Updated Top 10 NBA Rookie Rankings 2/4/10

February 4, 2010

Now that Clippers forward Blake Griffin will miss the entire year due to injury, this season's Rookie of the Year race will come down to a handful of perimeter players. Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings initially was the leader among those players during the first few weeks of the season, but now things have changed.

Here are our latest rankings:

1. Tyreke Evans - Sacramento

Evans' game took a leap forward when Kevin Martin suffered an injury, as the Kings were forced to look to their prized lottery pick to lead the way. Evans responded to the challenge by averaging 20 points per game and becoming the team's go to guy in crunch time. In fact, Evans played so well over the past few weeks that Kevin Martin trade rumors began to swirl around the league.

A strong, versatile combo guard who is tall and athletic enough to play either backcourt position, Evans is just a reliable jump shot away from being a perennial All Star.

2. Stephen Curry - Golden State

When Monta Ellis recently went down, Curry kicked his game up a notch with a couple of big scoring efforts. Now that Ellis has returned, Curry's numbers have gone down, but he still remains a threat on the floor. Curry also has made his mark on the defensive end, as he is among the top ten leaders in steals at just under two per contest.

The real surprise with Curry is that Nellie has trusted him to start at the point since Day One. A notorious rookie-skeptic, Nelson must have seen the obvious with Curry - he is wise beyond his years, an unselfish a team player, and a knockdown shooter from deep.

3. Brandon Jennings - Milwaukee

After an explosive start that included a 55-point game, Jennings has hit a wall. Not only are his scoring numbers down, but his shooting percentage and shot attempts have fallen drastically. Such reduced production is surprising, especially in light of the season-ending injury to guard Michael Redd.

Despite that downward trend, the guy is still averaging 17 points per game and 6 assists. The lightning-quick Jennings already has proven he belongs in the league, now he just needs to learn the nuances of being an elite floor leader.

4. Marcus Thornton - New Orleans

Quite simply, Thornton has become the steal of the 2009 NBA Draft. Passed over in the first round, the Hornets nabbed Thornton in Round Two and have been ecstatic ever since.

A tremendous spot-up shooter from deep, Thornton is an excellent complement to Chris Paul's drive-and-kick game. The Hornets undoubtedly believe in his abilities, as they shipped Devin Brown out of town and handed the kid the starting job. Thornton in turn has rewarded the front office for their trust, producing several 20-plus point games since becoming a starter.

5. Jonny Flynn - Minnesota

Playing in lottery-bound Minnesota has had one key benefit for Flynn - plenty of playing time. And while Flynn has had his ups and downs this season, all the experience he has gained along the way certainly will help him down the line.

Thus far, Flynn has proven that he can consistently break defenders down off the dribble and get into the lane. He has displayed good athleticism, a decent perimeter stroke, and has shown that he can be a pass-first point guard.

6. Darren Collison - New Orleans

Did any team have a better draft than the Hornets? The biggest problem for Collison has been getting minutes, as he has seen little time while backing up Chris Paul. However, when Paul has been injured, Collison has been outstanding in the starting role, as seen by his recent 17-point, 18-assist game.

A pure point guard, Collison can defend, run an offense, and score when asked. Expect big numbers from him over the next month now that Paul is sidelined indefinitely with knee troubles.

7. Omri Casspi - Sacramento

Casspi has been a real find for Sacramento late in the first round. An agile and mobile 3, Casspi plays with high energy and passion. More importantly, Casspi also has some skills to match the enthusiasm, as he is a proficient shooter from three point land.

8. Ty Lawson - Denver

Much like Collison, when Lawson gets substantial minutes, he shines. For now however, he serves as Chauncey Billups' backup, bringing an energetic, uptempo change-of-pace to the Nuggets second unit. Lawson is an offensive-minded point guard not afraid to look for his own shot. When he does choose to fire away, he has a reliable stroke from behind the arc.

9. DeJuan Blair - San Antonio

Blair has provided a solid inside presence for the playoff-contending Spurs. An excellent rebounder, Blair had a monster 28-point, 21-rebound game when Tim Duncan was out of the lineup. Blair is yet another successful late draft pick by the San Antonio brass.

10. Wesley Matthews - Utah

One of this year's big surprises, Matthews is an undrafted free agent getting regular rotation minutes for a playoff contender. Usually one to prefer veterans, Coach Jerry Sloan has given Matthews quality playing time because of Matthews' excellent, physical on-ball defense on the perimeter.

Honorable Mentions:

Chase Budinger - Houston
Taj Gibson - Chicago
James Harden - Oklahoma City
Sam Young - Memphis
Jonas Jerebko - Detroit

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com


  1. Don't sleep on Jennings. He can win the ROY award now that Evans is out with that bad hip.

  2. The Kings probably had the best draft. Casspi & Evans are the bomb, and Brockman is a beast on the boards. our future looks bright.


We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...