Last 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.
This 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
This week, Damian Lillard set an NBA rookie record for 3-pointers, passing Stephen Curry’s mark set three years ago. But that is not his most impressive number. For virtually the entire season, Lillard has led all rookies in scoring, assists and free throws. But those are not his most impressive numbers, either. As this version of our Rookie Rankings is published, Lillard leads in minutes played. Not all rookies. All players.
Early 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
This 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.
As good as Damian Lillard has been in his rookie season, his impact on the Portland Trail Blazers ends April 17. That’s the last day of the regular season, and the Blazers are not making the playoffs. While they currently are just two losses out of eighth place in the Western Conference, they also are in 11th place, with Utah and Dallas in front of them. Lillard is not alone; most of this season’s top newcomers will be watching the postseason on TV. In fact,
Power forward for the Houston Rockets has been a revolving door. The Rockets have had seven different power forwards on their roster this season. At last month’s trading deadline, they took a bit of a risk and moved the two men who had manned the position for most of the season – Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris – in separate deals. That shuffling brought back Thomas Robinson in a deal that most believed was a fleecing of the Sacramento Kings, who gave
NBA scouts may have overlooked Bradley Beal’s best quality. When Beal declared for the 2012 draft, his combination of 6-5 size and excellent mechanics made him the top shooting guard prospect. After a slow start to the season – somewhat attributed to the injury absence oF backcourt mate John Wall – he has found his rhythm and is shooting better than 46 percent from the field since New Year’s Day. However, Beal also has shown remarkable mental and physical toughness throughout his