Derrick Williams and the 3 Rookies Sure to Come of Age After the All-Star Break
Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio have played like seasoned veterans in their rookie campaigns. They've both made this dynamic age of point guard play even richer, and with both being players so young, there's no telling what their ceilings might be.
None of the league's other rookies have played up to their level, but many of them started to get some traction before the All-Star break and should have much-improved second halves of the season.
Here are three rookies not named Ricky Rubio or Kyrie Irving who will hit their strides as the season wears on.
Tristan Thompson is the forgotten rookie in Cleveland, as he hasn't had nearly the impact of Kyrie Irving. That doesn't mean he's not a tremendous talent, though.
For Thompson, it's more about getting playing time than it has been about proving himself. He's been getting only 18.6 minutes per game, but his 13.6 points and 11.6 boards per 36 minutes indicate that he can produce when he's on the floor.
Before the All-Star break, he started to show signs of breaking out. He scored in double digits his last four games and had two double-doubles in those contests. He's also been hitting a high percentage of his shots over that stretch.
The Timberwolves are shopping Michael Beasley, in part because they want to give more playing time to Derrick Williams.
Williams was the second overall pick in the draft, so there's not a lot of question as to why the 'Wolves are looking to play the new cub in the pack.
He's averaged 14.2 points and 8.2 boards per 36 minutes, but much like Tristan Thompson, he's only played 18.4 minutes per game. Additionally, he's not getting those precious minutes alongside Ricky Rubio. Williams shoots one percent better, scores half a point more and grabs one more rebound when he's playing with his rookie counterpart.
The Wolves could have a sensational big three with Williams, Rubio and Kevin Love, but that won't happen unless they all play together.
Don't let his diminutive stature fool you—Isaiah Thomas is one of the biggest little-men in the league. Sacramento's rookie point guard is a flat-out scoring machine.
Thomas is averaging 16.1 points per 36 minutes, and he's just getting going. Recently, the Kings moved Tyreke Evans to small forward in order to start Thomas at point guard. As a starter, Thomas is averaging 19.3 points and 7.5 dimes a game.
Can anyone say Isaiah-mania?