Rookie Rankings, Week 14: Take a Seat, Kid

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Another lottery pick has lost his starting spot.KCP Detroit Pistons

First it was Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, who began the season as a starter and has shifted back and forth from the bench to the starting lineup as teammates have become healthy or injured. To Oladipo’s credit, it has not had a serious impact on his performance.

Then it was Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore, who began the season as a reserve, was elevated to starter as coach Mike Malone became disenchanted with Marcus Thornton, and has played his way back to the bench.

This week, it was Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was moved into the starting lineup when Chauncey Billups got hurt and remained there for some time because coach Maurice Cheeks likes (a) his length and defensive demeanor and (b) bringing Rodney Stuckey off the bench.

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Gambling on the Eastern Conference: Long odds on everyone not named Pacers or Heat

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jameswade

Brain-twister for you today, folks.

Go back to the start of the 2005-06 regular season, and try to name a superstar player who has represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Your answer cannot include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo or Ray Allen.

It’s OK. Keep thinking … 

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Sheridan Hoops Rookie Rankings: Week 23

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Damian LillardThis is the final edition of the Rookie Rankings, and we will allow Kobe Bryant to have the final word on a race that was decided long ago.

Bryant is a student of the game who understands its history and normally is not given to hyperbole. So when he offers an evaluation of an opponent – most of whom he holds in disdain – it should not be taken with a grain of salt.

And here’s what he had to say about Portland Trail Blazers rookie point guard Damian Lillard.

“He’s spectacular … really fantastic,” Bryant said. “A lot of players get hot, but he’s got the moves, patience, intelligence, the balance on his jumpers. He’s the real deal.”

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Sheridan Hoops Rookie Rankings: Week 21

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MagicEarly next week, Rookies of the Month for March will be handed out. It is possible that Anthony Davis could end Damian Lillard’s stranglehold on the Western Conference honor, while the East will be a toss-up between Moe Harkless and Jonas Valanciunas.

Davis, Harkless and Valanciunas have yet to win the award. But as we approach the season’s final month, it is the time where many previously unheralded rookies make a name for themselves.

Last year, Atlanta’s Ivan Johnson broke through in the East as Kyrie Irving spent most of April on the sidelines. Ditto Denver’s Kenneth Faried after Ricky Rubio and Isaiah Thomas shared the first three West awards.

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Sheridan Hoops Rookie Rankings: Week 20

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El Magic Moe HarklessThis coming weekend, Moe Harkless will have to match up against both LeBron James and Kevin Durant for the second time in three weeks. But that doesn’t scare him.

Do you know what does spook the 19-year-old rookie forward of the Orlando Magic? Haunted hotels.

Last weekend, Harkless and his Magic teammates made a trip to Oklahoma City and stayed in the Skirvin Hilton, which is supposedly haunted. After his first stay there, Harkless may be a believer. 

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