Updated NBA Rookie Rankings 11/22/09

November 22, 2009

Since our first Rookie Rankings article earlier this month, we have seen one 55-point explosion from a future star, some steady improvement from others, and a few new faces who have received playing time due to injuries on their rosters.

Here are our latest rankings:

1. Brandon Jennings - Milwaukee

Forget about just the rookies, Brandon Jennings' 55-point outburst arguably was the best individual performance by any player in the NBA this year. And as impressive as that single game was, consider this: Jennings has led a team filled with mediocre talent to a winning record.

The Bucks' young star already has become the team's "go to" guy in crunch time, and that honor might not change when Michael Redd comes back from injury. Jennings' quickness, confidence, and better-than-advertised perimeter stroke have not only elevated him into a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate, but also have garnered him deserved All-Star consideration. He currently is averaging 25.2 PPG, 5.9 APG, and is shooting .519 from behind the arc.

2. Tyreke Evans - Sacramento

After moving to the 2 because of injuries to Kevin Martin, Evans has blossomed, producing several spectacular, high-scoring performances while averaging 18.2 PPG along the way. More importantly, he has been consistent from game to game, unlike during the earlier part of the season. Evans is coming off an excellent 29-point, 10-assist effort Friday night against Dallas.

3. Darren Collison - New Orleans

Has Chris Paul become the new Wally Pipp? Of course not. Nevertheless, Paul's injury got Collison off the bench, and suddenly an NBA player has emerged.

Thus far, Collison has exhibited sound defense, and the ability to run an offense and knock down shots. He played very well in crunch time last week against Steve Nash and the Suns, and last night had a breakout performance with 22-points and 11-assists. In his last six games, Collison is averaging 14.5 PPG. Makes you wonder why Ben Howland insisted on a walk-it-up offense at UCLA with this guy on his roster.

4. Jonny Flynn - Minnesota

Flynn continues to be a steady and productive starter at the point for a bad Timberwolves squad. With few knockdown shooters on the roster and big man Kevin Love still on the mend, Flynn has few passing options and figures to have some ups and downs in what could be a long year.

5. Ty Lawson - Denver

Lawson continues to provide valuable backup minutes for Chauncey Billups thanks to his energy and attacking style of play. Although he is on an elite team and does not get the same number of touches as some other rooks, Lawson makes the most of his opportunities, as evidenced by his .550 shooting from three-point land.

6. Marcus Thornton - New Orleans

Thorton has proven that he can score at the NBA level thanks to his nice jumper. A real find in the second round, Thornton has given the otherwise punchless Hornets some decent firepower off the bench in recent games.

7. James Harden - Oklahoma City

After several ho-hum performances earlier in the year, Harden got hot last week from three-point land and exploded for two 20-plus point games. A team guy who doesn't force shots, Harden's coaches now might ask him to become a bit more selfish given his recent outburst. He currently is shooting .474 from behind the arc.

8. Stephen Curry - Golden State

Amid the chaotic atmosphere of Golden State, Curry has quietly plugged along with his unselfish team play. Curry has yet to have an explosive game thus far, but that is to be expected given the abundance of high volume shooters on the roster. Meanwhile, Curry continues to play within himself by passing to the open man and knocking down jumpers when open.

9. Terrence Williams - New Jersey

Williams has shown steady growth throughout the year while playing on a bad team. His athleticism, rebounding, and willingness to compete should provide him with a regular spot in the Nets' rotation.

10. Chase Budinger - Houston

Budinger has been a mainstay in the Rockets' rotation, as he has provided quality three-point shooting off the bench in limited minutes. When given an opportunity, Budinger thus far has proven to be productive.

Honorable Mentions:

Tyler Hansbrough - Indiana
DeMar DeRozan - Toronto
Rodrique Beaubois - Dallas
Taj Gibson - Chicago
Sam Young - Memphis
Jonas Jerebko - Detroit
Toney Douglas - New York
Wesley Matthews - Utah
Eric Maynor - Utah
Omri Casspi - Sacramento
DeJuan Blair - San Antonio
Jodie Meeks - Milwaukee

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com

1 comment:

  1. Looks like it will be a 2 man ROY race between Jennings and Griffin, and right now Jennings is the favorite.


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