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Thursday, October 28, 2010

NBA Rookies To Watch 2010-2011

Every season there is an aura of excitement as well as uncertainty surrounding the NBA's incoming rookie class. Especially for someone like myself as I always tend to analyze prospects potential to be good professionals (I have a dream of one day being a scout). Will the top draft picks be able to live up to expectations? Will the "sleeper" pick make the team look like geniuses or look silly (we're looking at you, Kwame Brown). With all that said, here is a look at my picks for 10 rookies to watch this season, (5) for better and (5) for worse:

1. John Wall (1st overall, Washington Wizards)

By now you have heard about the ultra quick and crazy athletic point guard for the Wizards that everyone is excited about. Well believe the hype. Wall is a can't miss NBA star in the making. He can get to the basket at will and if he continues to work on his jumper he will be a serious problem. Things are looking up for the Wizards.

2. Blake Griffin (1st overall in 2009, Los Angeles Clippers)

Griffin missed all of last season with a knee injury but watching his play in preseason gives you a taste of what  he is capable of. He attacks the rim relentlessly and is good for a couple highlight dunks a night. He has even flashed signs of a jumper and nifty handles for a 6-10/250 power forward. Not to mention he's still only 21. He and Wall should be locked in a battle for ROY.

3. Wesley Johnson (3rd overall, Minnesota Timberwolves)

I remember before the draft mentioning that Johnson reminded me of a smoother version of Shawn Marion, with his ability to rebound, block shots and finish above the rim. Those attributes all hold true and Johnson is also much more polished offensively. He has a real nice jump shot and is fundamentally sound. He should get plenty of burn for the lowly Timberwolves.

4. DeMarcus Cousins (5th overall, Sacramento Kings)

Cousins is an absolute beast in the paint. He put up monster numbers while teamed up with Wall as freshmen at Kentucky, all in a system that may not have taken full advantage of his post potential. Cousins has excellent hands and is a load to keep off the glass. He even has a little bit of a face up game and can take slower centers off the dribble. Cousins should be 1st team all rookie and a future all-star if he can control his emotions.

5. Cole Aldrich (11th overall by the New Orleans Hornets, traded to the Thunder)

Aldrich makes this list as he fills a definite need for a clear playoff contender. He's big, knows his role and will block and alter shots. Aldrich can knock down a shot jump shot, and showed a decent hook shot and post game in college. Aldrich is the definition of a "value" pick and should make a nice impact for the Thunder this season.

The "Worst"

5. Evan Turner (2rd overall, Philadelphia 76ers)

I know, I know, Turner was spectacular last season for the Ohio St. Buckeyes and he may have a solid pro career, but this is about the 2010-2011 season, where Turner will struggle. He and Sixers current star Andre Iguodala virtually play the same position and the Sixers will experiment with Turner at the point but that isn't his game. His arrival won't have a big enough effect on the season for me to consider him a stud. Yet.

4. Derrick Favors (3rd overall, New Jersey Nets)

Favors is the youngest player in the NBA this season and will face some growing pains. He has legit NBA size for a power forward and reminds me a little of Amare' Stoudemire but this season won't be the one where we see his full potential. If I'm wrong, then why did the Nets stock up on power forwards in the off season? I rest my case.

3. Epke Udoh (6th overall, Golden State Warriors)

This was a real reach as the 6th pick, especially when there were so many other players that Golden State could have used. Udoh is older than your average NBA rookie and only produced one decent season at Baylor and won't see the court until December or January due to injury. And I doubt he'll play much when he is healthy.

2. Eric Bledsoe (18th overall by Oklahoma Thunder, traded to the Clippers)

Entering his freshman year at Kentucky, Bledsoe was considered a top point guard prospect with excellent athleticism. But he was forced to play off the ball as Wall was the point, which probably stunted his growth as a floor general. He may be a decent back up one day but he will be hard pressed to see the floor this season. Another year running Kentucky after Wall left would have served Bledsoe well. But hey, he's a millionaire so I guess it was a win for him.

1. Daniel Orton (29th overall, Orlando Magic)

Talk about a reach. Orton barely played as a freshman for Kentucky (notice a trend?) and only 13 minutes when he did, averaging a little over 3 points and 3 boards per. You can't teach size, and Orlando figured he could eventually be serviceable backing up Dwight Howard. But Orton looked down right horrible in summer league play and couldn't avoid getting a ton of fouls. I don't see any of the skills you would look for in a 1st round big man, but 'm no expert. I'm sure the Magic could have done better than Orton though.


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