Which NBA Rookies Have the Biggest Warning Signs Already?
NBA rookies can often provide a new hope for a maligned fan base or organization.
LeBron James changed the fortunes of the Cleveland Cavaliers when the team selected him No. 1 overall in the 2003 draft. Blake Griffin changed the complexion of Clipper Nation when the Los Angeles Clippers took him No. 1 in the 2009 draft.
Yet for every bona fide superstar that is taken, there is a rookie that is not ready for the pressure and scrutiny of becoming a professional basketball player.
From weight problems to anxiety disorders, some basketball prodigies have trouble finding their game in the pros.
Here are the five rookies that are already showing some warning signs.
*Statistics used in this article were accurate as of November 22nd, 2012.*
5) Fab Melo, Boston Celtics
Draft selection: No. 22 overall
2012-13 Stats: N/A
While much of this can be attributed to Doc Rivers' rotations, Melo’s undeveloped game and poor conditioning has to be of concern. During a rookie media day, Melo actually broke the chair that he was sitting in.
If the big man can play with even a semblance of the game that he brought to Syracuse, then the Celtics could eventually use his girth in the interior.
4) Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Draft selection: No. 35 overall
College: Michigan State
2012-13 Stats: 2.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG
The big man is suffering from a crisis of positional identity.
In college, Green was heavily relied on to log minutes in the paint. In the faster and more athletic NBA, Green is now playing small forward, despite his 230-pound frame.
Like Fab Melo, Green’s weight has to be concerning.
Green is simply not quick enough to contain other team’s wings, nor is he in the proper shape to play in an uptempo system like that of the Golden State Warriors.
3) Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Draft selection: No. 9 overall
2012-13 Stats: 6.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG
Playing on the workhorse Detroit Pistons, his drive has improved, but not to the point that can significantly impress the team’s brass.
Drummond has shown flashes of brilliance, including a dominant 22 points and eight rebound performance in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, most of Drummond's early season games have been characterized by duds and disappointments.
Part of the inconsistency comes with being an NBA rookie. Still, Drummond is nowhere near the type of low post counterpart to Greg Monroe that the Pistons had envisioned when they selected him No. 9 overall.
With so many questions about his motivation coming out of college, Detroit has to be concerned with the sustainability of his play.
2) Thomas Robinson, Sacramento Kings
Draft selection: No. 5 overall
2012-13 Stats: 5.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG
Breakdown: Thomas Robinson’s drive and passion make him one of the most exciting players of this rookie class.
However, at times Robinson has been known to play with too much emotion, thus making him vulnerable to questionable plays. Perhaps nothing was more indicative of this than Robinson’s elbowing of Pistons Jonas Jerebko in the neck.
Robinson showed no remorse after the hit, casually walking to the locker room after being ejected. The Kansas product drew a two-game suspension for his foul.
Sacramento Kings fans would prefer that Robinson not let his emotions get the best of him, and continue to play the game the right way.
1) Royce White, Houston Rockets
Draft selection: No. 16 overall
College: Iowa State
2012-13 Stats: N/A
White has an intense fear of flying that has a tendency to exacerbate some larger anxiety problems that have caused the forward to spend time away from the team.
When it comes to treatment, White and the Rockets are also in different camps.
The Rockets have scheduled therapy appointments for their rookie, and even made bus travel plans to accommodate the Iowa State product.
Despite their efforts, White has shirked off the appointments, skipped practice and publicly criticized the team for its efforts to help him with anxieties.
The Rockets have responded by fining White for every day that he is away from the team or does not attend its therapy sessions.
While Houston has no plans to release White, it is clear that the team’s relationship with him is tenuous at best. The organization and its fans can only hope that this is a small hiccup in White’s career, and that he will be on the floor contributing soon.