As we are quickly approaching 1 month of NBA action, it is time to take a look at which rookies have impressed the most in this young season.
5. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets (16 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.3 blkpg)
The only reason I rank the first overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft this low, is because of the fact that he has only played 6 games this season. Davis’ ankle has been troubling him and he has missed the Hornets’ last 3 games. In the 6 games Davis played he put up mixed performances, looking like an all-star in one game only to struggle in the next one. Despite his early inconsistency anyone can tell that Davis will be a special player. As long as he can stay healthy he will undoubtedly climb the rookie ladder.
4. Alexey Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves (9.6 ppg, 4 apg, 2.9 rpg)
Shved has been a pleasant surprise to the Timberwolves fans this season, mainly because no one really expected much of him. He looked very good in the 2012 Olympics, propelling Russia to a bronze medal. He is currently averaging 22.4 minutes per game, but his minutes should go down once Ricky Rubio returns to action. Shved has overall been solid this season, although he isn’t shooting particularly well from the field. At 6″6 Shved is a big point-guard that doesn’t lack speed and can provide match up problems.
3. Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors (10.8 ppg, 1.8 apg, 4.5 rpg)
Barnes, who was drafted 7th overall in 2012, started the season pretty slow, but has picked it up lately. He is ranked 6th in scoring among rookies and had his best game of the season on Monday against Dallas, scoring 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Barnes is currently logging 27.1 minutes per game, which is 6th most among rookies. Overall Barnes has been rather solid and looked quite confident, but needs to be more consistent crashing the boards to make the most of his minutes.
2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats (11.8 ppg, 1.5 apg, 6.8 rpg)
When Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was drafted with the 2nd overall pick by the Bobcats, the team was mostly excited about his versatility and in that regard MKG has definitely met the expectations. He has been doing a little bit of everything so far, adding 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals per game to his above mentioned stat line. While he might not be particularly polished offensively, he is a good defender and plays with a lot of energy. He isn’t really the flashy kind of player, but the Bobcats definitely appreciate him doing all the intangibles on the court.
1. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (20.2 ppg, 6 apg, 3 rpg)
The Blazers licked their chops when they got to draft Lillard with the 6th overall pick in the 2012 draft. The young point-guard has indisputably been the most impressive rookie this year. Lillard is leading all rookies in points, assists and steals. Averaging 37 minutes per game, Lillard has been given the keys to run the team and has done an amazing job so far. If there is anything that you can pick on Lillard for it is his 3.5 turnovers per game, which is the 7th highest turnover rate in the league. However, with the amount of minutes that Lillard plays and being the dominant ball handler the stat really isn’t as alarming as it sounds.
Blazers might very well have been the most unfortunate team in the league for the past few years, as Brandon Roy and Greg Oden were both ruled out of the equation due to their knees. With Lillard’s arrival, Nicolas Batum earning every dollar of that big contract of his and LaMarcus Aldridge the Blazers have a solid core to build around, which definitely brings excitement to Rip City.
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Tags: Alexey Shved Anthony Davis Charlotte Bobcats Damian Lillard Golden State Warriors Harrison Barnes Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Minnesota Timberwolves NBA New Orleans Hornets Portland Trail Blazers Rookies