Award Watch: Rookie Of The Year
After taking a brief hiatus during the meat of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, HOOPSWORLD’s Rookie of the Year watch is back. While the usual suspects continue to play well, various circumstances have allowed a few other rookies play bigger minutes and more substantial roles. Here is a quick look at who’s ballin’ and who’s fallin’ in the 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year race.
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers – 25.7 points, 13.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, .552 FG% (This week’s stats)
Blake Griffin has been playing like an all-star since day one, recording 20 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in his first professional game. He hasn’t looked back. After a 4-17 start to the season, the Clippers have played some of the best basketball its fan base has seen in years (as sad as that may be), going 25-28 in their last 53 due in large part to the play of Griffin. The former Oklahoma star had his first career triple-double (33 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists) in the Clippers 127-119 overtime win over Washington on March 23 and his stellar play helped Los Angeles to a 2-1 week.
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings – 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists
Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins got off to a slow start this season but has started to become the player (on the court, at least) the Sacramento front office envisioned when they made him the fifth pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. There is no denying Cousins’ overall skills and as he has grown accustomed to the NBA game, he has put those skills on full display. The Kings won three of four games (all on the road) this week including an overtime victory at Philadelphia in which Cousins recorded five points, two rebounds and one assist in the extra frame.
John Wall, Washington Wizards – 18.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 1.5 steals
Wizards’ point guard John Wall is having a season that, in just about any other year, is worthy of winning the Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, Blake Griffin is around… The 6-4, 200 lb., Wall is lightning quick with the ball in his hands and boasts explosive athleticism. His raw abilities have allowed this neophyte lead guard to post huge numbers while, clearly, learning the NBA game on the fly. His competitive nature and love of the game are apparent when Wall is on the court and the former Kentucky Wildcat is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 16 points, 4.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists.
Jordan Crawford, Washington Wizards – 16.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists 1.8 steals
One year ago, Jordan Crawford was leading the Xavier Musketeers to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2010 NCAA Tournament while emerging as a potential first-round pick in the NBA Draft. Drafted by Atlanta, Crawford was stuck on the Hawks’ bench, behind the likes of Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford and Mike Bibby (who was sent to the Wizards with Crawford) but Jordan has gotten a chance to show what he can do during his short time in the Nation’s Capitol. He had a career-high ten assists (and his first double-double as a pro) to go along with 25 points, seven rebounds and four steals in the Wizards’ loss to the Clippers on Wednesday and has scored in double-figures in each of his last 10 games.
Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons – 11.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals
Greg Monroe saw limited action early in the season but has become a starter for Coach John Kuester and is proving to be one of the best two-way players in this rookie class. Monroe has a diverse skill-set, with solid ball-handling skills, great passing ability and tough man-to-man defense to go along with his ability to score and rebound the basketball. In three games this week, the former Georgetown star had 17 offensive rebounds (5.7 per game) and found ways to score without having many sets run for him.
Ed Davis, Toronto Raptors – 12.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, .567 FG%
This week, Raptors big man Ed Davis had back-to-back double-doubles for the first time in his young career going for 18 points and 11 rebounds against Golden State on Friday and 21 points and 11 rebounds against the Clippers the following night.
Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs – 8.0 points, 8.2 rebounds
With Tim Duncan out of the lineup, Tiago Splitter has gotten consistent minutes over the last week. The 6-11 forward responded by posting his first career double-double, including a career-high 14 rebounds, against Golden State on Monday.
Ekpe Udoh, Golden State Warriors – 9.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 blocks
Former Baylor star Ekpe Udoh missed the first five weeks of the season while recovering from off-season wrist surgery and after a slow start is showing signs of being a dominant defensive player in the NBA. The 6-10 forward shot .514 from the field this week while helping Golden State go 2-2.
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz – 4.0 points, 2.3 rebounds
The third overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, Utah rookie Derrick Favors has struggled to find his place in the NBA. This week, the 6-10 power forward shot just .333 from the field and had seven rebounds in 50 total minutes.
Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles Clippers – 1.0 points, 1.3 assists
After a hot start to his NBA career, Eric Bledsoe has hit the proverbial rookie wall. The 6-1 point guard out of Kentucky shot just .111 from the field this week and had as many turnovers (four) as assists.
Rookie of the Year Rankings – Top 5 (Season Stats)
1. (1) Blake Griffin – 22.4 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, .502 FG%
2. (2) John Wall – 16.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 8.7 assists, 1.6 steals
3. (3) Greg Monroe – 9.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals, .546 FG%
4. (4) Landry Fields – 10.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals, .504 FG%, .405 3FG%
5. (5) DeMarcus Cousins – 14.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks
Be sure to check back, here at HOOPSWORLD, each and every week as we continue our coverage of the 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the year. You can follow Luke Byrnes on Twitter or drop him a question for his weekly chat, held Tuesdays at 1pm Eastern time. Don’t forget to check out HOOPSWORLD’s coverage of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.