Monday, December 21st, 2009 at 9:01 am  |  51 responses

The Post Up: Rookie Race

And a wild Saturday night.

by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

It’s Monday…. And I’m going home. Yes, it’s that time of the year and I’m ridiculously excited. I’m flying out to Nova Scotia in a few short hours and I cannot wait to see my mother. I’m also excited to dig into this stack of books I’ve got waiting for me.

Before I head out, holy rookie battle between Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings on Saturday night, right?

While Evans got the W, and got his team the W with a driving layup with .9 seconds on the clock, the two rookies were both awesome to watch battle down the strethc. Someone wanna explain to me how Jennings comes up with so many big rebounds? And Evans, HOW does he look so experienced? He just does not look like this is his first stab at the NBA game.

I had a lot of fun watching that one.

Saturday night was just insane for hoops all around. Can you recall a December night in the NBA with so many close games?

The Bulls hung on to take down Atlanta, despite Derrick Rose missing two free throws that would have clinched the game. Spurs and Pacers went down to the wire with Duncan playing hero and Andre Iguodala hit the closest “too-late” buzzer-beater that I’ve ever seen.

Also, hellllllo, Memphis. We see you. You’re not giving us any chance not to. Zach Randolph was huge in a victory against the Denver Nuggets yesterday. He scored 32 points and pulled down a career-high 24 rebouds as the Grizzlies took down Denver 102-96. Huge win for the Grizz who were up by as many as 23 in the first half and managed to weather a Nuggets push late.

Was able to watch Chris Paul up close for the first time yesterday and what do you know, Marcus Banks came in and did a defensive number on him. Crazy, right? I sound as though I’m kidding, but in all seriousness, the size of Banks as well as Jarrett Jack seemed to give Paul some trouble and he wasn’t ever really able to get it going offensively. Of course, he also left the game in the second quarter after tweaking that ankle that caused him to miss eight games earlier this season but claimed the ankle wasn’t the problem. He’s a tough one.

I know not many of you catch Raptors games –and I don’t blame you, with how a lot of this season has gone– but, man, Amir Johnson is the easiest player to root for in the entire league. He’s fun, he hustles and he busts his ass on every single possession. He had 12 boards in 21 minutes last night and the guy is just the easiest, nicest, most down-to-earth professional athlete you could ever imagine.

Guys working hard make me happy.

So do great basketball books. If you haven’t already, read The Art of a Beautiful Game. For some Christmas reading grab Jackie MacMullan’s When the Game Was Ours” with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Of course, Simmons’ Book of Basketball is on my list, too and of course, Shooting Stars, the LeBron book, although I still maintain that “More Than A Game” is the best movie I’ll see this year. And next year, too.

Okay, I’ve gotta get to packing. If you were caught in the storm this weekend, I hope you enjoyed the time in and that you’re all safe, happy and healthy.

Oh yeah! I was happy the Blazers redeemed themselves on the second night of a back-to-back after, winning in Miami after falling apart in Orlando.

And, um, Carl Landry? Warrior of the season, I think. Crazy, crazy, crazy that Lou Williams was back in action so quick from that broken jaw, too.

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  • riggs

    i know that rook vs rook game was nirvana for you holly

  • http://www.worldstarhiphop.com The Real

    lets see what the numbers look like for these rooks in 3 months, then we’ll talk.

  • Aussie Boy

    i admit that tyreke is an amazing player for now and the future… but something makes me want Brandon Jennings to be better and take over the league… i dont know why, but i hope he wins ROY and goes on to do well… maybe its because he was the 10th pick rather than an earlier pick… but hes my guy since rubio is in spain

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Wade may have been right when he said Tyreke is the best rookie in the L.

  • Atrain

    I think Jennings gets it because their numbers will be close but the Bucks will have a better record and a shot at the playoffs

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    Reke isn’t having any mercy on anyone in the L right now. It’s crazy watching him body Gil like he was a little kid the other night and the way he just gets to the rack. I see how he got his nickname of “too easy”. play wit it.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    co-sign tad. i thought wade was tripping but… man, the guy was just built for this. never fazed, never rattled. he’s already a vet!

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if BOTH Rookie’s got the award. But as of now, Tyreke is a more consistent player.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    Yeah I think ever since that double cinco that BJ put up, his numbers haven’t been consistent at all. He still gets his points on most nights, but that comes from all the jacking he does. I’d like to see his assist numbers stay consistent as well. play wit it.

  • http://www.digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    I think Tyreke will get it. Brandon has Bogut and Tyreke has been doing all of this without kevin martin or cisco garcia, the only real “vets” besides kenny thomas and (sorta) rodriguez. And if Tyreke keeps his averages at about where they are it is set. More interesting to me…should Paul Westphal be in the COY running.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    I just want to hear jukai say he was wrong about Reke.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    i don’t know why they’re (alledgedly) putting martin on the block though. call me crazy, but i think a reke-martin backcourt can actually work. kmart is a scorer but he’s not ball-dominant.

  • riggs

    um tyreke has jason thompson…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    When is dude coming back anyway. He breaks a bone in every game he plays in.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    Kevin Martin and Reke can only work if you move Reke to the 3. Tyreke Evans is not a point guard.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Holly, Amir is awsome!! I do not understand how Amir, Weems, and Mensu don’t play on a line together.

  • http://www.digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    @DP: exactly…Martin is fragile. He also doesn’t fit into the system necessarily…trade him for a draft pick and keep building.

  • http://www.digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    @riggs: you are really saying, barring injuries, that Jason Thompson is equals with Bogut? I like Jason and he could get there, maybe, but Bogut’s defense and post game is a lot better right now. 15-18 foot jumpers…I might go with Jason, as well as for athleticism.

  • Royal

    Would a Martin for Monta Ellis trade work??

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I would trade Kevin Martin as well. But his contract is insane.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Oh and Holly. When you are in NS, I am heading back this year. To much money … but pick me up some Chris Brothers Pepperoni… thanks : D!!!

  • LeoneL

    I say the Kings should trade Martin for a center. Spencer Hawes has potential but right now, he doesn’t seem to be showing a lot of “it”.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    NOT heading back***

  • jdn41

    i really like reading holly’s collumns you just sound like a real true fan in the purest sense good job holly keep it up

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    Eh, not sure. evans and monta kind of do the same things to me so I’m not sure how they would mesh. Steph and monta are just starting to get some so I don’t think the warriors are going to break them up right now. play wit it.

  • rahim

    @brian, shut up dummy

  • tavoris

    @AlbertBarr…right now, I’d take Thompson over anybody on the Bucks not named Redd or Jennings.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    Bryan: I was wrong hardcore on Reke, and right now there is no way Jennings is getting that number one spot. Dude not only is winning it out, but he’s making me a fan in the process. I love his game, he reminds me of Brandon Roy in his cool, calculated way of going about things.
    When players prove me wrong, I usually still dislike them, but something about Tyreke Evans is really likable. Just love his game.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    Also, can’t WAIT for my two favorite teams, the Cavaliers and Suns, to matchup tonight! The battle of who can choke less! I’m sure Nash will pass over several wide open shots, and Lebron will dribble possessions away in the clutch at least three times. I predict sixteen overtimes! FML!

  • http://www.digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    @tavoris…Im down with givin some props to JT and I am High on his future but he makes alot of bad decisions that lead to stupid fouls and turnovers. So, although I wouldnt trade JT for anyone on the bucks, I do think Bogut is a better second banana for Jennings at this point than JT for evans.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    I’d probably choose Bogut today, tomorrow, and every day after that. I think Jason Thompson (remember the guy who SLAM said would mostly likely disappear after the draft?) has a lot of upside, but I think Bogut still has some too.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    LOL Jukai 3:22.
    LeBron should just dribble it for 22 seconds then pass to Nash who’ll hoist a halfcourt shot.

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    BRANDON ROY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NOW THATS A CLUTCH PLAYA…and nobody can say otherwise!

  • http://aksdjndfd.com Jray

    Even though its been said, Tyreke is WAY more consistent. And what about a Martin for Calderon? Jarret has been playing above par lately…

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    play with it…and reke is ROYear, just cause is a defensive beast also, witch young buck is not!

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    heres a trade that could work, kevin martin for caron butler. tho, gil and martin in the same backcourt would be insane, theyd go for 50 every night, you could not guard them.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper


  • litetitan

    Kudos to Jukai for the ‘Ben Folds Five’ reference; hopefully this is not the first loss at home for the Suns….Ty ‘reke havoc’ could be the next decades best nicname after it’s all said and done, he’s certainly putting Sactramento on the map in the early goings of this season….And when did Memphis turn up that delightfully youthful ‘giant killer’ mentality? Thats going to do some damage if they can get amongst it in the playoffs, (unless it’s LA in the 1st round for them)….Not even the Chicago faithful can withstand the combo: Vinny Del Negro AND Derrick Rose official “2nd year curse” in play!….Marcus Banks gets court time and things happen – remember when he was the lead guard for Boston? He probably doesn’t send cards to Rondo….

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I can see where Tavoris is going. I know last year the Kings had Thompson playing out of position at small forward and he still did pretty good. I question whether you can really depend on Bogut as a main guy.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    Allenp: Probably not, he reminds me of Marcus Camby-light.. He’ll have 20-15-4 games and then not play for three games afterwards.
    But are you insinuating that Jason Thompson can be ‘the man?’ They are both professional role players.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    Jray: That’s actually a fantastic trade…. Let’s make a little more advanced, let’s say Martin and Beno Udrih for Calderon, DeRozan and Reggie Evans?
    Therefore Toronto gets a backup point guard for Jarret Jack and an all-star shooting guard who will bring toughness to the team and help alleviate the load Chris Bosh is carrying… and the Kings get an intelligent and team-oriented leader in Calderon who can help mold those young kids with his veteran-ship and defer to other players, and DeRozan, a budding young star who can come off the bench when Tyreke Evans sits or slides to the one.
    Reggie Evans is just so the salaries balance out, he can be waived whenever.

  • mar

    Jenning>Tyreke check the stats fo sho

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    Jennings: 20/4/6/1.1 on 40/41/83 percent shooting
    Evans: 20/5/5/1.5 on 46/25/78 percent shooting
    Seems entirely even to me, Mar. Have YOU checked the stats?

  • J

    co-ROY anyone?

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    This just in: Reke is killing it, check that 35(!!!)point comeback win against Chicago. Russ, I’m sorry.

  • Aussie Boy

    missing me some rubio :(

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Andrew Bogut just had a 31/18 against Indiana. Can i now take credit for his resurgent form after spending a few days this summer in Asia doing shooting drills in an empty gym with him, my boss and his manager/friend? Nope (but i do feel kinda good about it :-)

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    what is a “rubio”?

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Andrew Bogut belongs on the All Star Team, East. No question about it.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    31 18. what was that about bogut?

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    More stat comparisons!
    Andrew “second banana” Bogut: 31-18-3-1-3 on 73% shooting!
    Jason “The Man” Thompson: 14-7-2-2-0 on 47% shooting!
    Yep, I’d take Thompson over Bogut anyday. Yep. Totally.