Rookie Rankings, Week 21: Get a Grip, People. Wiggins is Rookie of the Year

Andrew Wiggins

In recent weeks, there have been a number of folks advancing the theory that someone other than Andrew Wiggins deserves Rookie of the Year. There was a piece that said Nikola Mirotic was more deserving. There was another that said the award should go to Nerlens Noel. There was even one that said the top rookie is Elfrid Payton. Get a grip, people. Mirotic, Noel and Payton all have had fine rookie campaigns. All three are putting together strong finishes to their season. And


Rookie Rankings, Week 20: April Fool’s Jokes and Rookie Mistakes

Elfrif Payton haircut

NBA players aren’t the only ones susceptible to rookie mistakes. NBA writers and editors are, too. I spent nearly 20 years in newsrooms, and every year in late March, we received a staff-wide email warning us of April Fool’s jokes masquerading as news releases. At a later point in my career, I became the one writing these emails, cautioning the staff. Be careful. Don’t assume, no matter how innocuous the release may be. Make a phone call. If something sounds hinky, it


Rookie Rankings, Week 18: Elfrid Payton is Rondo With Training Wheels

Orlando Magic Amway hallway

Rajon Rondo is now in his ninth NBA season. He has led the league in steals once and in assists twice. He is second among active players in triple-doubles. He has made the All-Defensive Team twice and the All-Defensive Second Team twice more. He is a four-time All-Star. And he has a championship ring from 2008 with the Boston Celtics. And he still can’t shoot. That’s the biggest gripe with Rondo, other than the fact that he can be more than a


Rookie Rankings, Week 17: The Lakers Finally Find a Good Pick

Lakers jersey sleeves

Following a recent game at Memphis, Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Jordan Clarkson left quite an impression on Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph. Clarkson scored a season-high 25 points on 12-of-18 shooting and added six assists. He kept the Lakers in the game until the fourth quarter, when the Grizzlies put their defense and talent to work and pulled out a 97-90 win. Afterward, Randolph was blown away. “That young fellow, he’s going to be good,” he said. “I didn’t even know who


Rookie Rankings, Week 16: Banged Up Bulls Get a Boost From Mirotic

Mirotic Feature

When Derrick Rose suffered a torn meniscus late last month, you could forgive Chicago Bulls fans if their reaction was, “Yeah, we’ve seen this movie before.” It was Rose’s third serious knee injury in less than three years, and in the grand scheme of things actually contained some good news: It wasn’t a season-ending injury. Four to six weeks? Hey, fantastic! Usually when Derrick gets hurt, it’s four to six months! We can deal with four to six weeks! And they can.


Most Improved Player Rankings: Can Injured Jimmy Butler Still Win?

Jimmy Butler

Devastating. That’s how most basketball fans would describe this past week, particularly ones in the Lake Michigan area. First came the news that former MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls was hurt again, the victim of a torn meniscus in his right knee. And now, All-Stra teammate and Most Improved Player candidate Jimmy Butler is out 3-6 weeks after hyperextending his left elbow. Bulls fans, and the NBA in general, have taken one giant, James Harden-sized kick to the man region.


Rookie Rankings, Week 15: For His Birthday, Wiggins Has a T Party


Earlier this week, we ran a blog post that led with the fact that Andrew Wiggins is running away with the Rookie of the Year race. What the post did not fully explain is how far ahead Wiggins is when compared to the rest of his classmates. It’s more than the injuries to fellow 2014 draft picks such as Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle which propelled Wiggins to the head of the class almost by default. It’s more than Wiggins


Rookie Rankings, Week 15: Sizing Up the Sophomores


Once a year, we take a break from evaluating rookies and examine how second-year players are doing. This seemed like a good week to do that. Because our Rookie Rankings run every Friday, this week’s cycle saw just two actual games played due to the extended All-Star break. And no rookies from our most recent rankings played in those games. Yes, we knew the trading deadline also was this week. But we didn’t think that would impact our rankings of sophomores. I mean,