NBA Rookie Report: Week 4

NBA Rookie Report: Week 4
Dec 07, 2005, 02:21 am
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. 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-

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