The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.
The perpetual clanging coming from this group makes an auto body shop sound like a library.
Among rookies averaging 10 minutes per game, Brooklyn big man Mason Plumlee is the only one making more shots than he misses. Cody Zeller, who is 7 feet tall, has gone 11 straight games making less than half his shots. Not one of the top eight scorers is shooting better than 41 percent.
Want more? Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Trey Burke are shooting 33 percent. Ben McLemore, supposedly the best shooting guard in the draft, is shooting 37 percent.
“I’m a shooter; that’s what I do,” McLemore said after a recent game.
Of course, the gang’s ringleader is top overall pick Anthony Bennett of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who could throw a life preserver from a fishing charter and not hit water.
Bennett missed his first 15 shots this season and was a brutal 5-of-37 before taking advantage of extended garbage time in San Antonio on Saturday to sink 4-of-5 shots and push his season percentage above the Mendoza Line to .214.
Here’s the good news: Plenty of previous Rookie of the Year winners also were mortar launchers.
Jason Kidd shot .385 in his first season. Allen Iverson shot .416. Chris Paul and Kevin Durant shot .430. And while this may sound impossible, LeBron James shot .417 as a rookie.
Even reigning Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard shot just .429. Among qualified rookies, he was 23rd in field-goal percentage. This season, however, he would be second behind the blistering .435 of Boston’s Vitor Faverani.
Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams – who like Lillard is leading all rookies in points, assists, threes and steals – is shooting just .403 and ranks fifth. McLemore is seventh. Caldwell-Pope is eighth.
Yes, the season is only a month old. But the shooting numbers of this draft class are on pace to be historically bad. And for as many rookies who will settle in and find a rhythm, there should be just as many who hit the wall, lose their legs and miss even more.
Hey! Can you knock off all the clanging? I can’t hear myself think!
On to the rankings.