The month of November has passed and the NBA season is still in its beginnings. We can start to see which teams are going to be in contention and in the lottery. We also, can see which rookies are living up to their draft position, and which were overlooked on the night of the draft. Here is a list of the best rookies in the Eastern and Western Conferences for the month of November.
Guard: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls, First overall selection
This may or may not have been a surprise to a lot of people. There was a lot speculation that Rose should not have been the first pick, but has proven those doubters wrong. It is too early to project what type of career he is going to have, but barring injuries, he is playing like an all-star caliber player.
19 pts, four rebs, and six assts per game in November are very LeBron esque, and his 49% FG and 85% FT percentages are higher than LeBron has ever put up. We will see if he can keep this up.
Guard: D.J. Augustin, Charlotte Bobcats, Ninth overall selection
Augustin was my favorite player in college hoops last year because of his pure speed and play making abilities. He was able to dominate against lesser competition at Texas, and it seems like he is having a nice transition to the pro game.
To be honest I thought he was going to struggle against the better talent in the NBA, but he proved me wrong. Starting in just a quarter of his teams games, Augustin has averaged 13 pts and 4.5 assts per game in November are very impressive numbers. If he keeps this up, we may be comparing him and Rose to Deron Williams and Chris Paul in a couple of years; or not.
Forward: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee Bucks, 37th overall selection
The only non-top ten pick on the list, making him also the only second rounder as well. As I mentioned in my Rookie Watch List, Mbah a Moute is playing like a man possessed. I love the energy and passion this guy plays with. Mbah a Moute is leading all Eastern Conference Rookies in rebounding in November with 7.6 per game, which is even more impressive when you know it comes from a guy who is only 6'8".
Forward: Michael Beasley, Miami Heat, Second overall selection
While Beasley has not been as dominant as he was at Kansas State last year, he is still good enough to make this list. Beasley has put up 15 pts and five rebs in the month of November, which are nice numbers for a rookie, but Beasley has way more talent than those numbers show. We will have to see if he can adjust to the pro game better in the upcoming months.
Center: Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets, 10th overall selection
10 pts, seven rebs, and 1.5 blocks for November will get you on this list, but if JaVale McGee continues to progress like he has, you will be seeing him in this spot for the month of December. McGee is starting to get some serious minutes, and when I watched him play last night, he looked very comfortable in the Wizards system.
I don't know if I can say the same about Lopez, but if progresses positively in the next couple months he may solidify his spot as the best rookie center in the east.
Honorable Mention: JaVale McGee, Mario Chalmers
Guard: OJ Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies, Third overall selection
It seemed like OJ Mayo struggled a little bit at USC last year, but that was all for nothing. Mayo has been the most impressive rookie thus far into the NBA season. He has dropped 23 pts, 4.5 reb, two asst, one steal, and a game in the month of November. Those were the exact numbers that were expected out of him when he was a high school phenom, and with that whole college experience behind him, he can now flourish.
Guard: Rudy Fernandez, Portland Trailblazers, 24th overall (2007)
Oh Rudy, where have you been my whole life? Well, I suppose I can change that to where have you been since Steve Kerr retired? Fernandez is an assassin from behind the three pt line, and his 97 percentage from the FT line in November shows that he is the real deal shooting. Who needs defense when you have a perfect stroke like Rudy?
Guard: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, Fourth Overall
Westbrook is only added to this list because he is way better than any forward that the Western conference has to offer. Westbrook put up the most assists and third most points per game in the month of November when compared to other West rookies. Plus, he is doing this all on one of the worst teams in the league, and maybe league history.
Forward: Jason Thompson, Sacramento Kings, 12th overall
The best rookie forward in November in the West by a decent margin. The next guy is Kevin Love, and I just can't make myself put Love on this list over a guy like Thompson, Westbrook, or even Anthony Morrow. Thompson has played well in November putting up 10 pts and six reb per game, which are not dominant, but still, somehow, better than any other rookie forward in the West.
Center: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, 48th overall selection (2007 draft)
Gasol straight up has outplayed Greg Oden to get this spot as the best rookie center in the Western conference. Oden has put up .5 more reb, and one more block per game in November, but he has less points and is shooting lower percentages from the stripe and field. Gasol has just out preformed Oden, but I suspect once Oden gets his sea legs under him he should be fine.
Honorable Mention: Anthony Morrow, George Hill, Kevin Love, Greg Oden
Overall, in a match-up between the two starting lineups, I would probably go with the East, but the West has a little more depth after the top five, which means in a best of seven series I would maybe give an edge to the West.
Just remember that it's barely the start of December, and everything can change in a month's time.