5 2012-13 NBA Rookies Who Are Already Looking Overmatched

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 17, 2012

5 2012-13 NBA Rookies Who Are Already Looking Overmatched

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    The 2012 NBA Draft was one of memorable proportions. Some of the brightest future stars in recent memory have emerged from this class of prospects, thus garnering the extraordinary expectations of immediate success.

    As we've all come to learn, however, there is almost always a learning curve for an NBA rookie.

    For some, it is a matter of adjusting to the speed of the NBA game. For others, they must come to terms with the fact that they are no longer the most athletic player in their nation of opponents.

    No matter what the cause for their struggles may be, there is almost always a grace period that they must overcome. In this class of rookies, that has proven to be no different in the early goings of the 2012-13 preseason.

    The following five players just so happen to be the rookies with the most to prove and the biggest struggles.

John Jenkins, Atlanta Hawks

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 21

    Draft Position: First Round, Pick 23

     

    John Jenkins' preseason debut was one to marvel. In 21 minutes, Jenkins knocked down three three-pointers and finished with nine points and two steals.

    Unfortunately, Jenkins' glory would end there.

    Over the following two games, Jenkins appeared uncomfortable with the ball in his hands. He passed up a handful of shooting opportunities and short-armed almost every shot he took.

    After going 3-of-6 from the floor in his debut, he shot a combined 2-of-7 in the following two games. In turn, his minutes declined and his inability to adjust to the accelerated pace of the NBA game was on full display.

    As a sharpshooter, it is more than likely that Jenkins will find his way. He thrives in spot-up and catch-and-shoot situations, which presents a great deal of opportunities for the Vanderbilt alum to score in Atlanta.

    With Jeff Teague, Devin Harris and Lou Williams all facilitating, Jenkins should find himself at home. Until then, his inability to create his own shot is proving to be a gaping hole in his game.

    Questions about Jenkins contributing in any areas other than shooting have also begun to arise.

     

    2012-13 Preseason Averages

    16.7 MPG, 4.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 38.4% FG, 42.8% 3PT

Kendall Marshall, Phoenix Suns

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 21

    Draft Position: First Round, Pick 13

     

    When the Phoenix Suns selected Kendall Marshall with the 13th overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, many believed the team found Steve Nash's replacement. Marshall was coming off a college season in which he averaged 9.8 assists per game, good for second in the nation.

    He also shot 36.3 percent from beyond the arc in his two years at UNC, which suggested that he could become a quality shooter at the NBA level.

    Through his first two preseason games, we've seen the good and the bad. Marshall has dished out four assists in each of his appearances, which is an impressive number considering he is a rookie getting his first taste of NBA action.

    Unfortunately, Marshall is shooting 14.2 percent from the floor and has missed on all four of his three-point shot attempts. He has also turned the ball over 2.5 times per game, which is especially concerning due to the fact that he is only averaging 23.0 minutes.

    Thus far, the North Carolina pacemaker has been unable to adjust to the NBA's speed.

    Until he does, it appears Marshall could find himself with a relatively low slot on the depth chart. Goran Dragic was signed to become the team's long-term starter, while Sebastian Telfair impressed coach Alvin Gentry in 2012.

    Adjusting to the pace is key for this overwhelmed point guard.

     

    2012-13 Preseason Averages

    23.0 MPG, 2.0 PPG, 4.0 APG, 2.0 RPG, 2.5 TOPG, 14.2% FG, 0.0% 3PT

Austin Rivers, New Orleans Hornets

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    Position: Guard

    Age: 20

    Draft Position: First Round, Pick 10

     

    Statistically speaking, Austin Rivers appears as if he has had success. With respectable averages of 8.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, the 10th overall pick has filled up the stat sheet nicely.

    Unfortunately, the numbers don't end there. The thoughts of quality player, however, do.

    Rivers has attempted 11 three-pointers through four games, and he has yet to connect on a single one. That's right, folks, Rivers is a whopping 0-of-11 from beyond the arc this preseason.

    As for the way he's shooting from the field, it isn't much better. He is shooting just 30.7 percent after going 12-of-39 through four games.

    Furthermore, Rivers is committing 2.8 fouls per contest. This offers insight into how poorly he is positioning himself on defense, which is the perfect way to hurt your team's chances of winning games.

    Although Anthony Davis will be there to protect the rim, Rivers cannot simply rely on a teammate for safety. He appears to be overwhelmed by the speed of the game, which suggests that he will have a steep learning curve as a rookie.

    After that, however, don't be shocked to see Rivers achieve stardom.

     

    2012-13 Preseason Averages

    30.3 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 30.7% FG, 0.0% 3PT

Royce White, Houston Rockets

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    Position: Forward

    Age: 21

    Draft Position: First Round, Pick 16

     

    When you can't even make it to training camp due to anxiety, it's a virtual shoe-in that you will find your name on the list of the overwhelmed (via ESPN.com).

    White not only missed the opening day of training camp, but he displayed how unprepared he is for the NBA's pace. With three turnovers and four personal fouls to his name, it is difficult to truly defend the quality of his performance.

    Fortunately, White had a few fast-break opportunities to display his versatility and athleticism.

    Until White is able to travel with the team by plane and overcome his anxiety, the term "overwhelmed" will remain applicable. With his play appearing to be out of control and his body out of position, the disappointment simply mounts.

     

    2012-13 Preseason Averages

    23.0 MPG, 7.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 3.0 TOPG, 4.0 PFPG

Tony Wroten Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 19

    Draft Position: First Round, Pick 25

     

    From a statistical standpoint, Tony Wroten Jr. was marvelous in his preseason debut. Wroten dished out four assists, hauled in four rebounds and picked up two steals en route to 92-88 loss against the Chicago Bulls.

    This goes well beyond a stat sheet, however, as Wroten continues to display the same issues that NBA scouts had feared.

    Wroten Jr. is a phenomenal playmaker who utilizes his 6'6" size to overwhelm his opponents. He is also a very irresponsible playmaker who looks to force the ball into tight areas when there may not be the opportunity to do so.

    Such was on display against the Bulls when Wroten turned the ball over three times and nearly lost a fourth ball.

    This will be the story of his career early on, as Wroten is there athletically but not so much from a mental standpoint. Until he can adjust to the fact that there are players with an equal level of athleticism and greater standard of decision making, he will struggle.

    The stat sheet will look pretty, but the turnovers and irresponsibility will keep Wroten stuck to a seat on the bench for quite some time.

     

    2012-13 Preseason Averages

    19.0 MPG, 7.0 PPG, 4.0 APG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 3.0 TOPG