2008 NBA Summer League: Top Rookies

Mon, 07/21/2008 - 10:35pm

Top 10 Rookies

[img_assist|nid=1493|title=Jerryd Byless|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=315|height=186] Jerryd Bayless -- 29.8 ppg, 48.5 fg%, 4.8 rpg -- Bayless was dominant scoring nearly 30 ppg and leading all scorers in Vegas by a wide margin (over 7 points). His ability to get by his man and to the rim at will makes him extremely difficult to defend and his outside shot opens up his ability to drive. His final game in particular, he torched a solid defender in DJ Strawberry to the tune of 36 points including the final 11 points of the game plus the game winner. Bayless has a Kobe Bryant type of arrogance and focus to his game that should ultimately make him a star at the NBA level. He may take some lumps before reaching stardom as a combo guard, but he enters a dream situation playing alongside Brandon Roy, a big point guard who will allow Jerryd to defend point guards while playing off the ball on offense.

Donte Greene -- 22.6 ppg, 42.5 fg%, 3.6 rpg -- Greene was the only summer leaguer to register a 40 point game. His 22.6 ppg was good for second overall in scoring. After going 28th overall in the draft, Greene appears ready to make a lot of teams regret passing on him. Greene's great length and athletic ability along with his tremendous shooting stroke give him the perfect skills to excel at the NBA level, which were not showcased at Syracuse and within the college game. In college, Greene worried scouts with his apparent lack of a motor and laziness, but the talent is obviously there for him to be a standout pro.

Anthony Randolph -- 20.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, -- Randolph dazzled for the Warriors who knew they had taken a talented forward but were surprised with his level of development. Randolph broke out with a 30 point opener and despite missing a game after turning his ankle came back and impressed outshining sophomores Wright and Belinelli. His ability to make plays using his quickness off the dribble and excellent ball handling ability gives him real promise for playing time and production in his rookie season. Randolph will have his work cut out for him to stay on the court next season as Nellie is not patient with rookies, but his summer league performance is cause for real excitement for Warrior fans. Randolph also tabulated over 1 assist and 1 steal per game as well as knocking down 84% of his free throws.

JJ Hickson -- 19.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 53.4 fg%, -- As much as we knocked the pick, Hickson deserves a lot of credit with his tremendous summer league performance. Hickson showed nice polish around the basket with good footwork and shot fakes. He also showed a high motor running the floor and fighting for rebounds. He was very impressive, and is in the right situation and could end up being one of the more productive rookies in the league next season. He still has some holes that will need to be addressed: free throw shooting (50%) and turning the ball over (3.4 to per game).

Kevin Love -- 18.0 ppg, 13.5 rpg, -- Love was superb under the boards racking up a SL high 13.5 rebounds per game. He also looked solid in the post making moves around the basket. His skill level is extremely advanced for a 19 year old and the fact that he can spot up from outside and knock jumpers will make defenders have to move out on the floor to defend him. The jury is still out on just how effective he can be against longer and more athletic post players at the next level, but worst case scenario he should be solid at hitting shots and grabbing boards. Love's 18.0 ppg was good for 16th overall, although his sub-50% fg shooting could have been better.

OJ Mayo -- 18.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 40.7 fg%, 48% 3p -- The most impressive stat for Mayo was his 12-25 (48%) shooting from 3 point range. Mayo is an instant offense type of small 2g, and although he lacks the speed of Gilbert Arenas, he has a similar type of pure shooting stroke and scorer's mentality. Mayo will need to work hard at shot discipline and learn not to force shots when he's not open, but the Griz added a player with the potential to become an All Star in the future. Another area that needs a lot of focus is his ball protection, and although it's summer league and the wide open style makes for a great deal of turnovers, his 4.8 to per game is a bit excessive.

Marresse Speights -- 18.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 2.2 bs -- Speights looked excellent playing alongside sophomores Young and Smith. He has a lot of upside and also has a more advanced than advertised skill level. His body improvement over the past few months is cause for excitement for the Sixers. Speights had a number of monster jams, as well as some solid moves in the post. This was an excellent draft to have a mid first round pick to take an upside bigman and teams such as Washington (McGee), Cleveland (Hickson), Phoenix (Lopez) and Philadelphia really benefited.

Jason Thompson -- 16.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 49.0 fg%, -- The Kings took a chance with a player many projected much lower, but Thompson looked every bit worthy of their 12th selection in the SL. His ability to play inside and out, facing up and knocking down shots or taking his man off the dribble make him extremely versatile. He also has the strength and toughness to be a force under the basket. While Hawes isn't as old as Thompson, he's got a year of NBA experience under his belt, but Thompson has more lift and athleticism and appears to be the better prospect.

DJ Augustin -- 19.7 ppg, 56.3 fg%, 1.3 apg, 4.0 to -- Augustin apparently was concentrating on creating offense for himself as opposed to others. He was extremely effective shooting the ball at 56.3 % from the floor. Augustin finished 6th overall in scoring, tops for point guards but sat the final two games due to injury. His 4.0 rebounds per game was also a surprise. His a/to was the one real negative of his performance.

Robin Lopez -- 14.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 43.6 fg% -- Lopez's solid performance was enough to get an invite to the USA Select team. While Lopez didn't stand out with any one performance, his consistency throughout and hustle made him deserving of the final spot on this list. Lopez should be an excellent addition for Phoenix as his skills, particularly rebounding and shot blocking are already at a level which will allow him to contribute. He'll need to work on increasing his offensive game, but for now that won't be what's asked of him.

Registered User
Joined: 07/02/2008
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I like how you summed up the summer league and broke down who performed the best. With all of this said, we can not really read too much into this stats when the season starts.

Lopez Twins - Robin Lopez will be lucky if he averages 8 ppg and 5 boards this year. His is offensive game is seriously underdeveloped. The same with Brook Lopez.

O.J. Mayo - I actually think Mayo had a bad summer league compared to how he will perform during the season. He is an NBA player with a NBA game. From the first time I saw him his junior year of high school, it was evident that his game was built for the NBA. I can see him averaging between 15 and 20 ppg this season.

J.J. Hickson/Marresse Speights - Although Hickson played well in the summer league, I think that Speights will be better than him overall. I felt Cleveland made a mistake and should have tried to acquire Speights. Pairing him with Lebron would have killed all the "work ethic" noise that everyone was saying. Speights should be at least second team All-Rookie this year.

Kevin Love - Kevin Love's stats look very similar to his collegiate stats. Look for them to drop off drastically. His outside shot could help him average close to 9 ppg while grabbing about 7 or 8 boards. We will not see too many 20+ point games for Love (no more than ten) this season. It will be very hard for Love to co-exist with Jefferson so look for Love to rely on that outside shot for a lot of his points.

Donte Greene - Donte Greene had a great summer league but will not be a good fit in Houston at all. I can see him getting traded within the next two seasons. He needs the ball to work. We all know T-Mac is not passing and Yao does not get the ball enough as is. Look for Greene to struggle a bit in his limited minutes because of the "T-Mac shadow" that will hover over him his entire time in Houston.

Jerryd Bayless - Dude is a beast. The night of the draft, I was SCREAMING when I heard Bird traded him to Portland. I almost choked on my pizza. This guy was a top 5 pick all year long and fell to number 11. The Pacers needed both a 1 and a 2. He can play both, but is built as a 1. Pritchard got over and it showed in the summer league. He can create his own shot and handles the ball decent. He will develop little innate point guard idiosyncracies as he matures and plays more games. Pairing him with Roy and Aldridge is unfair. Bayless will actually make Greg Oden's job easier because all he will have to do is block shots and rebound. He will be the 4th option on offense now. Jerryd Bayless will be first team All-Rookie while his teammate Greg Oden will win Rookie of the Year.

Alton D. Clark
Basketball Genius

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