BDLRank: NBA Rookies
By: Jared Ramos
Welcome to the inaugural #BDLRank. With BDLRank we will be ranking some of the top players at their respective positions. To kick off BDLRank we will look at the top 10 rookies through the first two months of 2012-13 season.
As you can guess, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and New Orleans Hornets forward Anthony Davis made the list. But who else was in our top 10?
10. Kyle Singler, Detroit Pistons.
Stats: 8.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 44% FG, 10.6 PER.
A lot of people forget that Kyle Singler is a rookie because he spent all of last season playing in Europe. To this point we have seen two different versions of Kyle Singler. In November, Singler averaged 9.9 points per game, while shooting 42% from three and 50% from the field overall. In December, Singler cooled off considerably. Singler is averaging 7.6 points per game, while shooting 28% from three and 36% from the field overall. Despite the recent struggles Singler has been a bright spot for a Pistons team that has really struggled.
9. Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors.
Stats: 7.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 14.56 PER.
Jonas Valanciunas, like Kyle Singler, was drafted last season. After being selected fifth in the draft and performing well internationally, Valanciunas drew high expectations from fans. To this point Valanciunas has not been the franchise changing player they were hoping for.
Valanciunas shows a lot of promise as a player and has terrific upside offensively. However, when it comes to rebounding he’s not been able to match other rookies. Adding insult to injury, Valanciunas will miss the next four-to-six weeks rehabbing a fractured finger.
8. Harrison Barnes, Golden State.
Stats: 8.7 PPG, 4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 10.33 PER
Harrison Barnes like Kyle Singler has been inconsistent through the first two months of the NBA season. Barnes has seen varying levels of involvement in Golden State’s offense, but hasn’t been able to get it going.
The first month of the season Barnes averaged 10.4 points per game, while shooting 46% from the field and 36% from three. Since that first month, Barnes has averaged 7.3 points per game, while shooting 36% from the field and 27% from three.
His poor shooting is troubling because it was one of his strong points as a prospect. If you believe in Barnes you have to believe that he will play more like the guy that we saw in November and less like the guy we have seen in December.
7. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons.
Stats: 7 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 21.32 PER
Coming out of high school Andre Drummond was considered a lock to be the top pick in the NBA Draft. Then his stock tumbled while at Uconn and rightfully so, Drummond really struggled at times. Considering Drummond’s playing time to this point he has been highly productive.
Per 36 minutes, Drummond averages 12.8 points per game and 13 rebounds. Pretty impressive. Add onto the fact that Drummond has really come on in the month of December, averaging 9.4 points per game, 11 rebounds, and shooting 62%. All those are marks that bode well for Drummond’s future.
6. Alexey Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves.
Stats: 10.8 PPG, 4.4 APG, 2.7 RPG, 13.32 PER
Alexey Shved has really come out of nowhere. Despite the fact that Shved is the sixth man in the rotation, he is tied for the team lead in assists. He is not putting up crazy numbers, but he has contributed all over the perimeter for the Wolves.
Shved has shot the ball well to this point, shooting 40% from the field and 34% from three. Will Shved be able to continue his hot start? I’m not sure. The schedule gets harder for the Wolves in January when they have to play the likes of San Antonio, Atlanta, OKC and L.A. (Clippers).
5. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards.
Stats: 12 PPG, 2.5 APG, 3.5 RPG, 11.44 PER
Poor Bradley Beal. This certainly wasn’t the team the Wizards planned on surrounding Beal with. The Wizards dreamt of the backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, sadly however, Wall has yet to play. While there is no question the absence of Wall has hurt Beal’s production, there is the argument that Beal’s growth has been accelerated.
At Florida some scouts compared Beal’s shooting to Ray Allen, so it’s somewhat troubling that he shot 20% from three in the month of December. With that said, his month of December was very productive, seeing him score in double figures in nine of his 11 games.
The jury is still out on Beal. He’s improving as a scorer, but he doesn’t has much around him to take the pressure off. Once John Wall returns I expect to see a much more efficient Bradley Beal.
4. Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers.
Stats: 14.6 PPG, 3.4 APG, 2.5 RPG, 11.80 PER
Dion Waiters has shown flashes of the skill that Cleveland saw in him when drafting him fourth overall. He can get past defenders, create in traffic and elevate to score.
With that said his 11.80 PER should give you an indication of where he is right now. His shooting percentage has not been great, currently he’s shooting 37% from the floor. Even more troubling is the fact that he is shooting 34% from the field as a pick-and-roll ball-handler.
From a talent stand point Waiters is very promising. His skill set is very good and playing alongside Kyrie Irving is only going to make him better. His mediocre shooting is the only thing keeping him from being in the top three.
3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats.
Stats: 10.6 PPG, 1.8 APG, 6.2 RPG, 16.61 PER
Mike Kidd-Gilchrist has had a big impact on the Bobcats to this point. He is shooting an impressive 49% from the field, despite the fact that he is an average jump shooter, just 29 percent on spot-up jumpers to this point.
The most amazing statistic to this point is the fact that Kidd-Gilchrist has only attempted five three pointers all season. Kidd-Gilchrist has struggled of late, however he has shown that he can cover a lot of ground and rebound very well.
If Kidd-Gilchrist can improve his jump shot over the next couple of years, then the sky will be the limit.
2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets.
Stats: 15.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.9 BPG, 21.62 PER
There’s a decent chance that Anthony Davis would be number one on our list if it wasn’t for him missing 13 games. In the games that he has played in he has been as impressive an offensive weapon in the entire rookie class.
Davis’ PER is just slightly off Kyrie Irving’s Rookie of the Year pace. In the 10 games that Davis has played in December he has scored in double figures in each of them.
Davis’ production hasn’t translated into wins for the Hornets yet, but to this point he has provided quality minutes by taking high percentage shots, shooting well from the free throw line and grabbing boards.
1. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers.
Stats: 18.3 PPG, 6.6 APG, 3.4 RPG, 17.13 PER
Through the first couple of months of the NBA season, the Rookie of the Year award goes to Damian Lillard.
Who knows where the Trail Blazers would be without Lillard. In the 28 games that Lillard has started, he has scored 20 or more points in 13 of them. He is brilliant in one-on-one situations, he is also excellent using screens and finding open teammates.
Lillard would all but seal his Rookie of the Year honors by helping the Trail Blazers to the playoffs. If he does that, than it won’t matter how many double-doubles Anthony Davis puts up.