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NBA Rookie Report: Week 4
by: Eric Weiss - Sports Aptitude
December 7, 2005
Another week and another intriguing slate of games are in the books. In this installment of the Rookie Report we’ll look at the excellent play of Knicks center Channing Frye, Jazz point guard Deron Williams, Hawks combo guard Salim Stoudamire and Warriors power forward Ike Diogu. Our spotlight matchup of the week pits Deron Williams against superstar Kobe Bryant.

Channing Frye- Season: 14.7pts, 5.9rbs. Best game: 21pts, 11rbs



The Good: Frye is shooting a blistering 50% from the field, showing an amazing touch out to 3 point range as well as good moves around the basket. Frye is starting to utilize his great outside touch to set up his drives to the hoop and his aggressive interior play is starting to reap benefits at the line as he’s averaging over 5 free throws per game and shooting 84%. Frye is a smart player who understands his role on the floor and is capable of playing the game “the right way,” which has allowed him to prove himself on the floor to his demanding coach Larry Brown.

The Bad: Frye still has to improve his ball-handling skills to really take advantage of his offensive potential. Consistent rebounding is also needed as he finds himself having such success with the outside shot there is a tendency to drift away for the perimeter set-up. Improving his man to man and team defense while minimizing rookie mistakes will continue to endear himself to Larry Brown.

Outlook: Despite the stereotype coming out of college, Frye hasn’t looked soft at all, although he does play out on the elbow a lot. When Frye is positioned inside he doesn’t shy away from contact and his quickness and fluidity allow him to get his hands on a lot of loose balls. The more Frye works on his ball handling the more his offensive game will grow. Frye is smart enough to listen to his coach and will reap the benefits in the long term in his all-around game. I see Frye eventually having more success as a power forward opposite Eddie Curry or Antonio Davis because his skills really compliment the tough interior play of those two. He’s got New York’s attention and I don’t see him losing it anytime soon.




Deron Williams- Season: 14pts, 3.1rbs, 4.8asts. Best game: 24pts, 5rbs, 7ast, 2stls.

The Good: Deron has shown tremendous composure running Jerry Sloan’s offense like he’s been there for years. Williams has shown a nice touch on his 3 point jumper, hitting roughly 39% from outside. Williams’ assist to turnover ratio is improving week to week and the assists have really picked up. Williams has also shown himself to be a tough nosed rebounding point guard, getting in the mix often on the defensive glass.

The Bad: Williams’ shooting from the field has not been strong, hitting only 41%. Deron isn’t hitting a high percentage of his free throws either as 71% is not befitting of a point guard who is expected to handle the ball at the end of games. Deron also tends to be a bit methodical when setting up the offense. He would rather slow things down than push the tempo and this has bothered Sloan from time to time.

Outlook: Williams is looking much more solid than I thought he would coming out the gates. The Jazz run an offense that requires a lot from its point guard and while Deron may be slow at times, he usually makes the right play. If Williams gets a solid interior presence to play with, such as Boozer if he ever returns, he will get more set shots for himself and that will greatly improve his shooting.




Ike Diogu- Season: 8pt,s 3.7rbs. [b]Best game: 15pts, 7rbs

The Good: The best thing for Diogu so far has been getting back on the court. A broken hand kept him out of most of training camp and the start of the season. Though a little rusty, Ike has looked solid on the court in his minutes. His inside presence on the boards and general toughness stands out on a perimeter oriented Warriors team. Diogu has looked to use his mid-range jumper to set up drives and has been active on the offensive boards in a limited and inconsistent role.

The Bad: Diogu is way behind the curve right now due to his extended absence and the team has found a groove while he’s been gone, so he’ll have to work extra hard to carve a niche for himself. While one of the few true interior players on the Warriors, Diogu is fighting for time with Andres Biedrins who is a much larger player and a center/forward combo. Ike will have to split time with Biedrins until he proves himself worthy of minutes at the expense of Troy Murphy.

Outlook: Ike’s skill set should be a valuable asset to the Warriors as the team is very similar to the Sonics of last season. Diogu will find himself alone in the paint with his defender often due to the high volume of 3 point shots the Warriors shoot. Considering the limitations of Adonal Foyle, there is a good chance that Biedrins gets most of his minutes at the 5 leaving Diogu to clean up the extra time behind Murphy.




Salim Stoudamire- Season: 10.6pts, 2.5rbs, 1.5asts. [b]Best game: 30pts, 4rbs, 4asts.



The Good: Salim has turned himself into a deadly off the bench scorer in the short time he’s been in the league. Stoudamire has a quick and accurate release and considering how difficult some of his shots have been it’s impressive that he’s shooting 45% from the field and at a very solid 42% from beyond the arc. Stoudamire brings toughness to the court with his aggressive play and really forces the issue with the ball in his hands which gets his teammates energy level up and back in the game.

The Bad: Stoudamire really doesn’t bring much else to the table other than his incredibly quick offensive outbursts. He’s not much of a playmaker at this point and defense is a problem due to his size. Consistency has been an issue as well and he must improve on setting up the rest of his teammates and recognizing game situations to be a reliable asset.

Outlook: Salim has been very impressive thus far considering how far he slid in the draft. As long as he doesn’t limit his growth and continues to work on the other areas of his game he will be a valuable role player. Stoudamire’s confidence manifests itself in some erratic shot selection at times, but it must be difficult to stay within the offense when things go poorly so often for the team. Mental dexterity and a tireless approach to understanding his teammates will spell success for Stoudamire.




Spotlight Match-up of the Week: Deron Williams vs. Kobe Bryant

1st Half: Williams was impressive in his composure and understanding of when to do what. Playing against a tough defender in Smush Parker, Deron was calm and collected having no trouble giving up the ball for the quick reset when necessary and using good footwork to free up his shooting. Williams hit a nice step-back 3 pointer and was extremely solid in his form as he set both feet and elevated straight and tight with an arching delivery. Deron uses changes of speed and deliberate jab steps to keep his defender off balance and is able to remain focused on the rest of the court while doing so. One play that stood out was a nice dribble drive left where Williams planted hard and rose up as if to shoot, only to reverse pivot and make the smooth interior pass into the post for a nice assist.

2nd Half: Williams was benched for a brief time in the 2nd half for not pushing the tempo enough. But, when the game got down to crunch time, Williams was in full control of the action. Though not extremely active off the ball, Williams was extremely vocal. Deron was continually barking out orders to get his teammates in proper position. Williams’ defense really improved in the second half as he locked up Smush Parker a number of times, hit just about every shot he took, and collected a number of key assists.

Play of the Game: The reason I chose to compare to Williams to Kobe as the key matchup was due to the control each player had of their respective team and the extreme difference in their decision making. Williams was controlled and methodical throughout the game and really took over toward the end of the 4th quarter and overtime. Williams hit two shots that gave his team the lead late in the game and assisted on two others.

Bryant, on the other hand, was completely erratic throughout the game and showed no recognition of game situation at all. His shots were arbitrary and ill timed and his game was devoid of any patterned execution. The only positive play he had was a foul he drew with time expiring during regulation. Bryant wasn’t fouled, but he threw his arm into the defender after the shot and sold the official on it. Williams was so far advanced in his game management as a floor leader it was almost embarrassing.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to eric.weiss@gmail.com .

 

Channing Frye
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 244 lbs.
Birthday: 05/17/1983
31 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Mary
Previous Team: Arizona , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #8 in 2005 Draft
by the Knicks
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: PF/C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
Pts, Rebs, Asts


Deron Williams
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 202 lbs.
Birthday: 06/26/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Colony
Previous Team: Nets , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #3 in 2005 Draft
by the Jazz
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
19.0 Pts, 3.0 Rebs, 8.0 Asts


Salim Stoudamire
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Birthday: 10/11/1982
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Lake Oswego
Previous Team: Arizona , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #1 in 2005 Draft
by the Hawks
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
8.1 Pts, 1.2 Rebs, 1.5 Asts


Ike Diogu
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 255 lbs.
Birthday: 09/12/1983
31 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Garland
Previous Team: Arizona State , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #9 in 2005 Draft
by the Warriors
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
17.9 Pts, 9.9 Rebs, 1.4 Asts


Kobe Bryant
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthday: 08/23/1978
36 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Lower Merion
Previous Team: Lakers , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #13 in 1996 Draft
by the Hornets
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
25.0 Pts, 3.5 Rebs, 2.5 Asts


Larry Brown
Full Profile
Physicals
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 160 lbs.
Birthday: 09/14/1940
74 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Long Beach
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 7, Pick #2 in 1963 Draft
by the Bullets
Positions:
Current: G,
NBA: G,
Possible: G


Antonio Davis
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 215 lbs.
Birthday: 10/31/1968
45 Years Old
Teams:
High School: McClymonds
Previous Team: UTEP , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #18 in 1990 Draft
by the Pacers
Positions:
Current: F,
NBA: F,
Possible: F
Quick Stats:
4.4 Pts, 4.5 Rebs, 0.9 Asts


Ron_ Williams
Full Profile
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 188 lbs.
Birthday: 09/24/1944
70 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Weirton
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #9 in 1968 Draft
by the Warriors
Positions:
Current: G,
NBA: G,
Possible: G


Jerry Sloan
Full Profile
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 195 lbs.
Birthday: 03/28/1942
72 Years Old
Teams:
High School: McLeansboro
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 3, Pick #3 in 1964 Draft
by the Bullets
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: G,
Possible: G


Troy Murphy
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 11"
Weight: 230 lbs.
Birthday: 05/02/1980
34 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Delbarton
Previous Team: Notre Dame , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #14 in 2001 Draft
by the Warriors
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
4.6 Pts, 3.5 Rebs, 0.5 Asts


Adonal Foyle
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 263 lbs.
Birthday: 03/09/1975
39 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Hamilton
Previous Team: Colgate , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #8 in 1997 Draft
by the Warriors
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
Pts, Rebs, Asts


Smush Parker
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 179 lbs.
Birthday: 06/01/1981
33 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Newtown
Previous Team: Fordham , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG/SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
16.2 Pts, 3.2 Rebs, 1.4 Asts


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