The Top Ten NBA Rookies Of 2008-09

Mark RussoContributor IDecember 8, 2008

The NBA has two exciting events every year. One is All-Star weekend, and the other is the NBA Draft. I, on the other hand, love watching the NBA on ESPN and TNT. 

I thought this would be a good time of the year to break down the top rookies of this year. I think that everyone has their own opinion and this is mine, so don't hesitate to fill me in on yours. 


#10—Greg Oden 
7.9 PPG
and 7.80 RPG

I think that with Greg Oden recovering from his micro-fracture knee surgery least year, he is doing a great job playing his current role on the Trail Blazers. 

The Trail Blazers already have a deep roster when it comes to the low-post positions. Channing Frye, and LaMarcus Aldridge are both trying their best to give Oden some advice on the game. 

I think Oden is doing a great job considering is he averaging 22 minutes a game. With an increase in playing time throughout the year, watch Oden's numbers get better. But he really might be the only guy I have ever seen successfully guard Shaq. To bad Shaq's best days are behind him, or we could have seen one of the best big-man matchups of all-time. 


#9—Brook Lopez
 9.7 PPG
and 7.2 RPG

Here we go again with another big man. To tell you the truth, I think that Brook Lopez is the biggest surprise out of this freshman class. I though that it would take some time for Lopez to adjust to the NBA game but, he has been doing pretty well of late. 

Considering the team he’s on, he is putting up decent numbers for playing 27 minutes a game. Brook needs to improve his shot selection, and then I feel as though he will be a nice tool for this struggling Nets team. Look for Lopez to keep these numbers consistent all season. If he can boost that field goal percentage, look for his points per game to go up a tad. 


#8—George Hill 
10.4 PPG and 3.1 APG

A rookie on the San Antonio Spurs that is actually contributing? 

Yes I know. It is a rare thing for this team that averages an age of 30 years old. But George Hill is an up-and-coming star for this veteran staff. 

With limited playing time and limited roles on offense, Hill has done a great job with what he is dealt. The guy plays solid defense and is good alternate to their All-Star guard Tony Parker. 

I think that if they can utilize Hill in the right spots, then they will see him flourish into a solid role player. Popovich is an unbelievable coach!


#7—Marc Gasol

Although he isn’t his brother, Marc Gasol has been a good addition to a horrendous Grizzlies team that can’t seem to win. 

Averaging about 30 minutes a game, Gasol has been able to establish a decent post presence by displaying some of the same skills as his brother. 

Gasol has been shooting almost 60% from the field this season, and continues being very patient with the basketball. I think that he could be a little more aggressive because his best games occur when he is at the free throw line. 

If he squares up to the hoop and keeps the ball high, I think he will be a success in this league. He won’t be his brother but neither is Eli Manning. 


#6—Russell Westbrook 
12.3 PPG, 4.1 APG, and
3.3 RPG

On a team that could use anybody that can shoot, Russell is slowly finding his role on the Thunder. I think that Russell has been outstanding this year as a rookie on a young team. He contributes while still learning more about the NBA. 

I think that Russell’s 13.3-point average is outstanding for someone who has flown under the radar. After starting his first game on Saturday, Russell posted an unbelievable 30 points and also adding 7 rebounds. A rookie scoring 30 points on the road in Miami? Watch out!!


#5—DJ Augustin
12.6 PPG
and 4.3 APG            

A lot of people thought that Augustin would loose valuable playing time, and also a lot of his statistics, once Jason Richardson returned to the lineup. 

But it was the exact opposite. 

He scored 17 points against LeBron & co. on Saturday and went 10-10 from the free throw line. 

Augustin has the ability to make a difference on this young team in Charlotte. And with a coach like Larry Brown, look for this kid to really get the experience he needs this year to mature into an All-Star. 

We all know Augustin can shoot the ball, so add some basketball knowledge and the ability to spread the court, and people will have a serious problem.


#4—Michael Beasley
14.87 PPG
and 5.4 RPG

Now this is almost like a mercy pick for me. I really do not like the way Michael Beasley fits into the offense in Miami. I mean I understand the guy has mounds of talent, but he needs to learn his role on the team. 

He is 6’9” on an undersized team and is playing 30 minutes a game. In my mind, I would want a minimum of seven rebounds a game out of a guy like this. Beasley still has a “scoring only” mind-set and that probably won’t change in Miami. 

I like Beasley’s talent but not the attitude. If he can start to hustle more and play more basketball, then I can see the Heat getting better. However until that happens, look for them to stay around .500.  


#3—Rudy Fernandez
11.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 
and 1.8 APG

Now many of you might think this is a joke pick. But that is probably because you haven’t seen this kid play yet. I mean he is something else. 

He steps on the court, and at 6’6” and 185lbs, you think he is just going to get pushed around but man can this guy run the court. 

On a young team with a bunch of talent, Rudy Fernandez has still managed to stand out on that team. He is hooting about 45 percent from behind the arc, and has been shooting free throws like Ray Allen. 

The kid can jump, score, rebound, and run the court. This kid probably has more potential then anybody in this class. But can he put on a little more weight to give him that balance?


#2—OJ Mayo
21.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and
2.2 APG

Here we are, back to the wonderful Grizzlies. Yes I know they are a terrible team but OJ Mayo showed me something that I did not see coming. 

After watching Mayo at USC, I did not see him fitting into the NBA game as well as he has so far. I mean the guy posted back-to-back 30-point games this season and Kobe Bryant hasn’t even done that yet. 

He has the height and stature of a shooting guard, but protects the ball like a point guard. I see Mayo having an outstanding season and you will see this Grizzlies team build around their young talent. They can’t take away your free stuff anymore OJ!!!!!!!


#1—Derrick Rose
18.7 PPG, 5.8 APG, 
4.2 RPG

This guy is absolutely unbelievable! If you don’t see a little Michael Jordan with a side of Allen Iverson in this guy, then you’re a stubborn baby boomer. 

Not only can this kid play the point better then anybody else in the country, but the guy is grabbing rebounds as well. I mean anytime your guard is grabbing rebounds, I think hustle. This kid is showing it better than any other rookie in this class. 

He is applying a lot and is asked to do a lot as well, but guess what? He is answering those questions with big games. This guy has talent and he can handle the point.  I think we will all see this kid make a trip to Springfield when all is said and done. 


Those were my picks and like I mentioned before, everyone has their own opinion but this is where I stand right now.


I think that Derrick Rose and Rudy Fernandez have showed me the most talent this year, however I see Greg Oden and OJ Mayo having the biggest impact on their teams. This year has been pretty exciting for the rookie class and they have been living up to the expectations for the most part. Let’s just see who hangs on and who falls off.   


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