jueves, 3 de julio de 2008


Rookie Watch: Who are the early favorites for ROY?

Draft's over. Time to look ahead to the 2008-09 season. Which rookies will have the biggest impact? Who are the Rookie of the Year contenders?

Here's my list of the top 20 rookies:

1. Michael Beasley, PF, Heat
He's a prodigious talent who will be extremely productive in Miami or wherever he ends up. The Heat pride themselves on being a top-notch organization, so if they keep him they will focus heavily on wringing all of Beasley's talents out of him in short order.

2. Greg Oden, C, Trail Blazers
This is based on his playing on two healthy legs, naturally. Out all of last season after microfracture surgery, last year's No. 1 pick becomes the other man-child of this rookie class. Oden is a true force on both ends and will compete with passion and purpose every night.

3. Rudy Fernandez, SG, Trail Blazers
I love players who have been productive in the best leagues in Europe (think Luis Scola and Juan Carlos Navarro). Fernandez is ready to play and has the potential to develop even further.

4. Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies
Skilled, experienced and full of confidence. Don't discount the effect of having his brother, Pau, in his ear all summer, teaching him the nuances of the NBA.

5. Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls
Let's not forget he is still very young and the Bulls still have Kirk Hinrich, who has lots of talent. Rose is going to be great, but not overnight. Still, he projects to be an All-Rookie performer.

6. Kevin Love, PF, Timberwolves
I know his athleticism and overall physique are in question, but he's too tough, smart and skilled not to be an effective player early on. Thanks to the trade to Minnesota, he should get major minutes. He is a perfect fit (offensively) next to Big Al.

7. O.J. Mayo, SG, Grizzlies
Obviously, a talent like Mayo should rank higher, but Conley and Gay are youngsters who will get lots of minutes. Playing three young players together is a disastrous recipe most of the time, so O.J. may have to wait his turn just for a little bit.

8. Danilo Gallinari, SF, Knicks
Another highly skilled and experienced player from Europe, Gallinari is in a system that perfectly complements his skill set. I get the feeling he'll have a special bond with head coach Mike D'Antoni, a la Steve Nash.

9. Eric Gordon, SG, Clippers
Brilliant shooter/scorer who should get minutes in L.A. He's got a motor and some talent around him that will help his transition.

10. Brandon Rush, SG, Pacers
Has a beautiful outside stroke and is ready to defend -- a perfect fit in Indy. Newly acquired point guard T.J. Ford will get him shots in half-court sets and in transition.

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