NBA Rookie Report Season Review: Part One

NBA Rookie Report Season Review: Part One
May 05, 2006, 01:24 am
With the season finally at its conclusion, and the NBA All-Rookie team released, let’s take a look back at the rookie class from this year and see how they faired. The parts written in italics were written before the season began in our Rookie Preview. Below each preseason rookie analysis will be an evaluation of how accurate our assessment was of each player’s role and anticipated success. At the end of the review we’ll do a tally to see how close we were in each category to predicting all the players’ respective impacts.

For the sake of analysis, we will take the season totals of every player for the games in which they played 24 minutes or more to get a better sense of what his potential may be. Per 48 minute stats are often skewed by limited playing time, so looking at the games in which a player actually logged significant playing time seems like a more accurate indicator of his ability to impact a game when given the chance. Obviously the less games a player got to play big minutes the less reliable the averages are, but since all of these players have only a single year of experience it should serve as a decent enough indicator for our purposes as it can serve as a baseline for improvement next season.

Part Two: Sneaky Sleepers

NBA T-Mobile All-Rookie Team

Draft Express Rookie Radar

The rookie class has been broken down into four categories: First Year/Fast Track, Back-Burner/Bench Warmers, Sneaky Sleepers and Top Secret Big Men. The first group is all players that are expected to contribute rotation minutes this season--roughly 15 minutes and up. In the second group we have some talented players who may not start off with minutes, but who could catch the attention of their team before the year is through. The third group consists of players that may find playing time difficult due to depth chart and personal development issues. The fourth group is simply lesser heralded big men that showed tremendous upside in Summer League or other venues and earned contracts for their efforts. All groups will be well covered this season and their placement on either list can change based of a myriad of circumstances that may vary over the course of this upcoming NBA season. I’ve starred the players I feel will be the ten best overall, though it may take 2 or 3 seasons for some of them to develop.

First year/Fast Track:

Ike Diogu- The Warriors frontcourt rotation is short on depth and experience. Diogu’s toughness on the interior is a solid compliment to Troy Murphy’s outside game and the two could find themselves on the court together if/when coach Mike Montgomery decides to go small. Ike will have to improve defensively, but he’s got a solid interior game, a nice jump shot and he’ll rebound on both sides of the court. Diogu will bang down low and help draw attention away from the Warriors superior perimeter attack. An unfortunate injury early in training camp has set him back somewhat early on, but Ike should bounce back strong enough.

Final Analysis- 15 games over 24mpg: 14.33ppg 7rpg .524fg% .810ft%
In the limited number of times that coach Montgomery actually went to Diogu, Ike did exactly what we thought he could do. Diogu was a beast on the offensive glass and scored very effectively on the interior and the face-up jumper. Team politics kept Diogu from getting more playing time earlier in the season, but the Warriors know what they have and it looks as if Diogu has the inside track on some real rotation run going into next season. Preseason Analysis: Accurate

Deron Williams- I’m still not sold on Williams as a top flight point guard. Still, he has the backing of coach Sloan and will have plenty of competent players around him to take the pressure off. I expect Williams to defend well and get the offense set, but I question the rest of his game early on in his NBA career. If the attitude and work ethic is there he should make himself into a decent enough shooter to help space the floor for Boozer, Harpring, and Kirilenko.

Final Analysis- 63 games over 24mpg: 12.2ppg 5apg, .421fg% .416 3pt%
Early in the season Williams played much better than anticipated, making me second guess my initial analysis. He fell off during the middle of the season which made me feel more certain of my initial impressions. But, Williams really turned it on during Utah’s late season push and showed what he’s capable of going into next season. So while the overall consistency wasn’t there to make Williams a sure-fire impact player next season, he’s shown quite enough for the Jazz to be optimistic.
Preseason Analysis: mixed

Martell Webster- Webster has a chance to get some solid rotation minutes this season due to the Blazer’s youth movement. Great size and top-notch intelligence make him a contender for time in the rotation. There will be a lot of jockeying for position in Portland’s training camp at both the 1 and the 2, but I think Webster will come out with a role on this team, even if only to somewhat justify his lofty spot in the draft. Webster’s probably the only pure shooter the Blazers have besides new signee Steve Blake and the streaky and inconsistent Juan Dixon.

Final Analysis- 15 games over 24mpg: 12.9ppg, .357 3pt% .849ft%
Webster was predictably slow coming out of the gate, but a small jaunt down in the D-League was all it took to get Webster into a groove and from there he earned himself a spot in the rotation and started to blossom as the dead-eye shooter he will eventually be known as. Webster has a ton of things to work on to be a complete player, but his strong late season showing proved that he’ll be able to score on this level, which is a great place to start. Preseason Analysis: accurate

Rashad McCants- I’m only putting him in this position because of his status as a North Carolina lottery pick. McCants will have to be more than just a shooter to get time at the 2 in Minnesota, and that has already been subtly implied by T’Wolves coach Dwayne Casey. McCants can score, but so can Troy Hudson and Wally Szczerbiak, while Trenton Hassel has proven to be a solid defensive presence. With the addition of Marko Jaric, McCants will have to shine early and show solid shot selection or Kevin Garnett will quickly tire of him.

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