For many years now, the NBA has been home to fresh, raw high school talent and one and done college freshman. Those of note include John Wall and his one year and done at Kentucky and LeBron James who came straight out of high school in his home state of Ohio.
These type of players are rather freakish in terms of talent and everyone knows they will take the league by storm. What about the guy who plays three or maybe four years of college ball, racks up an All-Conference bid and possibly a nice run in the NCAA Tournament? Yes, I'm talking about "that guy."
Well this year there have been some rookies and even a comeback player I would like to take a quick glance at and show you why they are impact players for their respective clubs. Ready? Here we go.
First, a newcomer to the Big Apple and second round draft pick out of Stanford, Landry Fields. Fields worked hard in the preseason and training camp and now is the starting shooting guard for the revamped Knicks. The rookie has an array of skills and displays them nightly when he gets his 29 minutes on average and drops nearly 10 and a half points a game.
Watching some of this youngster in battle, I noted his tenacity and fearlessness against bigger opponents. He is not afraid to guard another club's best player or wrestle in the post for a loose ball or rebound. His jumping ability allows him to finish strong at the rim and his three point shot spreads the defense. Notice I said "spreads the defense", but he is also very efficient when shooting the rock so most of the time he has open looks and knocks them down. Fields is a great impact player in my opinion and look for him to be in possible Rookie of the Year contention with Wall and Blake Griffin.
Next up, remember the quarterback that most people made fun of with the Cowboys? Yes, Drew Bledsoe. Sorry Drew. But the L.A. Clippers have found themselves a Bledsoe of their own and he is nothing to be frowned upon.
Sorry, I did mention about the players who stay longer than one and done, but Bledsoe should have been in that category. To be honest, while watching the college scene last season, Bledsoe slipped into the the abyss when it came to Kentucky for me. Nonetheless, you're here and you're high powered! The Clips notched a huge win earlier in the week at home against New Orleans and seem to be playing with some sort of confidence. Dare I say?
The bottom line is this. Bledsoe is averaging 30 minutes per game, just over nine points and even dropping five and a half dimes per contest. This is huge for the Clippers because with the absence of Baron Davis they are still getting production at the point. This also allows Eric Gordon to be the true two guard he is and score the ball at will. Look for Bledsoe to continue his strong play and improve as the Clippers look to bounce back in the Western Conference.
Finally, the comeback player and one I am very happy for is Shaun Livingston. Playing for the Charlotte Bobcats and Larry Brown this time around, Livingston is back in action in an NBA uniform. After suffering such a horrific knee injury that made one's stomach curdle when watching it, Livingston is getting about 17 minutes per game and averaging around 4-5 points.
Livingston is backing up D.J. Augustin and they are sometimes teamed up on the floor at the same time, giving Charlotte a two point guard option. Another good side to having Livingston in your organization is his height and length at the guard spot. He is bigger than most one and two guards and can post for easy buckets or get trips to the free throw line. After coming back from his knee injury, here's a look to how the psychological aspect of the situation played out for Shaun.
Peace Up, Threes Down!
By Brian Gray - Kiss The Rim - SJ Contributing Blog Partner