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Irving, Fredette favorites for ROY

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Irving, Fredette favorites for ROY

Now that the NBA draft is complete and the best prospects from both the NCAA and abroad have found homes, it's not too early to begin thinking about what these players can contribute as rookies.

My projection system translates NCAA performance to the pros using the performance of past rookies and adjusting for strength of schedule. To that is added the pace at which each newcomer's NBA team played last season and a guess at minutes per game to create a projected stat line. Here's a look at the most impressive of next season's rookies (whenever they finally get to take the floor):

Kyrie Irving: 35.0 mpg, 14.9 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.4 rpg
We've projected Irving to play 35 minutes a night for the Cleveland Cavaliers. That's a little lower than the averages for his predecessors as point guards taken No. 1 overall after one year in college, Derrick Rose and John Wall, but neither of those players went to a team with a veteran point guard like Baron Davis.

Given that, Irving's projection compares very favorably to Rose's rookie line (16.8 ppg, 6.3 apg). Wall averaged far more assists (8.4) but shot just 40.9 percent from the field. Irving has a chance to be the most efficient scorer of the group as a rookie, thanks to a projection that calls for 40 percent accuracy beyond the arc. His projected .591 True Shooting Percentage would be far superior to both Rose (.514) and Wall (.494), who were well below average as rookies.

Derrick Williams: 28.0 mpg, 13.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.1 apg
Williams' role is a little more difficult to project. Conservatively, he figures to play somewhere around 28 minutes a night, seeing action at both forward positions for the Minnesota Timberwolves. This projection doesn't account for how moving to the perimeter might affect Williams' performance, so feel free to subtract a rebound or even two per game off that total.

The more important numbers for Williams as a small forward will be his 3-point percentage and his free throw attempts. Williams got to the free throw line more frequently than any other go-to scorer in the country at Arizona, padding his numbers. He also made 56.8 percent of his shots from downtown, one reason a move to small forward is even possible. Williams won't be that effective from the longer line, but if he keeps his percentage in the high 30s, he'll remain efficient.

Tristan Thompson: 28.0 mpg, 8.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.1 apg
The Cavaliers did not select Thompson based on the promise of instant production, and even if he takes all 28.2 minutes per game former Cleveland power forward J.J. Hickson played last season, he's unlikely to crack double-digit scoring. Thompson struggles to create his own shot, and when he gets to the free throw line it's an adventure (Thompson shot 48.7 percent last season). Where he will contribute is on the offensive glass (a projected 3.0 offensive boards per game, which would have put him tied for ninth in the league in 2010-11) and as a shot blocker (1.2 per game, which would have matched Anderson Varejao for tops on the Cavaliers).

Jan Vesely: 25.0 mpg, 8.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.4 apg
Of the three players taken directly from Europe in the top 10 (thereby not counting Utah's Enes Kanter, who has no projectable stats), Vesely is the only one certain to play in the NBA right away. If so, he's unlikely to dazzle with his numbers but could contribute to the Wizards nonetheless. The strength of Vesely's game from a statistical standpoint is his finishing ability. His projected 55.4 percent shooting on 2-point attempts is far better than any NCAA prospect's projection.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Knight
Bob Kupbens/Icon SMIJohn Calipari's guards have outperformed their rookie projections in recent seasons, which bodes well for Brandon Knight.

Brandon Knight: 24.0 mpg, 8.0 ppg, 2.7 apg, 2.2 rpg
Knight gets plugged into the combo guard role played by Tracy McGrady for the Pistons a year ago. As compared to his predecessors at the point for John Calipari (Rose, Wall and Tyreke Evans), Knight is not nearly as ready to contribute immediately -- especially as a passer. The upside is that all of those players significantly outperformed their rookie-year projections because the NBA's rules regarding contact on the perimeter made them dangerous off the dribble.

Kemba Walker: 20.0 mpg, 8.6 ppg, 2.3 apg, 2.3 rpg
Despite being ready to contribute, Walker might have a difficult time carving out a major role as a rookie with the Charlotte Bobcats, with D.J. Augustin established as a starter at the point. Augustin came out of college with similar statistics and has already gone through the difficult adjustment to the NBA, giving him the upper hand in the battle for playing time. Bump up Walker's projection to 35 minutes a night and his numbers look a lot more like Irving's: 15.1 ppg, 4.0 apg and 4.0 rpg.

Jimmer Fredette: 32.0 mpg, 17.0 ppg, 3.7 apg, 2.5 rpg
The leading projected rookie scorer is the No. 10 pick, Fredette. Because he carried such a heavy load at BYU, Fredette's projection doesn't quite match the role he will likely play for the Kings. Expect Fredette to use less than the 27.3 percent of Sacramento's plays his projection calls for, while at the same time shooting much better from the field than his projections (39.7 percent on 2s, 33.6 percent on 3s). Entering the NBA, Stephen Curry had similar projections but ended up shooting 43.7 percent from long distance. As a likely starter for a fast-paced team, Fredette has a chance to put up big enough numbers and win Rookie of the Year.

Two dark-horse rookies: Kenneth Faried and Markieff Morris
If the rookie of the year is to come outside the top 10, the two most likely candidates are power forwards Faried and Morris, both of whom are ready to contribute in the NBA immediately. If Faried can carve out 25 minutes a night for the Denver Nuggets, who are in need of a starter at the position with Kenyon Martin headed for free agency, his projection calls for 8.4 rebounds a night. Morris faces more competition for playing time in Phoenix and is unlikely to match Faried's eye-popping rebounding numbers, but expect him to be one of the league's most efficient rookie scorers.


surve
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Interesting...and highly

Interesting...and highly probable in most instances....but one thing could severly affect Jimmer's stat line is his defense. If his defense is good enough he can do those numbers, if not, he wont play enough minutes. I could see his minutes around 18-22 if his defense proves to be mediocre.

GottaBeTheShoes
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He doesn't even project Alec

He doesn't even project Alec Burks... I would have found that interesting.

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Everyone naturally has the

Everyone naturally has the instinct to over-project rookies. I know these aren't personal projections (they're based on college-tonba- adjustment) but they're still really good. Very measured.

Jimmer's usage rate naturally projects him to score 17. While that might not be ridiculous if he has free reign at the point, if the Kings re-sign Thornton, there's no way he gets more than 14. Thornton aveaged 21 with the Kings in 20 games and Evans is their best player; Jimmer will be the third guard option.

In 28 minutes Tristan will do better than 8 and 5. Not much better, but I'm thinking 11 and 7 with 1.4 blocks. He was extremely efficient at Texas, especially on the glass, and averaged 13 points as a frosh on a good team in a power conference, so I really would be weary about using the word "raw." He just needs to develop a bit. The Cavs won't have a go-to in the starting lineup and he will absolutely clean up on the offensive glass.

Otherwise it all looks pretty accurate to me...

surve
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^^^

I second that about Tristan

surve
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for some reason I see Burks

for some reason I see Burks having an Evan Turner like season/stat-line. I believe both players will be very good players eventually, just not out the gate.

Burks:

19mpg

8ppg

3.5 rpg

2.5 apg

Jlv2012
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Get ready for your Holy Jimmerness!!!

surve
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wow...

this is kinda eerie to me, and I have NEVER been the one to compare Kanter to Horford, but given the depth chart and situation, it just hit me that I think Kanter will have a similar rookie season, but maybe not as many rebounds.

Kanter:

17-20 mpg

I think he gets very close to double fig scoring so I will say 9ppg

and about 6 boards per.

esperanzafleet69
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no chance that jimmer gets 32

no chance that jimmer gets 32 mpg... maybe 15 at best

surve
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^^^Jimmer Minutes

I would think they really hinge on what is going to happen with Thornton. If he gets resigned then more than 20mpg seems a bit high, but if he doesnt....I gotta say it is highly likely he gets 25mpg seeing the amount of minutes Head was able to log.

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rubio

what do you guys think his stat line is going to be? I'm pretty sure Kahn will start him from day 1, so i predict somewhere around...

32 mpg, 8 ppg, 7 apg, 1.5 rpg.

Also, theres no way Jimmer gets 32 mpg with Marcus Thornton still there. He averaged nearly 22 ppg in the 27 games he was with the Kings, and they finished 9-9 in their last 18 games, which is pretty good given they're the Kings.

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"no chance that jimmer gets

"no chance that jimmer gets 32 mpg... maybe 15 at best"

You're crazy as hell if you think Jimmer Fredette will only play 15 mpg at most next season. CRAZY. He probably will play close to double that, if not double.

"Jimmer's usage rate naturally projects him to score 17. While that might not be ridiculous if he has free reign at the point, if the Kings re-sign Thornton, there's no way he gets more than 14. Thornton aveaged 21 with the Kings in 20 games and Evans is their best player; Jimmer will be the third guard option."

I have doubts about Marcus Thornton being more of a scoring option next season over Fredette, and if he is it will probably be by 1 or 2 more points and 4 or 5 more attempts from the floor. I think by the end of the Kings season Fredette will definitely be the 2nd option on offense for them. Thornton isn't an ideal 2nd option on any team, even though he clearly has explosive scoring ability it's more ideal for him to come off the bench and score in spurts. And all of this is considering that Fredette will play a bunch of minutes at PG.

esperanzafleet69
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^^^ i was basing that off of

^^^ i was basing that off of the fact that their lineup would include tyreke and thorton.. not to mention with jimmer being such a defensive liability, hes going to have a hard time staying on the court.. i dont think thornton is a second option on any team either but until tyreke and demarcus cousins develop more he will be a decent player... once the rest of their team develops, i think thornton will still start and jimmer will be that offensive spark off the bench... thornton and tyreke are both servicable defenders.. and without the 2 way play from jimmer, i think he'll be seeing limited minutes..

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"^^^ i was basing that off of

"^^^ i was basing that off of the fact that their lineup would include tyreke and thorton.. not to mention with jimmer being such a defensive liability, hes going to have a hard time staying on the court.. i dont think thornton is a second option on any team either but until tyreke and demarcus cousins develop more he will be a decent player... once the rest of their team develops, i think thornton will still start and jimmer will be that offensive spark off the bench... thornton and tyreke are both servicable defenders.. and without the 2 way play from jimmer, i think he'll be seeing limited minutes.."

He's not going to have a hard time getting on the court, simply because no one on the Kings roster is very good on D. Marcus Thornton for one is a terrible defender, and he offers nothing else besides scoring. Fredette's defense isn't going to be a liability. He's not going to be a shut-down defender ever, and he's not going to be even above average, but most rookies have to adjust on the defensive end. And given that he'll be able to play PG and he can provide a big lift offensively, his defensive struggles won't hinder him as much as a typical rookie adjusting his full game to the NBA, thus he won't play 15 mpg. His defensive struggles being a concern and hindrance about his PT went away as soon as he was selected by the Kings, who are a young team without many defenders as it is. I'm willing to bet the house that he plays over 15 mpg.

surve
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hey man....granted, Reke was

hey man....granted, Reke was injured, but still, Luther Head played a hell of a lot of PG before Thornton got there and Thornton may be short term and bags packed anyway. If Jimmer doesnt get more than 15 min, he will be an automatic bust. As a matter of fact, I dont even think Sac wouldve picked him if they didnt plan on him logging more than 15 min as a rookie. He is an upgrade to Udrih.

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I am was waiting to see who

I was waiting to see who would be the first person to realize that with only three promising guards sharing the majority of minutes between two positions there will be plenty of opportunity for Tyreke, Thornton, and Jimmer to all average 25+ or even 30+ mpg. But no real point in waiting any longer...

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kemba

kemba is gonna get more than 20 minutes a game since they dont have a back up pg and he'll be taking a lot of those backup minutes from gerald henderson who will be coming back from that hip surgery.

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Iggy, I disagree

I think Thornton can be a 2nd scorer on a good team and I think he'll command more shots than Jimmer even if Jimmer is manning the point. Thornton wasn't just a good scorer but an EXPLOSIVE scorer last year for SAC, averaging 21.3 points in 27 games (23 starts), putting up 30+ a few times and 40 once.

But the Kings were 9-9 in their last 18 with Thornton starting; meaning, they were 9-9 with Thornton as a starter and 15-49 w/o Thornton as a starter, and that Kings team he was playing with when they went 9-9 was just awful, the same team that would've finished at 20 wins total without him. I am not saying Thornton should start, but if he can be the 1st/2nd leading scorer on a bad team and help them to a .500 record, can he be a 2nd scorer on a good team? Absolutely.

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Look at the team though.

Look at the team though. Thornton has never been a 2nd option on a good NBA team, and I think making him a 2nd option is a recipe for a team that's not looking to be competitive as opposed to a team that's looking towards being a very good team in the future. Thornton is a one-dimensional scorer along the lines of Nick Young or someone of the mold, and I don't see that type of player being ideal in a 2nd option role for a good team. I do think think that Thornton can be good in extended minutes (like 25-28 mpg) as an instant offense piece, but I think Fredette will be both more ideal to be the 2nd option and I think his role as a PG makes getting minutes for him much more important than for a guy like Thornton, who adds a scorer at a position for the Kings that has enough scoring. And it also hurts that Thornton can't be considered more than a below average player outside of his scoring skills. And you have to remember John Salmons is on the roster as well. I don't think Thornton will get the time, nor do I think he should get the time, to be the 2nd option.

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Kings traded the other Pg

Kings traded the other Pg just so Jimmer can play minutes. And the defense topic is overrated because many Players are bad defenders but still play alot if they produce on offense (and even become MVP's like Nash).

The Kings are a perfect fit because their coach likes the up and down run and gun offense (same offense he used back in college when his team lead the nation in scoring with Bo kimble)

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I may be wrong but I think

I may be wrong but I think that Thornton is a free agent, and with the players they already have I dont see them giving him the money someone will offer him.

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30+ minutes may be a little

30+ minutes may be a little high for Jimmer but there is no doubt he gets plenty of PT. The Kings management was just drooling to get Jimmer, plus they need to put as many people as possible in the seats and Jimmer is already more of a fan favourite than Thornton. I personally am not high on Jimmer becoming a good NBA player however, I do think he can become a serviceable scoring option. The Kings really are the perfect team for Jimmer no question about it. I see him playing 25 - 28 minutes a night and averaging around 14 a game. You also must remember when comparing Jimmer to Thornton that Jimmer is probably the better distributor even though that isn't saying much.

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robertfreeman

Thornton is a restricted free agent; all the Kings have to do is match any offer sheet he receives from another team. Since they have stated that resigning him is their number one priority I would be surprised if they do not match to keep him.

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