Rookie Rankings, Week 23: MCW is the ROY

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Philadelphia 76ers SixersFrom his first NBA game, Michael Carter-Williams took hold of the Rookie of the Year award.

He immediately grabbed the undivided attention of all of us, going for 22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds in Philadelphia’s improbable season-opening win over the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.

Before the 76ers started losing – losing frequently, losing historically – Carter-Williams directed his team to two more wins and was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Not Rookie of the Week. Player of the Week. In his first week in the NBA.

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Rookie Rankings, Week 22: Not the Worst Draft Ever. Not Yet, Anyway

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Anthony BennettThere’s been some talk lately that the 2013 draft could be the worst in NBA history.

We could wait more than a year before jumping into the adjoining worlds of shortsightedness and hyperbole, couldn’t we?

Yes, this was a bad draft. We’ve said it ourselves several times. For the first time since 2001, the top pick is going to average less than five points per game. For the first time since 1988, the Rookie of the Year is probably going to be a double-digit selection.

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Rookie Rankings, Week 20: Who Will Impact the Playoff Push?

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While Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke chase Michael Carter-Williams for Rookie of the Year, a handful of anticother rookies are helping their teams chase postseason berths and higher seeds.

The Eastern Conference has three teams in the playoff chase whose finish will be somewhat impacted by the play of their rookies. The Western Conference has five teams in the hunt with rookies playing a prominent role.

The team relying most on rookies is undoubtedly the Atlanta Hawks, who have two rookies in their rotation as they try to hold off the New York Knicks for the final playoff berth in the East.

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Carter-Williams & Oladipo try to overcome rookie adjustments and obstacles

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Every kid playing basketball dreams of making the NBA one day, but some don’t know what to expect once they reach that level. For rookies Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams, it’s meant position switches, quickly being a team’s top option, dealing with the stress and rigors of a long season and being in situations they had never encountered or even envisioned before.

Both 2013 lottery picks played in New York City arenas this week and spoke with SheridanHoops about their experiences as we’ve reached the regular season’s halfway mark.

oladipo“I didn’t really know what to expect going into the whole thing. I just knew I was going to be in the NBA,” Oladipo said on a snowy evening in Brooklyn. Oladipo was drafted second overall by the Orlando Magic and immediately had expectations heaped on him as the player who could be the most talented player in the rookie class.

Then he found out he would transition from shooting guard to point guard. “The ball’s been in his hands, which is a tough task at this level,” Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn said. It’s an even tougher task when you realize he played shooting guard at Indiana University and was then told he would have to learn a totally new position in his first NBA season.

Oladipo’s been getting some one-on-one time with coaches and help from teammates like veteran point guard Jameer Nelson to get him acclimated to the league’s most demanding position. “I’m just trying to learn and keep growing as a player,” Oladipo said.

Rookie Rankings, Week 3: Trey Burke, Shane Larkin make strong debuts

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Trey-Burke-Utah-JazzLast week, we discussed how the race for Rookie of the Year is wide open because of injuries to several of the top picks.

No. 3 Otto Porter, No. 6 Nerlens Noel and No. 10 C.J. McCollum still haven’t taken the court this season. But a couple of first-round picks – both point guards – made their NBA debuts this week.

On Monday, it was Dallas Mavericks guard Shane Larkin, who suffered a broken ankle in the last practice before summer league. On Wednesday, it was Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke, who suffered a broken finger in training camp.

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