NBA 2011 Season: Predicting the 2011-12 All-Rookie Team Roster
The NBA season hasn't even started. NBA rookies haven't stepped foot on NBA courts yet or even played one minute in an NBA game, but I still think it's time to predict the roster for the 2011-12 All-Rookie Team.
A lot of analysts and fans believe the 2011 NBA draft wasn't one of the strongest in recent memory, but it definitely has the potential to produce some NBA stars in the next few years. There are not a lot of players in the 2011 draft that will help teams become instant contenders, but there are still some solid players.
Players like Derrick Williams, Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight, the Morris twins, Jimmer, Kemba and a bunch of international players have a lot to prove if they want to become the next wave of NBA talent.
There will undoubtedly be some busts from the 2011 draft, but with time for development, I truly believe in the next five or six years NBA fans will look back on the 2011 NBA draft as one of the best in recent memory.
Here it is, the 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie Team.
2nd Team: Washington Wizards PG Shelvin Mack
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The Washington Wizards got the steal of the 2011 NBA draft when they drafted Shelvin Mack with the fourth pick of the second round.
The Wizards have a budding superstar at the point guard position in John Wall, but Mack will be able to provide a burst of strength off the bench when he gives Wall a break. What Mack will bring to the court that the Wizards desperately need is his ability to lead. Mack is a proven leader, as evidence by his play with the Butler Bulldogs, and that will be his biggest strength in the 2011-12 NBA season.
Mack will see time filling in for John Wall, Nick Young and even Jordan Crawford, and will put up production to the tune of 7.0 points and 4.0 assists per game.
2nd Team: Sacramento Kings SG Jimmer Fredette
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Oh the good ole days of Jimmer are back, only this time they are taking place in Sacramento. The Kings will love Jimmer's physical style of play, but they will love his stroke even more.
There is no doubting that Jimmer could absolutely score in college, and that will carry over into the NBA. Just like Stephen Curry has shown, a scorer is a scorer no matter where he plays. Jimmer will fit nicely into a Kings' roster that is relatively weak at the guard position other than Tyreke Evans.
Expect Jimmer to move up on the Kings' bench to the point where he is the first off the bench. Jimmer won't put up insane numbers like he did last year in college (28.9 ppg), but he will put up solid double-digits in his points per game average, to the tune of around 15.5 ppg.
2nd Team: Utah Jazz PF/C Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter will undoubtedly have some growing pains in his first NBA season, especially after not stepping foot on a college basketball court due to his ineligibility.
Kanter will come off the bench, earning minutes replacing Mehmet Okur and even Al Jefferson once he gets up to speed with the unbelievable difference between the NBA and the Turkish professional league.
The Jazz are going to be a below-average team in 2011-12, but one bright spot for them will be Enes Kanter and his NBA development. Expect Kanter to average around 8.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
2nd Team: San Antonio Spurs SF Kawhi Leonard
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Kawhi Leonard is the athletic spark that the San Antonio Spurs need. Coming off the bench, the aging San Antonio Spurs will utilize Leonard's athletic and explosive play.
I don't see why Kawhi Leonard can't sneak his way into the Spur's starting five by the end of the season, especially after Richard Jefferson being cut via the amnesty clause.
Leonard's double-double production of 14.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game will be difficult to produce in a solid Western Conference, but Leonard will have no trouble averaging around 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds.
2nd Team: Denver Nuggets SF Jordan Hamilton
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The Nuggets have a huge hole in their roster thanks to the deportation of J.R Smith to China and his potentially serious injury.
While I doubt Hamilton will be a starter for the Nuggets during the 2011-12 season, he will be a nice spark off the bench that the Nuggets will undoubtedly need.
Hamilton's production in college of 14.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game won't necessarily carry over in his first NBA season, but his athleticism will fit in nicely on an extremely athletic Nuggets team.
1st Team: Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving
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As long as Kyrie Irving and his ankles stay healthy, he will be able to make the 2011 NBA All-Rookie team; if not, well than we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Kyrie Irving only played in 11 games during his tenure with the Duke Blue Devils, but he was still able to put up solid production to the tune of 17.5 points and 4.3 assists per game. I don't see any reason why he won't be able to put up that kind of production in his first year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, especially if Baron Davis isn't a Cavalier in 2011-12.
The Cavaliers' point guard will benefit from having no other real standout talent on the roster aside from fellow rookie Tristan Thompson and uhhhh Anderson Varejao? Yea, it's really hard to find talent on the Cavaliers' roster. The Cavaliers might not win more than 20 games this season, but Kyrie Irving will help the Cavaliers forget about LeBron James for a few minutes at least.
1st Team: Charlotte Bobcats PG Kemba Walker
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Kemba Walker proved to be a true leader last year by leading a young UCONN Huskies team to a national championship. Kemba won't be able to win the Bobcats a championship in his first year, but he will turn into quite a star.
The main reason Kemba will be a star on the Bobcats is because the Bobcats are extremely thin at the guard position. Aside from Walker the Bobcats have D.J Augustine, Matt Carroll and Gerald Henderson. Those names aren't overwhelming by any means and Kemba will quickly replace Augustine in the starting lineup.
Kemba Walker's points per game production will drop from college, but his assists per game average will increase based on the talent around him. Expect Walker to average around 16.5 points and around 6.5 assists per game on a young Bobcats team.
1st Team: Minnesota Timberwolves SF/PF Derrick Williams
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Derrick Williams is a perfect fit for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He will bring a strong post presence to a T'Wolves team that desperately needs it.
Williams is athletic enough to be able to run the floor with the T'Wolves and still powerful enough to bang it in the paint when necessary. Much like his teammate Kevin Love, Williams is able to spread the floor and hit long-range jumpers that will be difficult for other power forwards to defend.
It will take a while for Williams to be able to transition from a pure athlete into a well-rounded NBA player, but he will still put up solid production in his developmental years. Williams will earn a starting spot on the 2011 NBA All-Rookie team by putting up an average of around 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
1st Team: Boston Celtics SF/PF JaJuan Johnson
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Now here is a pick that a lot of people might not agree with, mainly because of the established talent on the Boston Celtics roster, but at least here me out.
JaJuan Johnson was an absolute beast in what many consider arguably the top basketball conference in college basketball, the Big Ten. Johnson averaged an impressive 20.6 point, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. That production earned him both the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award as well as the Big Ten overall Player of the Year award.
The Celtics got a steal by drafting Johnson late in the first round. He will be able to get solid minutes replacing Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Jermaine O'Neal and Jeff Green (if signed). By the end of the year I expect JaJuan Johnson to be the first or second man off the Celtics' bench.
Expect Johnson to average around 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.
1st Team: Denver Nuggets PF Kenneth Faried
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I have heard so many Kenneth Faried and Karl Malone comparisons that it's almost getting ridiculous. Kenneth Faried won't be Karl Malone people, but he will be a really good NBA player that will earn everything through outworking everyone else on the court.
Kenneth Faried averaged an incredible 17.3 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. I know Faried played at Morehead State but he proved in the 2011 NCAA Tournament that he could produce even against "top-level" talent, getting his team all the way into the third round of the tournament.
Faried is a little undersized when compared to most NBA power forwards, but what he lacks in size he will make up for in basketball I.Q and athleticism. Faried will be a strong spark off the Nuggets bench early on the season, ultimately earning a spot on the starting lineup, replacing the overrated Al Harrington.
Expect Faried to put up production to the tune of 12.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.