Rookie Report: Week 6
Wall, Griffin, Fields, and a bunch of highlights.
by Eldon Khorshidi
Week 6 (Dec. 2 – Dec. 8 )
Welcome to the Rookie Report, a weekly judgment and analysis of the NBA’s Young Gunz.
Season: 20 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 2.8 apg
Week 6: 16.8 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 3.5 apg
Only 23 games into his career, Griffin is already facing constant double-teams, and he’s adjusted quite well. When the Sacramento Kings converged on him in the second half of Monday’s game, Griffin took what the defense gave and dished out a season-high seven assists. The seven dimes complemented a smooth 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Griffin is arguably the most NBA-ready big man in recent history. His foundation is a lethal drop-step and trampoline hops, and with some development (i.e. a 15-20 foot face-up game,), opposing teams will have serious trouble defending him. He leads the rookies in scoring and rebounding, and ranks 2nd in the league with 16 double-doubles. He gets to the hole at will, as he ranks 2nd among all power forwards in free-throw attempts per game (7.8). Although the Clippers have only five wins, the emerging Eric Gordon-Blake Griffin tandem shouldn’t be overlooked. They’re not winning, but the once shameful Clippers have transformed into a nightly highlight factory.
Season: 17.4 ppg, 9.1 apg, 2.4 spg
Week 6: 14.7 ppg, 9.3 apg, 1.3 spg
It was a big week for Wall, who faced some of the best veterans in the League. And as usual, when the spotlight came on he delivered. Matching up against Steve Nash, Wall dished 10 assists in the first half alone.
Next up for Wall was none other than Kobe Bryant. The rookie poured in 22 points, 14 assists and 5 rebounds, and earned praise from Kobe after the game (we’ll get to that). The Wizards almost overcame a huge deficit, but eventually let up. Nevertheless, Wall showcased his blazing speed, blowing past defenders as if they were practice dummies. And I’m not just talking about Steve Blake and Derek Fisher—he got Shannon Brown a few times too. With all the amazing point guards in the league today, each and every game will tell us something about Wall’s ability and character. He gets another chance at Kobe and Co. when they face L.A. next Tuesday.
Wall played in three of four games this week, as coach Flip Saunders decided to sit him last night vs. Sacramento. I’m sure many of us were excited to watch the Wall-Evans/Wall-Cousins matchup, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.
Wall is second in scoring among rookies, and 5th in the NBA in assists (1st among rookies). His 127 assists through 14 career games is the 2nd highest rookie total in the history of the league (Phil Ford had 135 in 1978-79).
He has a better assists/turnover ratio than Russ Westbrook, Raymond Felton, and Derrick Rose. For all the praise we gave the point guards in the class of ’09 (‘Reke, Jennings, Curry), Wall averages more dimes than all of them. Let’s take a look at his numbers through 14 games compared to the old rookies (current sophomores).
(I’ve included wins in the comparison because I come from a school of thought where the point guard, for the most part, is ultimately responsible for his team’s wins and losses. Obviously the talent on each roster and the competition they face play pivotal roles in their record, but you get the point.)
Through 14 career games:
John Wall: 17.4 ppg, 9.1 apg, 2.4 spg, 6 wins
Tyreke Evans: 19.1 ppg, 4.8 apg, 5.3 rpg, 7 wins
Brandon Jennings: 22.7 ppg, 5.6 apg, 4.3 rpg, 8 wins
Stephen Curry: 10.2 ppg, 5.2 apg, 3.1 rpg, 5 wins
Season: 10.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 52% field-goal percentage
Week 6: 8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 39% field-goal percentage
Another strong week for the most consistent rookie in the Eastern Conference. I touched on this last week, but I’ll expand on it further: Landry Fields is the real deal, and he’s a perfect fit for the Knicks. He provides all the little things that the Knicks are notoriously bad at (set good screens, make solid cuts, crash the boards, basically all the intangibles). Fields has the basketball IQ of a veteran and a special nose for the basketball.
At 31 minutes per game, Fields has the best FG% of any guard in the NBA and leads all guards in rebounding. Let’s put that in perspective: Landry Fields, a rookie wing player, averages more rebounds than Dwyane Wade, Andre Iguodala and LeBron James. In fact, he averages more boards than Dirk Nowitzki, David West, DeJuan Blair, DeMarcus Cousins, and Derrick Favors. Sheesh Landry, good work kid.
-Amar’e Stoudemire leads the NBA with 49 dunks. Blake Griffin is a close second with 47.
-DeMarcus Cousins had his strongest week of the season, averaging 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in only 27 minutes per. Cousins posted 17 and 11 vs. Dallas and 15 and 7 vs. the L.A. Clippers.
-Evan Turner has gone ice cold, virtually disappearing off the rookie radar. Over his last seven games, Turner’s averaging a meager 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds. Rookie slump or is this something more?
-Vinny Del Negro started Eric Bledsoe over Baron Davis in all of L.A.’s games this week, and Bledsoe handled the point guard duties well. He had 15 points, three assists, and three rebounds vs. Tyreke Evans, and posted 11 points, seven assists, and four rebounds vs. the Lakers. Although he played well, the Clippers lost three of their four games.
Highlights of the week:
John Wall blocks Derek Fisher:
DeMarcus Cousins dunks on JaVale McGee:
Landry Fields dunks on everyone:
Brandon Jennings to Larry Sanders:
John Wall to JaVale McGee:
Kobe Bryant on John Wall, Blake Griffin:
Ron Artest: “I want Blake Griffin to dunk on me.”