Predicting the NBA All-Rookie Teams
It's nearing the end of the regular season, and as the season ends, all the regular season awards are given out. One set of awards that isn't frequently talked about is the All-Rookie Teams. Some guys are locks, others will have to play well for the rest of the year to earn it. Remember, it doesn't have to be two guards, two forwards and a center. In fact, the positions don't matter at all, unlike the All-NBA Teams. It's been a weird season, with the condensed schedule, and these teams look different than I had expected them to. So read on.
First Team: Kyrie Irving
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1st overall pick in 2011 Draft
In what should be a unanimous vote, Rookie of the Year frontrunner Kyrie Irving is a lock for First Team All-Rookie. The point guard for the Cavs is averaging 18.9 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game, while shooting a very efficient 47.2 percent from the field, 40 percent from deep, and 87 percent from the line. Most importantly, he's leading Cleveland back to some respectability. Expect these numbers to go up as his minutes do, because Ramon Sessions was traded to the Lakers.
First Team: Ricky Rubio
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5th overall pick in 2009 Draft
Ricky Rubio is the main difference between this year's season of Playoff contention for the Timberwolves and last year's one where they had the worst record in the NBA. At least, he was until he tore his ACL, which will keep him out easily through the season. Before that, the point guard from Spain was averaging over 10 points, eight assists, two steals, and four rebounds per game. His defense and shooting efficiency leave something to be desired, but what's important is that he was not a bust, and that the Timberwolves are relevant again. He should be the other unanimous pick for First Team.
First Team: Kenneth Faried
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22nd overall pick in 2011 Draft
Kenneth "The Manimal Faried" is the same kind of player that we expected to come out of Moorehead State but just a bit better. In only 20 minutes per game, Faried is putting up a ridiculous 7.1 RPG and unexpected 9.3 PPG while playing better defense than anybody in Denver. He has by far the highest efficiency per 48 minutes of any rookie in the league. He's a hard worker with excellent overall athleticism and a huge will to win. He's both the best rebounder and defensive player coming out of the most recent draft. But we didn't realize that these things would quickly translate to NBA success, and we had no idea that he could score too. Great pick by Denver.
First Team: Nikola Vucevic
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16th overall pick in the 2011 Draft
Many people have slept on this guy, but he is good. Vucevic is about what you'd expect for a seven-footer who group in Europe but came here when he was a senior in high school. While he has the soft touch and jump shot of a Euro-big, he has the physicality of an American big that allows him to back down other players and be a force on the boards. His conditioning could improve a bit, as there is some more room for him on the depth charts, but six points and five boards for a guy averaging 17 minutes per game is not bad, especially considering that he doesn't get many touches. And 47.5 percent from the field is also nice.
First Team: Kawhi Leonard
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15th overall pick in the 2011 Draft
Kawhi Leonard has been about what the Spurs wanted. He's playing about 24 MPG, and he's putting up 7.9 PPG and 5.2 RPG while making just about half of all his shots and playing good defense. He's been reliable and consistent filling in for Manu Ginobili, and while none of his numbers are overwhelming, he has been as well-rounded as any rookie.
Second Team: Isaiah Thomas
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60th overall pick in the 2011 Draft.
At this point, it looks like Isaiah Thomas should've been in the lottery. Who would've thought, when he was drafted, that a team with Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, Jimmer Fredette, Francisco Garcia and Beno Udrih (at the time), would actually allow him on the 12-man roster? And now he's starting?!
Isaiah Thomas, believe it or not, has brought some sense of order to the Sacramento Kings in the 22.5 MPG he's played. He's averaged 10 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game, while shooting rather efficiently (for a King). Not only are his numbers good, but he makes the team for defying the odds.
Second Team: Derrick Williams
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2nd overall pick in 2011 Draft
I feel like if I wrote this in three weeks, he'd be on the first team, as he's only gotten better as the season has progressed, but for now, he's on the second team. In 21 MPG, Williams has averaged about nine points and five rebounds per game, which is about right for a combo forward, and his shooting averages have been... average, with 45 percent from the field, 31.2 percent from deep, and a mediocre 65.7 percent from the charity stripe. This includes a very poor showing in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. None of this is great, but if he can continue to play like he has recently, this will go down as a successful rookie season.
Second Team: Klay Thompson
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11th overall pick in the 2011 Draft
What earlier looked like a bust has turned out to be just what the Warriors wanted. Klay Thompson has great size for a shooting guard at 6'7", and I'm sorry Jimmer, but he is the best shooter in the draft class. Despite the fact that he was worthless up until February, Klay Thompson is shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc and 88 percent from the free throw line. Also, 10.1 PPG is pretty good for 20.5 MPG, and his defense isn't quite as bad as it originally was.
Second Team: Bismack Biyombo
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7th overall pick of the 2011 Draft
Despite the fact that Bismack Biyombo was considered a "project" when drafted last Summer, he's coming along nicely. In 20 MPG, he's averaging a very impressive 5.6 RPG and an unbelievable 1.85 BPG. His 4.5 points every night are actually more than we initially expected. Basically, he's been an exceptional inside presence, and if the Bobcats had more than some undersized guards to do the scoring, we'd forget about his offensive ineptitude completely.
Second Team: Brandon Knight
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8th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft
If he was on any other team besides the Kings or Bobcats, he would not get this award. But because he has been getting inconsistent minutes out of position on the dysfunctional Pistons, his lack of efficiency can be forgiven. In minutes that are rather low for a starter, Knight has averaged 12.6 PPG and 3.6 APG. Unfortunately, he's only shot 40.7 percent from the field. But the truth is, this guy is really a point guard who controls the ball. Instead, he's been all over the place with the ball not often in his hand. So for making the best of a rough situation, Brandon Knight makes the team.
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PG/SG Kemba Walker- 9th overall pick in the 2011 Draft. 27 MPG, 12 PPG, 4 APG, but a horrid 37 percent from the field. This can be somewhat forgiven as he's on the Bobcats.
PF Markieff Morris- 13th overall pick in the 2011 Draft. 19 MPG, 7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, but only 37.7 percent from the field. Has shown flashes of brilliance though.
PF Gustavo Ayon- Undrafted. A 26-year-old rookie who has earned all 21 of his minutes per game from hard work. He's averaged 6.5 points and five rebounds per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the field and making all of the hustle plays.
SG MarShon Brooks- 25th overall pick in the 2011 Draft. Thirteen PPG in 30 MPG. Forty-three percent from the field and 33 percent from three. A little bit more consistency would back up some of the hype he's been getting, but he has proved many right that he may end up being the steal of the draft.
PF Tristan Thompson- 4th overall pick in the 2011 Draft. 22 MPG, 7.6 PPG, 6 RPG, and 1 block per game. Forty-three percent from the field isn't great for a big. His defense has been solid, but he could definitely be earning more playing time. I'm still not sure why he was picked this high.
PF/C Lavoy Allen- 50th overall pick in the 2011 Draft. 15.6 MPG, 4.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG. 48.5 percent from the field isn't bad, as he's been playing out of position all year while filling in for Spencer Hawes. His defense and hustle are good too. It seems they could play him a bit more though.
G: Kyrie Irving
G: Ricky Rubio
F: Kawhi Leonard
F: Kenneth Faried
C: Nikola Vucevic
G: Isaiah Thomas
G: Klay Thompson
G: Brandon Knight
F: Derrick Williams
C/F: Bismack Biyombo