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NBA Rookies 2012: 1st-Year Pros with Most Seamless Transitions to League

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 12:  Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the preseason NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on October 12, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Trail Blazers 104-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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David DanielsSenior Writer INovember 4, 2012

Transition periods are for suckers.

For the vast majority of NBA rookies, it takes time to adapt to the pro game. But in the 2012 class, there are a few players that would laugh at such an idea. They effortlessly adjusted from scoring on college defenders to ones in the league.

Here are three first-year ballers who’d be difficult to identify as rookies.                  

 

3. Dion Waiters

Dan Gilbert has to be asking, “Who’s laughing now?”

The Cleveland Cavaliers were highly criticized for selecting the Syracuse sixth man fourth overall. But the prospect labeled as extremely raw has exploded out of the starting blocks.

Waiters is averaging 12.3 points per game, a PER of 18.13 and shooting 44.4 percent from downtown. Through the first week of the season, he’s the third-highest scorer among rookies.

 

2. Anthony Davis

Everyone expected Davis to dominant defensively from Day 1. On the other end of the floor, though, he was supposed to struggle.

So much for that.

With Eric Gordon out with an injury, Davis is the New Orleans Hornets’ leading scorer with 14.5 points per game—the second-highest rookie mark thus far. He’s also averaging 6.5 boards, 1.5 blocks and a staggering 25.87 PER.

 

1. Damian Lillard

Lillard was drafted into an ideal situation on the Portland Trail Blazers. He didn’t have to be the man thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge. And with nothing at point guard, he still had to be a focal point of the offense.

Combine that with the fact he was the most polished scorer in the 2012 class, and he's an obvious Rookie of the Year candidate. Still, even in such a perfect storm, Lillard shouldn’t already be this dominant.

The former Weber State floor general is averaging 21.3 points per game, 9.0 assists (5.0 more than he averaged on the Wildcats) and a PER of 25.70. Not only is he the highest-scoring rookie by a mile, but he’s already top-20 in the entire NBA.

 

David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.

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