The role of an NBA rookie is one that is constantly evolving. A poster child for this claim is the Pistons’ rookie Greg Monroe. After struggling to find floor time early on, Monroe is now a staple of Detroit’s revamped rotation and looks to be one of the most promising prospects of the 2010 rookie class. Here we analyze Monroe and the other first 10 picks from last summer’s draft for our annual rookie progress reports.
John Wall: Washington Wizards: B+
Washington’s inability to find an effective and consistent second option has hurt Wall’s stat line though the rookie point guard hasn’t disappointed when it comes to racking up the thefts (1.7 SPG), tops among rookies, and Wall leads all first year players with his 9.3 APG. The final three months of the regular season will be spent feeling out the roster and seeking out Washington’s most promising players as the lowly Wizards look to build for 2012.
Evan Turner: Philadelphia 76ers: C
Evan Turner has been a microcosm of the 76ers poor season: too young and inconsistent, but displaying flashes of the brilliance that may lie ahead. The young forward has hovered around the 7.0 PPG game mark while capping out at 4.5 nightly rebounds. Turner hasn’t displayed the scoring ability he exhibited while at Ohio State since the 22-year-old has posted a career high of only 23 points during a December 29th game at Phoenix. The Sixers may not have a playoff spot to contend for but rookie Evan Turner will be fighting hard to solidify himself as a reliable option going forward for a promising Philadelphia team.
Derrick Favors: New Jersey Nets: C+
One can’t look at Favors, the youngest player in the NBA, and not think one word: Potential. Favors has shown flashes of brilliance off of Avery Johnson’s bench and the 19-year-old’s mercurial rise up the depth chart should give the young big man the playing time necessary to blossom into the elite level center that many expected. Favors hasn’t blocked shots the way scouts expected although he has been one of the NBA’s most efficient rebounders per 48 minutes. Should Favors stay put this winter beyond the trading deadline, expect the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket to continue to develop in East Rutherford.
Wesley Johnson: Minnesota Timberwolves: C+
Johnson has been perhaps one of the most consistent rookies this year although he’s unfortunately been consistently mediocre. The swingman enters February averaging just over nine points per contest and his secondary stats are less than impressive. Johnson concluded the final four games of January with double-digit scoring efforts and has started nearly half of Minnesota’s games. February and March should give Johnson an opportunity to cement himself as part of the Timberwolves’ long term plans.
DeMarcus Cousins: Sacramento Kings: B
Many considered the young Cousins a dark horse pick for rookie of the year following a dominant freshman season at Kentucky. The developing big man has earned a starting role and since being named a starter the 6’10’’ center has averaged over 17 PPG and nearly eight nightly rebounds. Expect Cousins to continue to grow in the Sacramento black as he works to refine his highly efficient inside game (43.3 FG percentage).
Ekpe Udoh: Golden State Warriors: F
Last summer scouts fell in love with Udoh’s athleticism as the former Baylor Bear lead his team towards a deep run in March Madness. A year later Udoh is struggling to escape the bottom of Golden State’s bench. At only 23 there is certainly plenty of time for growth and perhaps the 2.7 PPG and 2.1 RPG are just the beginning of things to come, but for now Udoh has been a colossal disappointment.
Greg Monroe: Detroit Pistons: B-
Monroe has come on strong since being inserted into the starting rotation on January 12th. As a starter Monroe has seen 27 minutes of action or more in all but two of Detroit’s games. In January Monroe averaged a near double-double, posting 11 PPG and nine RPG while shooting a gaudy 60 percent from the floor. The former Georgetown Hoya will serve as one of the few bright spots for a disappointing Pistons team.
Al-Farouq Aminu: Los Angeles Clippers: C
It’s easy to forget about Aminu considering the wealth of exciting young players the Clippers boast on a nightly basis. Following a pair of exemplary seasons at Wake Forest, Aminu seems to have found his niche as a second unit energy player capable of playing both the small forward and power forward positions. The 21-year-old’s peripherals aren’t going to catapult Aminu into the Rookie of the Year running, but at 6.4 PPG and 3.4 RPG we can catch a glimpse at the young big man shimmering on L.A.’s bench.
Gordon Hayward: Utah Jazz: D
Gordon parlayed an impressive March into a lottery pick selection, but since his arrival in Utah, Gordon has yet to dazzle the same way he did in Indianapolis while playing for the Butler Bulldogs. Like many of the names on this list, playing time has been an issue for Hayward who sees a shade above 11 minutes per game under head coach Jerry Sloan. The high point of Gordon’s ’10-11 season was his 17 point and six rebound effort in a win against the Clippers where the rookie shot 6-12 from the field while splashing three three-pointers. Utah looks poised to make another playoff push, the only question for Hayward is whether he’ll have any part in it.
Paul George: Indiana Pacers: B-
The new calendar year has been kind to the rookie forward out of Fresno State. George exploded up draft boards last summer before Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers selected him 10th overall. George’s cumulative stats aren’t as impressive as one would hope but his 7.5 PPG and 3.0 RPG make him a serviceable body off the bench for Indiana. The Pacers front office continues to rave about George’s athleticism and his streaky scoring ability. The youngster scored 15 points or more four times during January and looks to stake claim to even more of a role under interim head coach Frank Vogel.
Written by Conor Gereg exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com
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