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NBA Rookie Watch: 10/31/13
Posted By Joel Brigham On October 31, 2013 @ 12:00 pm In NBA | No Comments
Now that every team in the NBA has played at least one regular season game, HOOPSWORLD’s weekly rookie rankings can start to take form. The problem is that after only one game, the form they’re taking isn’t a particularly attractive one. With just a couple of exceptions, the rookies got off to a slow start on opening night, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen flashes of attractive qualities.
That said, most of these kids have a ton of work to do. Here is how the Rookie of the Year race is shaping up with 81 games to go:
#5 – Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
23 minutes, 2 points, 7 rebounds
Gobert was actually the first guy off the bench for the Jazz in their season opener, playing 23 minutes and hauling in an impressive 7 rebounds in that time. He’s still a very raw prospect with loads of work to do offensively, but without Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, that Jazz frontcourt rotation is pretty thin. Gobert could be this team’s sixth man, so hopefully with more experience will also come some more field goal attempts. For a late first-round pick, though, this was a solid debut, especially compared to some of the top lottery picks who flopped in their own first games.
#4 – Dennis Schroder, Atlanta Hawks
18 minutes, 5 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds
By no means was he the star of the show in his team’s opening night loss to the Dallas Mavericks, but this is the sort of all-around stat line we should expect from Schroder this year in limited reserve minutes. Jeff Teague looked pretty good as the starting point, so 18-20 minutes a night is probably the best we can expect from this kid unless Teague ends up hurt. Knowing that, 5 assists and 4 boards in only 18 minutes is pretty solid.
#3 – Vitor Faverani, Boston Celtics
27 minutes, 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks
Not mentioned in any of the previous Rookie of the Year watch articles, Faverani came on strong enough at the end of the preseason to earn himself the starting center spot for the storied Boston Celtics. His 13 points is the third-highest rookie scoring game of the young season, but he’s more of a defensive force that could end up among the league leaders in blocks per game by the end of the season. Already, he looks like one of the league’s more pleasantly surprising rooks.
#2 – Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
30 mpg, 34.6 FG%, 13 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.5 apg
Only Orlando and Indiana have played two games so far, but those two games have been enough for us to get a sense of how Orlando is going to use Oladipo. The minutes absolutely are going to be there, and he’s rebounding just as well as he did in the preseason. The problem for Oladipo looks like it will be efficiency, because he absolutely has not shot well in his first two contests. Still, there are only four instances of rookies scoring in double digits so far this season, and Oladipo is responsible for two of them. He’s going to be fine, and the Magic are going to give him plenty of floor time to fill up the stat sheet.
#1 – Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
36 minutes, 22 points, 4-6 three-pointers, 12 assists, 7 rebounds, 9 steals, 1 turnover
Well, that’s one way to introduce yourself to the NBA. Carter-Williams set the rookie record for most steals in a debut, but that was nowhere near the end of his impressive night. Ben Golliver of SI goes through the list of incredible things Carter-Williams accomplished as an individual in this game, but more importantly, the Sixers beat the HEAT to start the season 1-0. The stat line speaks for itself, but “wow” is an appropriate word for a young man that has so far exceeded literally everybody’s expectations.
Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers
15 minutes, 0-5 field goals, 0-3 three-pointers, 2 points, 5 rebounds
We’ll just chalk this crummy debut up to jitters. Bennett is a talented offensive player who just looked a step slow Wednesday night. He’ll be better than this more often than not.
Cody Zeller, Charlotte Bobcats
16 minutes, 1-6 field goals, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block
Zeller’s 16 minutes look pretty bad compared to starter Josh McRoberts’ 30 minutes, but that only happened because the former 4th overall pick was completely overwhelmed in his first game. NBA defenses are good, and it really kept Zeller from being effective on the offensive end. He’ll get the hang of it, just like Bennett, but the first one was not pretty to watch.
Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder
18 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds
Adams looked pretty good in his debut, even if the numbers weren’t particularly strong. They need his inside scoring, so he should remain a regular part of the rotation, probably playing about this many minutes per game.
Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings
17 minutes, 1-7, 4 points, 1 rebound
This should give you a sense of what kind of player McLemore is going to be as a rookie: Of his seven shot attempts, 2 were dunks and 5 were three-point attempts. He looked athletic and aggressive in his first game, but the results weren’t great. You can see the potential already, but he’s still got a ways to go.
Hopefully in the weeks to come, this rookie class will string together some more impressive performances. For now, though, we’ve got some surprises in our top five.
Check back next week for updated rankings, which will be based on a slightly larger (and therefore more reliable) data pool. In the meantime, leave your own thoughts on this year’s rookies in the comments section, or hit me up on Twitter.
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