WHO'S HOT AND WHO'S NOT
Eastern Conference Rookie: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors – The former USC Trojan has seen plenty of ups and downs through the first few months of his NBA career, but his solid play of late has helped lift Toronto (which has won eight of its last ten games) to .500 and into sixth place in the Eastern Conference. DeRozan averaged 10.3 points per game this week while shooting a remarkable .684 from the field as the Raptors went 2-1 this week.
Western Conference Rookie: Jon Brockman, Sacramento Kings – Brockman's teammate, Tyreke Evans, Ty Lawson and Jonny Flynn got consideration here, but Brockman has been a huge surprise for the Kings and is proving to be a force on the glass as he plays his way into Coach Paul Westphal's rotation. In his first NBA start, Brockman set career-highs in minutes (38) and rebounds (12) as the Kings pulled out a 102-100 win over the Northwest Division-leading Denver Nuggets on Saturday. The 6-7 power forward out of Washington averaged eight rebounds and a steal in three games this week and, with his effort and nose for the ball, will likely see his playing time continue to grow.
Eastern Conference Sophomore: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls – I know, I know. This is the third consecutive week that Rose has been tabbed here, but his play of late is too difficult to ignore. And nobody else has stepped up and knocked him from this perch. Rose seems to have shaken the ankle injury that slowed him for the first several weeks of the season and has the Bulls playing competitive basketball once again, although Chicago lost two of three this week. Rose averaged 19 points, 8.3 assists, and four rebounds while shooting .471 from the field.
Western Conference Sophomore: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves – Love's sophomore season was put on hold by a hand injury but his 12.4 rebounds per game this season would be good for second in the NBA (behind Dwight Howard) if he had played enough games to qualify amongst league-leaders. This week, Love averaged 13 boards (4.7 offensive), 16.7 points, three assists and one block per game as the Timberwolves went 1-2. Minnesota has seen its offensive production sky-rocket with Love in the line-up, averaging 91.5 points per game without Love and 100.3 with him.
Eastern Conference Team: Toronto Raptors – Milwaukee had a good week (going 3-1 with its lone loss coming to the Lakers) but Toronto, for the second time in three weeks, takes the top spot here after a pair of road wins over the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers to start the week before falling to the Boston Celtics on Sunday. Chris Bosh averaged 26 points and 11.3 rebounds for the week and his late second heroics lifted the Raptors over the Sixers on Friday.
Western Conference Team: Los Angeles Clippers – It was tough to overlook the surging New Orleans Hornets (who have now won six straight and sit .5 game outside of the Western Conference playoff race) here but the Clippers went 3-0 this week, extending their win streak to four, against a trio of playoff teams, including the defending NBA champion Lakers. The Clippers did it with defense, allowing the Blazers, Lakers and HEAT to score an average of just 90 points per game.
Eastern Conference Rookie: Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks – After the first few weeks of the season, and a 55-point outburst in just his seventh NBA game, it looked as if Jennings was a lock for the 2010 Rookie of the Year award. Now? Not so much… Jennings came crashing back to earth this week, making a meager 8-34 shots from the field (.235) while averaging eight points per game as the Bucks, somehow, won two of three games.
Western Conference Rookie: Eric Maynor, Oklahoma City Thunder – Maynor struggled shooting the ball for his (relatively) new club this week, making just 5-14 field goals (.357) and averaging four points per game. The former Virginia Commonwealth star was held scoreless in Oklahoma City's 108-102 victory over Indiana on Saturday while missing all three of his field goal attempts in 12 minutes of action.
Eastern Conference Sophomore: Marreese Speights, Philadelphia 76ers – After a hot start to the season, Speights has cooled significantly and his minutes are disappearing quickly as a result. The 6-10 forward shot .333 from the field and averaged just five points and 3.3 rebounds as the Sixers lost two of three games this week. Speights six minutes on Saturday night was a season low and the Florida product hasn't recorded a blocked shot since the New Year.
Western Conference Sophomore: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies – Gasol has seen his touches diminish recently and his performance otherwise has suffered of late. While taking two fewer shots per game than his season average over the last week, one might expect a drop-off in scoring (Gasol scored 9ppg, down from 14.5 on the season), but the big fella averaged just 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 turnovers as the Grizzlies went 2-2 this week.
Eastern Conference Team: Orlando Magic – Orlando lost three of four games this week, including seven-point defeats at the hands of the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards, both of whom were playing without their top scorers (Danny Granger and Gilbert Arenas, respectively). The Magic bounced back with a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday and extending Orlando's lead in the Southeast Division to 1.5 games.
Western Conference Team: Los Angeles Lakers – Sure, the Lakers were 2-2 this week, but the defending champs are now just 8-5 on the road after dropping their last three road contests. Los Angeles (29-8) currently has the best record in the NBA, but has been inconsistent at best this week while the league's fourth-best offense (103.9ppg) averaged just 92.5 points per game in its last four contests.