Ranking Biggest Snubs from 2013 Rookie All-NBA First and Second Teams

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2013

Ranking Biggest Snubs from 2013 Rookie All-NBA First and Second Teams

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    The NBA All-Rookie First and Second teams are in, and as you probably anticipated, there were some notable absences.

    Not that those who were chosen didn't deserve the honor that they received. A few certain someones didn't, but most did.

    Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Harrison Barnes and Anthony Davis earned a first-team selection while Andre Drummond, Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Singler, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Tyler Zeller rounded out the second team.

    Who was left out? And was there anyone from the second team that should have made the first?

    Most of these rookies were studs, but they're not the only ones who deserve some additional recognition.

     

    *All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.

Honorable Mention: Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 6.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 49.3-percent shooting

    Deserved Placement: Second Team

    Had Jared Sullinger not been forced to undergo season-ending back surgery, I would like to think he would have earned himself second-team honors.

    Though he didn't put up what you would consider gaudy stat lines, he averaged 10.9 points and 10.7 rebounds per 36 minutes, making him one of only four rookies who played in a minimum of 40 games—and averaged at least 15 minutes a contest—to post a double-double per 36 minutes.

    The other three? Thomas Robinson, Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond.

    Not known for his athleticism or playing above the rim, Sullinger's work ethic trumped everything. He was a beast on the glass and an asset defensively; an already strong Boston Celtics defense allowed 2.8 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.

    Sullinger appeared in just 45 games and needs to become more of an offensive threat, but had he been able to play through the entire season, you have to imagine these All-NBA rookie teams would look much different.

5. Moe Harkless, Orlando Magic

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 8.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks, 46.1-percent shooting

    Deserved Placement: Second Team

    Moe Harkless was quietly stellar for the Orlando Magic this year.

    The first half of his season was arguably one to forget, but he really picked up the pace during the latter half of the year. Following the All-Star break, he closed out the season averaging 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest. 

    His three-point-shooting clip (27.4 percent) was regrettable, but the Orlando faithful had to appreciate his improvement off the dribble as the season progressed. 

    Harkless' defense also steadily improved as the year went on. He finished the season holding opposing shooting guards and small forwards to a combined average PER of 12.7.

    There is still plenty the budding wing must adjust to, but the Harkless we saw after the All-Star break makes a future trio of Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic and Harkless himself seem far more promising than most would have predicted.

4. Pablo Prigioni, New York Knicks

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 3.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.0 blocks, 45.5-percent shooting

    Deserved Placement: Second Team

    Pablo Prigioni remains one of the most underrated players on the New York Knicks and was easily one of the most overlooked rookies in the NBA.

    The 35-year-old neophyte struggled to sustain a consistent role in Mike Woodson's rotation, but when he was on the floor, he made the most of his minutes. His full-court presses are a thing of beauty and although he needs to shoot more, he's a great playmaker off the pick-and-roll.

    Prigioni finished the regular season averaging 7.8 points, 6.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals per 36 minutes. To put that in a bit more perspective, the crafty Argentinean was one of just two players in the league to average at least seven points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals per 36 minutes while shooting better than 45 percent from the floor.

    His partner in crime? Chris Paul.

    We all know that per-36 averages are not a be-all, end-all barometer, but whenever you're able to put yourself in the company of the Association's best point guard, you're doing something right.

    And while I know that the playoffs don't mean much in this argument, it must be noted that the Knicks are plus-22.7 points per 100 possessions with Prigioni on the floor compared to without.

    In other words, Prig has been getting it done all year.

3. John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 6.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, 48.2-percent shooting

    Deserved Placement: Second Team

    Averaging a mere 13.1 minutes per game definitely hurt John Henson's stock here, but the flashes of excellence he showed went unnoticed for far too long.

    Watching Henson, you could tell that he was an incredibly raw prospect on both ends of the floor. His touch around the basket wasn't where it needed to be and he had difficulty bodying up against bulkier bigs in the post.

    But you could also tell that he has the talent to succeed. His athleticism and energy alone rendered him quite the showcase during his limited time on the floor. And those attributes resulted in greater effectiveness than most realize as well.

    When extrapolating Henson's numbers, you see that he averaged 16.5 points, 12.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per 36 minutes. Again, 13 minutes is nothing, but only three other players (minimum 50 games) posted at least 16 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per 36 minutes.

    Their names? Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan.

    Read into that as much as you like, but definitely don't fail to acknowledge that Henson got skills.

2. Alexey Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 8.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks, 37.2-percent shooting

    Deserved Placement: Second Team

    I get it, Alexey Shved's 37.2-percent shooting clip was horrid. And his 29.5-percent showing from deep was even worse.

    But man, was he versatile.

    Shved emerged as a go-to playmaker when Ricky Rubio was still rehabbing his ACL injury. He had the handle and vision necessary to run the point, but the size and physical capabilities to man the 2 and 3 as well.

    His shooting needs work. A lot of work. Fortunately for the Minnesota Timberwolves, most of his problems stemmed from poor shot selection, which should be easier to correct than if they had to do with poor mechanics.

    Shved was still able to be effective on the offensive end. He closed out the season posting 13.0 points and 5.6 assists per 36 minutes, joining the company of just two other rookies (minimum 50 games) in Damian Lillard and Brian Roberts.

    What we haven't talked about enough, though, is Shved's defense. He had the potential to drive you crazy with a lack of effort, but when engaged, he played phenomenally both on and off the ball.

    At 6'6", and predominantly used as a guard, he was able to contest the shots of his opponents effectively. Opposing shooting guards and small forwards were only able to post a combined average PER of 11.5 when going up against him.

    To be sure, Shved isn't perfect, but I'd have taken him over Kyle Singler (no disrespect) any day.

1. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats: 7.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.6 blocks, 60.8-percent shooting

    Deserved Placement: First Team

    How could I not have shown Andre Drummond some love?

    The Detroit Pistons big man was simply sensational. Given how conditioned the general public was to doubt him, I'd even say he should have garnered more interest for Rookie of the Year than he did. He was that good.

    More than a quarter of his season was lost to injury, but he still managed to appear in 60 games and average 13.8 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 2.8 blocks per 36 minutes.

    As I've preached through our entire journey together, per-36-minute averages do favor players who can play extremely well in small bursts. But while that can be used to poke holes in the performances of established veterans, can it really discredit the displays of fledglings like Drummond? Absolutely not.

    Drummond was the only player this season to average at least 10 points, 10 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks per 36 minutes. He also became just the second rookie in NBA history to appear in a minimum of 50 games—while averaging 20 or more minutes—and post such per-36-minute stats.

    Whom did he join? Hall of Famer David Robinson.

    I'm not making any Hall of Fame-esque predictions for the rest of Drummond's career, but surely he deserved the first-team nod, woeful free-throw shooting and all.

    First-team selection or not, though, the future is blindingly bright for the athletically inclined Drummond.

    Just saying.