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 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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Bernucca: Mythbuster Brad Stevens No Longer a “College Coach”

Brad stevens Celtics

With the NCAA Tourament upon us, it seems like as good a time as any to remind everyone that there is a canyon between coaching in college and coaching in the NBA. There is more than a generation of evidence which clearly illustrates that any NBA team hiring a head coach directly from college is making a huge mistake. P.J. Carlesimo. Tim Floyd. Leonard Hamilton. Lon Kruger. Mike Montgomery. Jerry Tarkanian. Rick Pitino, who failed twice. Even John Calipari, who is

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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

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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.

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

wiggins

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

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Rookie Rankings, Week 14: McGary Gives Thunder a Bolt of Energy

Thunder jersey sleeves

Mitch McGary was unexpectedly thrown into the spotlight this week. He’s going to be there a while. The burly rookie forward of the Oklahoma City Thunder had spent most of his first NBA season recovering from injuries while toiling in the D-League. Prior to Sunday, he had played just eight minutes over two games this season while averaging 14.7 points and 7.8 rebounds in eight games for the Blue, Oklahoma City’s affiliate. But on Sunday, the Thunder were hosting the Los Angeles

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