2012-13 NBA Rookies Who Need More Playing Time ASAP
The 2012 NBA draft was one of memorable proportions. The quality of talent selected in the two rounds of was more consistently promising than almost any year we had seen beforehand.
Even if the crop of stars was limited, the amount of NBA-caliber role players was endless.
Unfortunately, not every player has earned the trust of their coaching staff just yet. While Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis are getting comfortable as starters, a select few of the most promising draftees have yet to discover consistent minutes.
Of those players, the following seven are the ones who need to find the floor as soon as possible.
Will Barton, Portland Trail Blazers
Position: Shooting Guard
Drafted: Second Round, Pick 40
2012-13 Season Averages: 11.17 PER, 6.0 MPG, 1.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG
It's rare that you'll find a second-round draft choice on a list like this, but that is the case for scoring machine Will Barton. Strangely, there is much less to make about Barton's abilities than those of the player preventing him from finding minutes: Sasha Pavlovic.
Thus far, Pavlovic is averaging 19.7 minutes per game. In that time, he has posted a slash line of .364/.333/.000 and earned a Player Efficiency Rating of 7.15.
This is further proof that Pavlovic's value as a shooter was lost back in 2007, the last and only time he averaged at least 9.0 points per game.
Nevertheless, Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts continues to play him over a younger, more promising player. That player, of course, is Barton.
Although the former Memphis Tiger is uncertain to play any better than Pavlovic, he is a younger and more athletic option. He brings a great energy to the floor, as evidenced by his performance against the Houston Rockets.
Barton finished the game with five points, four rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal in 15 minutes of play.The question is, why would Stotts opt to choose an unproductive defensive liability in Pavlovic over an upside-ridden Barton?
If the postseason is the goal, it's time to develop a potential star instead of utilizing a proven weak link.
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Drafted: First Round, Pick 9
2012-13 Season Averages: 12.48 PER, 16.5 MPG, 4.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.3 BPG,
Through the first four games of Andre Drummond's rookie season, he has seen inconsistent playing time.
Against the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers, Drummond played an average of 20.5 minutes per game. When faced with the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets, however, the former Connecticut Husky averaged just 12.5 minutes.
That's a rather odd decision for Detroit Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank to make considering how well Drummond has played.
Against the Suns and Lakers, Drummond averaged 5.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest. He's also averaged 3.0 offensive rebounds in those games, which is more than star Greg Monroe could muster.
Although he's been prone to rookie mistakes, the Pistons have no right to display frustration with him. They're currently 0-4 with an average margin of defeat sitting pretty at 13.3 points.
With Drummond on the floor, however, their plus/minus is an impressive negative one. As for those wondering why that is impressive, try the fact that they're losing by 13 points per game.
Drummond has had a positive influence on the Pistons and deserves to see consistent minutes.
Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets
Drafted: First Round, Pick 18
2012-13 Season Averages: N/A
Terrence Jones is one of the most versatile players coming out of the 2012 NBA draft. He has the ball-handling, court vision and passing skills to play as a point forward, as well as the interior skills to defend and score as a power forward.
At 6'10" and 252 pounds, he certainly has the size to fill both roles adequately.
Unfortunately, Jones is learning how hard life can be as a rookie playing for Kevin McHale. Through the Houston Rockets' first three games, Jones has seen a grand total of zero minutes on the floor.
Although Marcus Morris is shining and Patrick Patterson is playing adequately, one has to wonder why Jones hasn't seen a single minute all year. Even the tandem of Carlos Delfino and Chandler Parsons at the 3 could use some help.
Nevertheless, coach McHale is staying true to form. Rookies will spend a majority of their time on the bench, if not a move to the D-League, under McHale.
Could that be where Jones heads next?
Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder
Position: Shooting Guard
Drafted: First Round, Pick 12 (via Houston Rockets)
2012-13 Season Averages: 29.46 PER, 3.5 MPG, 3.0 PPG, 50.0% 3PT
When the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets, many believed Kevin Martin was the greatest form of compensation. Although stellar in his early-season performances, it is not Martin who should have Thunder fans excited.
It's rookie Jeremy Lamb.
Lamb is a 6'5" shooting guard with a 7'0" wingspan. He's an explosive athlete with a smooth jump shot and an excellent base on defense.
Unfortunately, he's only made two appearances in four games. In that time, he's averaged just 3.5 minutes.
The Thunder certainly have a special backcourt with Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Eric Maynor and Martin. The fact that Summer League standouts such as Lamb and Reggie Jackson have been delegated to the bench, however, is blasphemous.
Martin will score, but his defense is suspect at best. Although Lamb will need to adjust to the NBA pace, he should be seeing at least 10 minutes a night to begin his emergence as two-way star.
His perimeter defense will be quite valuable to this team down the stretch. If either Martin or Sefolosha face an injury, Lamb will need to step up as either a scorer or defender.
For that reason, developing Lamb's NBA game should be a top priority in Oklahoma City.
Kendall Marshall, Phoenix Suns
Position: Point Guard
Drafted: First Round, Pick 13
2012-13 Season Averages: 6.83 PER, 4.5 MPG, 1.0 APG
When the Phoenix Suns drafted Kendall Marshall with the 13th pick in June, it was hard to find a better fit all night. Marshall, who was second in the NCAA with 9.8 assists per game in 2012, was set to replace Steve Nash as the franchise point guard.
Replacing one elite facilitator with one of the best passers in the nation sure seemed like the dream fit when they came together. Unfortunately, the organization acted swiftly to end the promise of this pairing.
This past offseason, the Suns signed point guard Goran Dragic to a four-year deal worth $34 million. In turn, they guaranteed that Marshall won't be starting in Phoenix for at least a couple seasons.
Although we knew he'd start the season on the bench, it was hard to imagine Marshall would average 4.5 minutes per game. Due to the relationship Sebastian Telfair has built with head coach Alvin Gentry, however, it appears as if the second unit point guard has already been named.
With this being established, the Suns must maximize Marshall's abilities or trade him. Although it is early in the year, the signs have been pointing to the latter since the offseason.
Quite an unfortunate turn for such an NBA-ready talent.
Andrew Nicholson, Orlando Magic
Position: Power Forward
Drafted: First Round, Pick 19
2012-13 Season Averages: 12.00 PER, 8.3 MPG, 3.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG
Entering the season, buzz had begun to build around Andrew Nicholson's status as a potential Rookie of the Year candidate. Due to the underwhelming amount of talent on the Orlando Magic roster, the popular belief was that Nicholson would emerge as either the starting power forward or sixth man.
Through the first three games of the year, it appears as if neither belief will hold true. If Glen Davis keeps playing the way he is, it may never become a reality.
Thus far, Davis has posted averages of 22.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game. Although there is no guarantee that Big Baby will continue to produce at this level, he's coming off a postseason in which he averaged 19.0 points and 9.2 rebounds.
He may have done so quietly, but these numbers should not be coming as a surprise.
Regardless of how well Davis plays, the Magic must find a way to include Nicholson in the rotation. Nikola Vucevic and Gustavo Ayon are playing well enough to warrant major minutes, but that doesn't mean Nicholson should be limited to less than 10 a night.
Nicholson's prowess in the post, tenacity on defense and nonstop motor are all valuable assets. The question is, when will head coach Jacque Vaughn feel the initiation process has concluded?
Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors
Position: Shooting Guard
Drafted: First Round, Pick 8
2012-13 Season Averages: 12.91 PER, 9.3 MPG, 4.0 PPG, 1.3 RPG
Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Terrence Ross put up 10 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 14 minutes of play. He shot 4-of-7 from the field and made two three-pointers during the Raptors' 108-88 loss.
Unfortunately, this was the first time all season that Ross has seen more than 10 minutes of action. Consider Kyle Lowry's ankle injury to be a blessing in disguise.
Throughout the first week of the season, the Raptors had implemented a two-point guard system. For extended periods of time, both Lowry and Jose Calderon were on the floor together.
During Toronto's loss to the Thunder, however, Lowry suffered a sprained right ankle. This injury opened the door for Ross' performance, which inspires hope that he will see the floor more often as the season progresses. He is the best pure shooter on the roster, which makes him a key to team success.
During the 2011-12 season, the Raptors shot just 34.0 percent from beyond the arc. They also ranked 21st in the league with just 5.5 three-point field goals per game.
If they hope to turn those numbers around, Ross must find the floor. Besides, what use is a Top 10 draft choice if you aren't going to play him?