Rookie Rankings, Edition 4: Kings, Pacers Go Big With Rookies

Willie-Cauley-Stein

Right now, the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers have a lot in common. Both teams are on the cusp of the playoff race while being carried by an All-Star. Both teams have made a decision to go with a big lineup by reinserting a rookie who was injured earlier this season. And both teams hope things improve quickly. The Kings have gone back to starting sixth overall pick Willie Cauley-Stein at center, which moves monstrous DeMarcus Cousins to power forward and Rudy

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Rookie Rankings, Edition 3: Injuries Offer Opportunities

Boban

Even though he stands 7-3 and weighs in at 290 pounds, Boban Marjanovic has been easy to overlook. Marjanovic is a rookie center on the San Antonio Spurs and not part of their rotation. While other rookie big men such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis and Jahlil Okafor have dominated the headlines this season, Marjanovic has played almost exclusively during garbage time while also collecting 17 DNPs. But the giant from Serbia got a chance to be more than a cheerleader this

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Rookie Rankings, Edition II: But I Am a Rookie, Really

Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker and Julius Randle have several things in common. Both were lottery picks in the 2014 NBA draft – Parker going second to the Milwaukee Bucks, Randle going seventh to the Los Angeles Lakers. Both were one-and-done college stars from powerhouse programs – Parker from Duke, Randle from Kentucky. Both were supposed to be among the legitimate contenders for Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, both suffered serious injuries that ended their rookie seasons shortly after they began and put them on

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Rookie Rankings, Edition 1: Rebuilding Lakers Must Play Russell More

RussellLakers1

It’s time for the Los Angeles Lakers to get serious about rebuilding. The Lakers aren’t making the playoffs this season. They are 2-9, with losses already to Minnesota, Sacramento, Denver, New York and Dallas twice. One of their wins came against Brooklyn. The only thing between the Lakers and the bottom of the Western Conference is the New Orleans Pelicans, who have almost as many injuries as the 3rd Ranger Battalion. This is uncharted territory for the Lakers, who already have missed

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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

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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

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Rookie Rankings, Week 19: The Bottom of the Barrel

gordon

Whenever I’m asked if I have been watching the NCAA Tournament, I say, “No. I haven’t.”  That raises some eyebrows in my home state of Connecticut, where both genders of Huskies basketball have been winning national championships for nearly a generation and are followed religiously by the Nutmeg State’s hoops fans. But among the many reasons I don’t go mad in March is because over that same generation, the college game has become less and less of a barometer for NBA success.

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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

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