NBA Rookie Watch

After being billed as one of the strongest Draft Classes in recent Memory, lets take a look at how some of the top players have fared so far.

Top 4:

Damian Lillard-The clear-cut Rookie of the Year so far for Portland, Lillard is first in rookies in points, assists, and three point field goals made.  The young player out of Weber State is averaging 18.8 points and dishing out 6.3 assists a game. The trailblazers area very young team, but his level of maturity on the floor makes them dangerous on any given night.  The pick and roll game between him and LaMarcus Aldridge looks to be a dangerous weapon for this franchise for years to come.  He has an incredibly fast first step, has freakish leaping ability and can create space through a variety of moves in the paint.  I absolutely love this kids game, he’s a future franchise caliber player.

Anthony Davis-An injury riddled start to his career has limited him to only 11 games so far, but in those 11 games we have seen flashes of the dominant big man that prompted the Hornets (Pelicans) to draft him first overall.  He is averaging 14.6 points, 8.2 boards, and 2 blocks, all solid numbers for a power forward. Davis is excellent both with the ball in his hands and away from the ball working the baseline.  It’s quite obvious that once Davis adds some more bulk to his frame, he will be a dominant interior presence on both ends.  If the draft was done over, he’s still the clear cut number one pick.

Dion Waiters-While Waiters has had his fair share of struggles to start the year, he certainly has a great ability to create his own shot and get to the hoop.  Waiters’ downfall so far has been his willingness to accept long jump shots, instead of trying to get to the hole.  He’s only shooting 36.1% from the field, but he is scoring 14.8 a game, good for second among rookies. Waiters has tons of room for improvement, but the Cavs look to have a great backcourt for many years with Kyrie Irving and Waiters.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist-MKG is on a terrible team, no doubt, but as an individual he has shown an aptitude on the defensive end rare for rookies in this league.  He’s only scoring 10.4 a game but is shooting near 50% from the field.  He’s an energy guy and never will the star on a team, but this guy is a hell of a player, who you want on your roster.  A winner on a bad team.

The next 5:

Alexey Shved-Shved is 6th in rookies in points at 10.2 a game and did a great job playing big PG minutes for the Twolves during Rubio’s absence.  Now that Rubio is healthy, Shved will have some of his minutes cut into, but he has found himself a role on this team. He’s second among rookies in assits at 4.1 a game.

Bradley Beal-Beal entered the league with enormoys expectations, but has struggled with his shot so far.  Billed as the truest shooter in this draft, Beal is mired in a slump leaving him at a 36% shooting clip. He can score though, throwing in 12 and a half a game, but doing so inefficiently.  Some of this isn’t his fault, he’s asked to more than he would if John Wall was healthy.  He looks to be a better player with the ball not in his hands, look for him to have a big sophmore year.

Andre Drummond-While Drummond looks lost at times on offense, this man can rebound and play defense like few in this rookie class.  Built with the prototypical NBA center body, Drummond is averaging 6.4 board and 1.5 blocks. The Pistons have a huge, talented front line for their future.  If he can work on his back to the basket game, Drummond could be an all star within a couple years.

Harrison Barnes-This man can score from everywhere on the floor.  He can rise up and throw it down or knock down threes.  He has been a major part of the resurgence that the Golden State Warriors are going through this year.  He is averaging only 9 points and 4 rebounds, but he can take over a game for stretches.  Watch for him to take off with an off season of NBA conditioning.

Austin Rivers-Like many of his rookie peers, Rivers has struggled from the floor so far shooting only 36%, but similar to Dion Waiters, he can create his own shot at will.  Once Anthony Davis is healthy and rounded into form, he should be the benefactor of double teams that Davis will see.  Open shots should elevate that shooting percentage soon enough.  This kid needs time to adjust, but once it clicks, he could be a dangerous Jason terry esque scorer.

Players to watch:

Jared Sullinger-Excellent offensive rebounder and post player.  A mid range jumper will be the key to a long NBA career. His ceiling is Zach Randolph or more likely Carl Landry.

Jonas Valanciunas-The big man for thh Raptors is physical and talented, but fouls too much and doesn’t always use his head when making plays.  Could be a very good NBA player.

Jeremy Lamb-We haven’t seen him play much outside the preseason, but this dude is legit.  I see a future all start player in all that talent. He won;t get minutes right away in OKC, but the next couple years after learning from Westbrook and Durant should make him ready to be a big time player as he hits his mid 20’s.

Who did I leave off, who do you want to know more about, please let me know in the comments!

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