Sheridan Hoops Rookie Rankings: Week Six

Here at Sheridan Hoops, we’d like to think that we’re a little ahead of the NBA curve. Warriors

Case in point: This morning, most of the basketball world is talking about how the Golden State Warriors went into Miami and stunned the defending champions by making more plays down the stretch of a hard-fought game.

Three days ago, however, we already had made the case that the Warriors have been the biggest surprise of this season and have been flying under the mainstream media’s radar, which only tracks the Lakers, Heat, Lakers, Knicks, Thunder, Heat, Lakers, Celtics, Knicks and Clippers, in that order.

The Warriors have been starting two rookies for much of the season – small forward Harrison Barnes, a mainstay in our Rookie Rankings, and center Festus Ezeli, who throws his awesome physique around until coach Mark Jackson decides to go small with David Lee at center.

But Golden State also has a third rookie in its rotation – combo forward Draymond Green, who scored the winning basket against Miami just minutes after trading verbal jabs with LeBron James.

Green doesn’t score the way Barnes does; he is averaging just 2.7 points and has yet to crack double figures. But he is taking fourth-quarter minutes from his more ballyhooed teammate with his ability to defend and rebound, which Jackson has emphasized all season.

In the last four games, Green is averaging 4.8 points and 8.5 rebounds in 25 minutes per game, more than double his burn in November. More important, he has played 36 of a possible 48 fourth-quarter minutes during that span as he gains Jackson’s trust.

He also has gained the respect of James, who admired that the 22-year-old from Michigan State did not back down from his matchup with the game’s best player.

“He played hard, it was great competition out there between me and him,” James said. “I’ve also respected him especially in college, a big-time player and no one really gave him a shot, but you can tell he knows how to play the game.

“Any team that got him he will find a way to get minutes because he knows how to play the game and (Golden State) is a good fit for him. It was good to see him out there.”

As we discussed Monday, Golden State’s success is primarily due to its much-improved defense and worst-to-first rebounding. The additions of savvy veterans Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack have deepened their bench. And it helps that Stephen Curry is healthy.

But no team is getting a bigger collective boost from its rookies than the Warriors.

On to the rankings.

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Comments

  1. Jeremy says

    hard to say you’re ahead of the curve and have Singler in your top 10 but Drummond only on the watch list. Just sayin’

  2. Zulu says

    Another player to watch is Marcus Teague. I thought he played well against D-Will the other night and has been decent as a defender in 4th quarter minutes, for Thibideau no less. Granted he may be back on the bench when Henrich returns.

  3. john steppling says

    I do not grasp why so many journalists want to keep hyping Harrison Barnes. The reason his minutes shrunk isnt just that Green is a better defender but that Barnes is also , in this equation, a VERY BAD defender. Does not deserve to be in top ten. Tyler Zeller does all the things not in a stat sheet and if you doubt that, watch him in the cavs win over the lakers. MKG is just getting better….a bad team, but one that works hard and gilchrist is an impact defender. Its tough to rank guys when so many get so little playing time. But thats the way it is…so I would also nominate Terrence Ross. Not a huge number of minutes, and on a really bad team right now……but Ross has played very well considering the team is in meltdown. Ezeli probably deserves to be on there over barnes, too, actually. One of the reasons went from bad to good on defense is because of Ezeli.

    • Chris says

      John,

      Thanks for reading and appreciate the input/disagreement. I watch as much ball as I can while keeping my marriage alive and track all of the guys you say are worth mentioning. I did elevate three guys this week. I like Zeller, just wanna see a little more from him. The Raps should just turn Ross loose now. But scoring counts; only 25 percent of the league averages double figures, so if you can come in and do it right away, you’re pretty good. CB

      • john steppling says

        thanks chris, love reading your stuff. You know, two things i was right about last year were that austin rivers was going to be a bust, and that Zeller was woefully undervalued. Barnes is a good player, just not a guy I see having a special career of any sort. As a foot note…..ben hansbrough might make this list soon. I was surprised he didnt get drafted…..i know he’s not overly quick, but he’s not as bad as all that and he’s also as nuts intense as his big brother, and most importantly is a phenomenal shooter. Final add….miles plumlee is going to eventually get played and is going to have an impact. NOBODY seems to agree with me on this, but mark my words. Thanks again for the response.

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