Grading the rookies (1-10)
We all have high expectations from each rookie drafted with a high pick or by our favorite teams. Some of them may be too high while we may sleep on some of these others rookies. What are your grades for these rookies?
Anthony Davis: 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.8 BPG - A-
-Davis played as well as everybody thought he would. He reminded us that he's a skilled defender and has what it takes to be a Marcus Camby/Tyson Chandler type of player on that end. He also showed how advanced his offensive game is, especially his faceup game. He rebounded well and defended hard. Shot a good percentage and showed flashes of greatness when given the minutes. My only beef with Davis is the fact that he only played 64 games this season because of nagging (knee) injures. If this is a sign of things to come, it may slow down his improvement but this could also simply be his body getting ready for the rigors of the NBA.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: 9 PPG, 5.8 RPG - B-
-What can you say about a guy that was drafted based on his potential, motor, and size rather than his skills. MKG showed that he has a lot of defensive potential and put up solid rebounding numbers given his age (19) and minutes played (26 PG). He also reminded us that he can't score. He has a poor jumpshot and a lose handle but he is 19 years old. He can improve both of those areas and continue to be a Gerald Wallace type of player that he has been compared to. In fact, he showed more at the age of 19 than "Crash" did at 21-22.
Bradley Beal: 13.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.4 APG - B
-Sure, he got off to a slow start and only played 54 games but the way he played January-March showed us why he was the #3 pick in the draft. He is the perfect compliment for John Wall and his improving offensive game can cause a lot of damage in the future when he and Wall get another year under their belts. Actually, had Beal played 75 games and at the same level he did in February, he could have had serious consideration for RoY. If I'm grading him on his success throughout Jan-Mar, I'd give him an A but based on the fact that he missed nearly 30 games and struggled to start, he stays at a solid B.
Dion Waiters: 14.7 PPG, 3 APG, 2.4 RPG - B
-The surprise pick at #4 played very well this season. He didn't shoot particularly well and missed 21 games but he overachieved. I, for one, did not think he would play this well at all and he completely proved me wrong. He outplayed Beal at the start of the season and, like Beal, hit his peak in February, the heart of the season. Like most of the other rookies, he dealt with injuries and missed a quarter of the season. He also has a terrible shot selection and was uninterested on the defensive end. Common for a rookie, though. Dion Waiters was, without a doubt, the surprise pick of the draft and he continued to surprise in the regular season.
Thomas Robinson: 4.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 15.1 MPG - C
-"Who is the most NBA ready prospect of the 2012 NBA draft?" That question was almost always followed by an immediate, "Thomas Robinson". T-Rob proved otherwise. Thomas Robinson could not secure a rotation spot in Sacramento and it was clear from the start that the Kings were in love with Thompson (his extension two-weeks after drafting T-Rob gave that away). Robinson was then traded to Houston, a team that lacked a true starting power forward. Robinson starting and playing heavy minutes was a no-brainer right? Again, T-Rob proved otherwise. He was often lost on the court on the offensive and defensive end. Silver-lining was that he played hard even when he had no idea what he was doing out there. Maybe next season he can snag the starting PF spot for the Rockets but this season was a disaster for T-Rob.
Damian Lillard: 19 PPG, 6.5 APG, 185 3PT FGM (Rookie record) - A+
-Damian Lillard, the last few months before the draft, rose his draft stock from a mid-1st to a top-6 and showed he was the best rookie of the bunch. The 22 year old took the league by storm and dominated his opposition. While he shot only 43% from the field, his efficiency came by way of high volume threes and great FT shooting. As a matter of fact, if I had never watched basketball in my life and you showed me a Blazers game, I'd say that Lillard guy is in his 4th year in the L, atleast. His domination at Weber St as well as pre-draft workouts put him in the position he is now and this guy has all the tools to become an All-Star in just two season in the L. If he can improve his shot selection and get to the line, I don't see why he can't be a 24 PPG scorer in this league.
Harrison Barnes: 9.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG - B
-Harrison Barnes did exactly what he needed to do for Golden State. Stay relatively healthy, knock down shots, and snag some boards. His defense came as a surprise this season and showed his versatility by doing all of the little things for this team. Run-TMC could have a reappearance in the Bay if Barnes, Thompson, and Curry could all get it going. Barnes did show his defensive potential this season and he could make a living as a Bruce Bowen with better slashing skills (or Luol Deng) if he continues to improve. While Barnes may not become the superstar he was often talked as in high school, he will be a damn good player in the L and this playoff experience will help him greatly.
Terrence Ross: 6.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 17 MPG - C+
-Terrence Ross is in a tough spot, in a middle of the road team filled with talented wings. Ross could be the next top-10 player in this draft to be moved if he doesn't crack the rotation next season. Sure, he's a Slam Dunk Champion and one of the more exciting finishers on a break-away but that doesn't transcend into easy minutes or efficient scoring. Ross struggled with his shot from seemingly everywhere this season, even after shooting 37% from the trey in college. There is a silver-lining with Ross though, he has shown that when given the minutes, he can produce. While playing 20-29 minutes a game (25 games), he averaged 11 PPG and 3.5 RPG while shooting 46% FG, 39% 3PT, and 79% FT. Well above his season averages. Only problem is, where is he going to find 20-29 minutes in a line-up featuring DeRozan, Gay, Fields, and Anderson? All of whom averaged more minutes per game than Ross.
Andre Drummond: 7.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.6 BPG - B+
-In terms of overall impact, he's a B to a B+. If you factor in the fact that he was drafted with the 9th pick and had low-expectations, he quickly moves to an A-. Consider the fact that he's only 19 years old and he's a solid A or even an A+. Dre shocked a lot of people, myself included, when he played with a motor never before seen. Drummond proved why there was so much hype for him coming into his first collegiate season. Regardless of how well he was playing though, he couldn't seem to muster any more minutes from the coaching staff although this team is clearly in rebuild mode. When he played 20-29 minutes per game (28 games), the 19 year old still averaged 9.3 PPG and 9.4 RPG. Ridiculous for a kid born in late '93. Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are set to turn Detroit around and bring back the pride to the Pistons. It may not be next season or the season after but when they finally start clicking, Detroit will have a Gasol/Bynum type of combination downlow with Monroe/Dre if they continue to play this way.
Austin Rivers: F-
-I'm not even going to bother.
I think you're overating these rookies some what .
I'm not grading them by comparing them to other NBA players or any other draft classes. I'm grading them based on this draft class and how it performed within eachother.
Would you not agree that Damian Lillard is an A+ when compared to other rookies this season? I'm grading on a curve.
Honestly and i mean HONESTLY, Damion Lillard definitely had a Breakout rookie season he definitely distinquish ed himself from the rest but in doing all of that I still wouldn't give him an "A plus" let me explain why.
The Blazers were not a totally better team this year ( I don't think lillard elevated his team) but lillard showed how dominate he can be as a individual)
The blazers did not make the playoffs ( if this team would have made the playoffs that would have solidified lillards impact and making it easy for him to merret that A plus you gave him)
Is my assessment fair?
I see what you're saying about Lillard.
It's difficult to gauge how much a rookie should elevate his team since, at the end of the day, they're still rookies -- regardless of age.
I also don't believe anybody thought the Blazers would make the playoffs in the Western Conference. As a team, they underachieved. Batum is one of the better multi-facet SFs in the L. Aldridge one of the better PFs. Matthews a very good defender in his own right. But we can't expect a rookie to turn a non-playoff team into a playoff team.
Hell, Harrison Barnes is the only rookie in the playoffs getting consistent playing time and his role could have been filled by another 3-and-D player in the L.
Its too much to ask of a rookie to turn a franchise around and make them a playoff team in their first season. A rookie's first season is a learning experience. Now that we know what he can do individually, it's time to see what he can do with the team.
Even Kyrie Irving, an All-Star, couldn't get his team to the playoffs or anywhere near. And some people consider him a top-5 player in the league.
First of all The blazers had a very realistic chance at making the playoffs early on in the season before they started to take a downward spiral.
And yes that would have been overachieving for this blazers team but it was still a possibility in the crazy western conferance we had this year.
Also who's to say what you can or can't or should or shouldn't expect from a rookie. I say expect the unexpected, I don't limit a players ability anythings possible. For instance Carmelo Anthony in his (rookie) year took the Nuggets to the playoffs that year. If you all could go back that far and remember, the nuggets were not a playoff team before melo.
I say all that to say lillard could have took his team to the playoffs but he didn't so thats one of the key reason I don't see his rookie year as a perfect one.
who in the world has kyrie in top 5? what the &$#%#&@!? yea hes good but he doesn't play defense and he hasn't even sniffed the playoffs yet
I think the only overrated player was Thomas Robinson with a C. Reading the synopsis you said this season was a disaster. I would give him a D at best. He still might make it in the league but like you said he was deemed the most NBA ready and rarely got off the bench. You were just being a bit too nice to T-Rob because he is a great guy.
I think you just don't like Austin Rivers, yea he didn't do what we expected but an F-? Naw
What grade do you think he should have gotten? He did nothing positive on the court and if his last name wasn't Rivers, he wouldn't have touched the NBA hardwood this season.
Didn't do what we expected?
Thomas Robinson didn't do what we expected. Royce White didn't do what we expected.
Austin Rivers shattered records in terms of being the worst player in the league receiving regular playing time. 8 or 9 players on a team get regular playing time. Meaning 240-270 players in the entire NBA get regular playing time. Austin Rivers was dead-last on a list of 270 players getting regular playing time. If that isn't an F-, I don't know what is.
Actually his last month before he got injured he was playing really well for his limited playing time, he was turning the corner before he got injured, he even pull his shooting percentage up from 34% to 37%, it probably would have risen more if not for the injury. He had such a bad start and that's really all you're looking at. Bradley Beal was shooting 37% before John Wall came back, it then rose to 41%, Dion Waiters was shooting 38% then he got benched and started playing better around February, he also finished at 41%. If you look at them all from February on, they were all playing good, only difference was Beal and Waiters got more minutes.
And I hate when people bring up that worst rated player stat. So he was dead last out of 270 players getting playing time, that still leaves 180 players who don't get to play. People create stats to prove points instead of using logic.
Also no one mentions Monty Williams using Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers out of place for 90% of their playing time. I know, Pelicans season ticket holder, went to 27 of their games. If you say a "D-" I'd probably agree but his last month alone keeps him from "F" territory.
This is off-subject, but tell me your honest opinion on Eric Gordon since you've seen him live this season.
Honest opinion. I hope we trade him, We could have gotten Klay Thompson but that won't happen now.
He doesn't have the legs to play anymore. For both injuries and fatigue.
1. Because of injuries he couldn't play back to backs
2. Because of injuries he still isn't fully healthy and may never be fully healthy again.
3. Because of injuries he gets fatigued really easy. Had no lift or wind after halftime.
4. He can still attack the basket with the best of them but because of his fatigue he couldn't do it all of the time.
5. Great in the Pick and Roll, that may have been our best play, he had the option of passing or throwing it to Roger Mason or Ryan Anderson.
6. He could be a point guard, in a Chauncey Billups style if healthy.
7. You can really tell he wants to leave, barely showed emotion on the sidelines of any games. Games he played in and sat out he had no reaction to the team.
8. He didn't help any of the other guys on the team. I think he could have really helped Austin when he was struggling and he never came to give any assistance when he was away or there. That's not just from my eyes, but it's pretty known around the city.
9. If he ever gets healthy, he'd still be a great player for any team that has him. People look at that 17 points and say it's bad, but considering the circumstances it was great. He could be a top 5 shooting guard like everyone thought if healthy.
10. Also Monty didn't coach him, (Monty really can only coach defense, yet we had the worst defense in the league) He let him play how he wanted to on the court.
He is correct Austin Rivers was horrendous this year and statistically he was the worst in the league by far. He had a player efficiency rating of 5.95. Of players that played over 20 games and 20 minutes per game Daniel Gibson was the next lowest with a rating of 7.75.
He had a value added grade of -96.4 and -3.2 estimated wins added which are blowing out the others for the honor of last place. Only 4 other players in the league had an estimated wins added lower than -2. To sum it up Austin Rivers played some of the worst basketball in the last decade of the NBA without a doubt.
Drummond gets an A+. Nobody thought he would be ready at all this year and he looks like he's going to be the best player from this class aside from AD. T-Rob gets an F he was supposed to be one of the most NBA ready rookies and he's been garbage. MKG should be in the C range and Waiters and Beal should get A-.
With the drummond comment. He probably had the most impact out of any rookie not named lillard and that's with limited minutes.
To be honest, the only reason I did not give Dre an A+ or near is because we didn't see what he would do with big minutes as consistently as guys like AD and Lillard (which played big minutes on a daily basis). I admit, he can and most likely will be a top-3 player of this draft in 5 and 10 years, though.
MKG got a B- because of what he did on the defensive end. He played very good defense, especially for a 19 year old and he also snagged 5.8RPG while only playing 26 minutes a game. Per 36 MPG comes out to 8.1 RPG for a 19 year old. Also, when he played 30-39 minutes a game (20 games), he averaged 12.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG, just over a block, just under a steal. His offensive game is M.I.A. but the defensive potential was showing, which was something statistics don't alway show.
The reason I did not give Waiters and Beal higher than a B is because they were not consistent enough for my liking. They both shot 41% from the field and missed 25% of the season. I can't give someone who only played 3/4s of the season and took terrible shots (Waiters) / missed open shots (Beal) an A, not even for effort.
I can't argue with you on T-Rob. I should have given him a significantly lower grade
Idk why the negs. This list isn't that bad.
nice job overall, thought Beal and Drummond deserved a higher grade
Good list TOL23 - you going to do 11-20 next ?
I was really thinking about it. If anything, I'll do it later tonight or Thursday
And i don't wanna nit pick but Davis impact didn't seem like a A minus type of feel. He was injured often and didn't dominate defensively like most people expected. He came along slowly if was to discribe his season
I'd give Drummond an A+. Expectations weren't high for him and he played extremely well in limited minutes.
Austin Rivers. Always thought he was overrated and cocky. The funniest thing was when he said he wanted to destroy Lebron when he got to the league. At one point during the season Austin was dead last in PER and I think yall know who was first. Good Luck Austin
Austin actually showed improvement late in the season. I actually see him doing a Jason Terry and exploding in his second season. Barnes is better than people think. I think he has been holding back and when given the time and touches will put up numbers and with that being said in a playoff game today he has shown that while shooting pretty well. Barnes is known to play within the offense to his detriment but always shows more the following year.
Man I thought F was the lowest grade you can get. F- must epic fail.
I liked your write up, I think it's pretty spot on.
Here is my two cents on Robinson. The guy was physically NBA ready, not mentally, as far as the speed and strategy of the game.
The guy is going to be a really good rebounder for years to come. For a guy who hit just around 15 mpg on the year, here are few impressive things to look at...21 of his 70 games he pulled down 3 or more offensive rebounds and 12 times he grabbed 4-7 offensive rebounds. In fact, Robinson was 55th in the NBA in offensive rebounds per game in only 15.1 mpg as a rookie who didn't get consistant minutes. The good is, that when he figures out how to stay on the court, he's going to be the dominant rebounder people thought he could be coming in.
The bad is that he was prone to bone head plays. Plain and simple. He turned the ball over too much, he tried to hard to showcase his perimeter and passing games when he didn't need to and he fouled a lot. That isn't going to keep you on the court for long stretches of time. It just isnt. He really has to improve those things, but he has gotten so much better and put so much work into his game over the past four years, I find it hard to believe he'll just stop working hard to get better and help his teams win games. I knew he'd start out the season slow, but I honestly thought he'd catch on a little quicker towards the end of the year.
All that said, I feel Robinson will be much improved as a sophmore. I think Houston is a better place for him, and although they have been known to log-jam his position and Terrance Jones was playing better at the end of the year. I've come to the realization he may be a year and half away from being ready to be a starter, but what he's best at, which is rebounding, he's going to be really good at, but he just needs to work his decision making and playing for McHale is a much better situation to do that in than playing for Smart for the Kings. I think he'll be a 10 rpg player in the league by his third or fourth year, but his offense is more in question that it was a year ago at this time.
I echo some of your comments, I have high hopes for T-Rob and with the variance in PT from Houston (getting none now which is understandable..don't mess with your lineup) and T-Jones giving solid minutes, I'm not mad with people being down on him. I do think he'll put in the work this offseason because he probably realizes he can be valuable to the up-and-coming Rockets.