Sheridan Hoops Rookie Rankings: Week 14

Damian Lillard’s path to Rookie of the Year just seems to get easier every week.

In addition to his unwavering play at the game’s toughest position, the point guard of the Portland Trail Blazers has yet to miss a game this season, which many of his fellow classmates have been unable to say lately.

Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who won the first monthly award for the Eastern Conference, is out until he passes the concussion baseline tests after a scary collision where he was taken off the court on a stretcher while wearing a neck brace.

Washington’s Bradley Beal, who has won the last two monthly awards for the Eastern Conference, has been out with a wrist injury.

Detroit’s Andre Drummond, who may be the best rookie in the East, could be headed to the sidelines with a bad back.

Boston’s Jared Sullinger, who was just getting comfortable as the starting power forward, needs back surgery and is out for the season.

Minnesota’s Alexey Shved recently returned from a sprained ankle. Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas came back this week after missing 18 games with a finger injury. Even the previously durable Harrison Barnes of Golden State sat out a recent game with a knee problem.

In the cases of Beal, Drummond, Shved and Barnes, you have to wonder if the relentless NBA schedule is

Wizards rookie Bradley Beal

taking its toll. College and international players have nothing in their previous experience that can prepare them for the rigors of the NBA.

Unless college players are in an early season tournament, they almost never play back-to-back games, and those are always in the same city. They travel by bus as much as they do by plane, with most conference games no more than a couple of hundred miles away.

International players usually have one game per week in their league, most of which are in countries much smaller than the United States. They may also play in Euroleague, but that only adds one game per week with somewhat longer travel.

Last season, Drummond was on the University of Connecticut, which played 34 games, a total he reached on Jan. 1. Shved was on CSKA Moscow and the Russian Olympic team, playing 46 combined games, a total his team reached Wednesday night.

Given what they were facing as rookies, the fact that Drummond, Shved et al have somewhat broken down is not unexpected. While this does not in any way classify them as soft players, missing games can and does work against them when grading them among their classmates.

We hope Drummond works out the kinks in his back, Shved builds strength in his ankle and Beal gets his wrist to heal. It would certainly make for a more interesting rookie race.

On to the rankings.


  1. Thomas says

    Do you think Davis would have a legit shot at ROY if he played more minutes?? His PER and per/36m number are great, but Monty refuses to play him more than 30mins and often not even 20.

    • says


      I don’t watch them a lot, but what’s going on down there is befuddling. I don’t know why Ryan Anderson comes off the bench. I don’t know why Austin Rivers isn’t in the D League building his confidence. And I don’t know why Davis doesn’t play more. I think he should. As for PER, don’t know how many writers actually use that as a deciding factor. If they did, they would have to vote for Drummond. In my opinion, it’s another number. It’s not THE number. And if the Blazers make the playoffs, no one else has a chance. Thanks for reading.

      • stepxxxxz says

        just to say, exactly. WHY is austin rivers playing? (well, why was he drafted that high?) but clearly he’s not close to ready. And anderson off the bench? Its all very oddly managed.

  2. stepxxxxz says

    good points. Its always what makes this fascinating……….zeller had a bad week, but only offensively. But again, that team added speights and the rotation changed. Its tricky to evaluate these kids. Taylor and Hark on terrible teams………..Zeller on a slightly less terrible team……..who has helped their terrible team more? hard call.

  3. stepxxxxz says

    good list. I think zeller stays on there…….glad Bernard James got a hon men at least. Honestly, jeff taylor should be about number three……..the guy has been sensational and i feel validated for saying he should have been a top twenty pick before last years draft. And i would drop waiters down if not out of this list………he’s learning, but right now misses way too many shots and gets lost on D way too often. Barnes also continues to have defensive problems. I drop waiters and Barnes and add Zeller or even T Robb. Its so hard on awful teams like the Kings. Poor Tyreke, poor jimmer and poor T Robb………its impossible to really evaluate any of them.

    • says


      Thanks for reading. You make some fair points. But it is SO hard to consistently score in this league. Eleven players average 20 ppg; just over 25 percent score in double figures. Six rooks score in dubs. So I give that a little weight. Just thought Zeller had a bad week while other guys had good ones. And Harkless is on a REALLY bad team but he got it done this week. And yes, it’s tough sometimes. CB

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