber player.
Anthony Davis (17.3 PPG, 8 R, 2.7 B): Davis is living up to the enormous hype that followed him from high school and his lone year at Kentucky. So far, Davis has shown he is a highly efficient scorer shooting 53%, and, as expected, is a playmaker on defense (1.3 SPG/2.7 BPG). Another franchise caliber player, he has the speed and agility of an NBA small forward with the size of a power forward. While his sample size is small, only 3 games as he missed 2 due to a concussion, Davis is a lock for NBA all-rookie first team, one of the top 2 candidates for ROY(along with Lillard) and has the skill set and drive to a future hall of famer. The upside here continues to be through the roof.
Dion Waiters (14.5 PPG, 2.3 A, 2.1 R): So far, Waiters has played about as well as Cavs brass could have hoped. Playing on this very young Cavs team, Waiters is being asked to carry a heavy scoring burden which he has succeeded in. While his 44% shooting percentage isn’t great, it’s good enough at this point in his career to believe he will be able to grow into the scoring punch Byron Scott wanted opposite Kyrie Irving. Waiters is undersized for a shooting guard and has been exposed on defense by players abilty to shoot over him, however i expect him to improve his footwork to make sure he keeps players in front of him. Waiters has all-star level potential, now lets see him show some consistency to his game.
Next Time I will spotlight 3 different rookies as well as looking at some rooks who don’t seem quite ready for the NBA.