NBA rookies who have found instant success in 2012 are surpassing early expectations.
Some are prospects who were highly touted but weren’t expected to dominate so soon. On the flip side, others weren’t expected to receive playing time at all but, despite that, have found a role.
Here are the most surprising first-year ballers from each side of the spectrum.
4. Anthony Davis
Will Davis maintain his impressive PPG?
The first-overall selection who was labeled "extremely raw" is averaging more in the NBA (16.0 points per game) than he did at Kentucky (14.2). He’s second on the New Orleans Hornets in scoring and second among rookies, behind only another player on this list.
3. Kyle Singler
I’m going to be honest. I forgot that Singler existed.
The former Duke star is still technically a rookie because he sat out all of last season. This year, though, he’s making fans remember his name as a key reserve on the Detroit Pistons. He’s averaging 9.3 points and shooting 45.5 percent from downtown.
2. Damian Lillard
The point guard has upped his assist numbers, though, from 4.0 with the Wildcats to 6.4 on the Portland Trail Blazers.
1. Alexey Shved
But it looks like the Minnesota Timberwolves have found yet another phenomenal foreign floor general. The 23-year-old Russian point guard is averaging 10.4 points and 4.2 dimes per games in just 23.1 minutes of action this season.
If Shved continues to play so efficiently, he’ll be the T-Wolves’ long-term solution behind Ricky Rubio.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.