It's always fun to finally see the well hyped rookies go to work in the NBA for the first time. While some may see this as a bit premature to judge and analyse these rookies i'm not waiting until the end of the month like I should so I can have a larger sample space to work but I'm impatient and we might as well take a look at the rooks and see what they are looking like after their first few games in the big time.
(Since half of this years rookies are either playing less then 10 minutes a game I will only be covering a few of the rookies)
Apart from the Brow getting it right between the eyes from Austin Rivers earlier in the week it's been a promising start for the 1st pick in their years draft. He's been everything that the Hornets would have looked for this moment in time. Davis is basically self-explanatory when it comes to off-ball defense and getting blocks and steals but like most rookies his on ball defense will have to improve over time. This being said his first game against Tim Duncan and the Spurs he showed that he wasn't going to be a push over but at the same time he was out-classed by a All-Star veteran of Duncan's talents. The same can be said about his offense. While he shows promise with his game is limited to pick and roll.
That being said he has an excellent ability to set screens for his PG before either setting himself for the pick and pop or rolling to the basket. He's got a solid mid range jumper which will help while he develop's his inside game. All this being said Davis gives off the same type of vibe that Blake Griffin did in his rookie season. You know the 20/10 every game vibe? Davis just gives off that vibe for me. What's even more scary for me is that I think he has much better poise and potential to be a far better post player then Griffin.
For a player that came from the Big Sky Conference he has played big time over the start of this season. Okay cheesy opening line aside Lillard has stepped into the role he needed to when he was drafted and not only that but he's shown the skills that scouts were wondering if he had. Lillard was taking by the Blazers so he could become their new franchise Point Guard to run the team. This however was a questionable task considering the lack of stats when it came to the assists part of his game. However Lillard has taken what was great about his college game(His terrific scoring ability) and combined it with solid ball handling and good distribution skills he has been exactly what the doctor ordered.
One thing that has been and will need to be important is the Assist/Turnover ratio for Lillard. Currently it stands at 2.67 which leads all rookies and comes in at around about 25th among all Point Guards in the league. If he can keep up this ratio while maintaining his PPG and APG then it will be very difficult to not give Lillard the ROY award. Another key factor to keep your eye on is his partnership with LaMarcus Aldridge who is the player that the Blazers want to build the franchise around. Lillard and Aldridge currently have a plus/minus of +23 through 101 minutes of play. While this is no-where near the league leading +52 of Jason Kidd and Carmelo Anthony it is solid and will be something that has to be maintained if the Blazers want some form of sustained success going forward.
Probably one of the biggest risers in recent draft history, Dion Waiters hype carried him all the way to the number 4th pick and to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Admittedly most scouts were predicting Waiters as a sort of 6th man scorer then out and out starter at the shooting guard position. Through the 3 games he's got steadily better and his 28 point performance against the Clippers was the real gem in the crown. Waiters was predicted as more of a slasher and player who would attack the basket more but against the Clippers he showed great range and terrific jump shooting prowess going 7-11 from beyond the arc.
Not only did this mark the first time he had shot more then 2 3-pointers in one game but it marked his first 25 point game. Waiters game is obviously based around his ability to get his shot and to fill it up. This considered it's going to be interesting to see how he adapts to his role as Kyrie Irving's wingman and how he'll change his game to add and compliment his partnership with Kyrie. However the best thing Waiters can do for himself now is work hard on his on ball defence so that he can get more minutes on the floor and not be a liability like so many other young scorers in the NBA.
Okay and now we come to the final man on my list for now. Now Barnes beat out some stiff competition to be named the starter for the Warriors but at this moment it's very frustrating to watch Barnes at the moment due to the amount of silly mistakes he seems prone to at the moment. Barnes has yet to show that potential for a few reasons. For a start he's only played 20 minutes on average as a starter and in those 20 minutes he averaging 7.5 points per game. The main reason I say it's frustrating to watch Barnes is because all you want to see him do is get on the ball and see what he can do. Set him up on some of those catch and shoot curl screens and see how he does. Set him up in an isolation play and see if he can get a shot off. Barnes has just not been getting enough of the ball for us to see what he can do.
Admittedly I wanted Barnes to come off the bench from the start of the season and have him come along like Klay did but now that he's firmly set as the starter with Rush out he's really got to step up and play consistent productive minutes. This however has been extremely hampered by the fact that Barnes currently ties Jonas Valanciunas as the leader of all NBA rookies in fouls per game with 3.3. Listen I'm willing to give Barnes time but considering the injury to our quality back-up in Rush and complete lack of faith I have in Jefferson he's really got to grow up really fast.
(I'll do a follow up in a month or so when we've seen more of this current batch of youngins. Hope you enjoyed the read.)