Rookies Most Likely To…
Who do we like (besides Kevin Durant)?
Hopefully you all (save for you non-US readers who have made your unhappiness with the time it takes SLAM to reach you very clear) have gotten this issue by now.
One thing in it, which SLAM readers might enjoy debating in the comments section and which online-only heads should see either way, is our Annual Rookie’s Most Likely Too feature.
Here’s how it runs, verbatim, in the new issue:
Before Greg Oden’s injury, this had the makings of a legendary rookie class. Now, it may just be “Kevin Durant and some other guys.” But do we think KD will be great from the jump? And which “other guys” are we high on? Check the latest installment of an annual tradition (and check pg. 110 to see how we did last year). P.S. Yes, we had to round off.
Voters: Russ Bengtson, Contributing Editor; Ryan Jones, Contributing Editor; Ben Osborne, Editor-in-Chief; Dennis Page, Publisher; Susan Price, Managing Editor; Sam Rubenstein, Online Editor; Khalid Salaam, Senior Editor; Aggrey Sam, Senior Writer; Vincent Thomas, Copy Editor; Bonsu Thompson, Senior Writer; Lang Whitaker, Executive Editor; Nima Zarrabi, Senior Writer; Ronnie Zeidel, Associate Publisher
Average 20 Points: Kevin Durant, 85%; Al Thorton, 8%; Marco Belinelli, 8%
“You are Coach Carlesimo and inherited a team that just traded its busiest shooter—Ray Allen and his 1,400 shots a year. Which other Sonic are you giving them to? Says here KD will reward your faith.”—Bonsu Thompson
Average 10 Rebounds: Al Horford, 54%; Kevin Durant, 15%; Joakim Noah, Brandon Wright, Glen Davis, Spencer Hawes, 8% each
“The Hawks are going to miss a lot of shots, just like usual, and all Al Horford has to do is throw his big body around and let the ball come to him. Kind of like at Florida, except without the winning titles part.”—Sam Rubenstein
Average 10 Assists: Mike Conley, 54%; Acie Law, 31%; Aaron Brooks, 15%
“I picked Mike Conley because I had to pick someone and Conley was the first point guard drafted. Do I really think he’ll average 10 apg? No. But he has at least as good a chance as Brian Davis does of buying the Grizz.”—Lang Whitaker
Unfairly Get Bench Splinters: Rodney Stuckey, 15%; Brandon Wright, 15%; Julian Wright, Greg Oden, Joakim Noah, Jeff Green, Arron Afflalo, Morris Almond, Thaddeus Young, Sean Williams, Marco Belinelli, 8% each
“Rodney Stuckey is a cold-blood scorer who might lead the League in points per minute. Too bad he’ll probably only play three minutes per game.”—Ryan Jones
Lead the League in Turnovers: Kevin Durant, 38%; Mike Conley, 31%; Acie Law, 23%; Javaris Crittenton, 8%
“The polite answer is that he will have the ball in his hand the most. But I’d also like to add that even though KD is a sick scorer, his handle is a little loose. This combination of factors is going to yield a lot of turnovers.” -Ben Osborne
Lead the League in Blocks: Joakim Noah, 62%; Jared Dudley, Wilson Chandler, Sean Williams, Al Horford, Brandon Wright, 8% each
“Joakim was a beast in college, and if you add that to the fact that he’s going to watch and learn from shot-blocking master Ben Wallace every day in practice, there’s no question he’ll do it again in the pros. Also: he’s really tall.”—Susan Price
Be Rookie of the Year: Kevin Durant, 93%; Corey Brewer, 8%
“With Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis gone, Durant will start and pull 15-20 shots per game. Expect good numbers and plenty of highlights, even as the Sonics struggle to win 30 games. Despite the losses, Durant will revive Seattle fans and scoop up ROY honors.”—Nima Zarrabi
Hurt Himself Running Laps: Yi Jianlian, 23%; Spencer Hawes, 23%; Aaron Gray, 15%; Joakim Noah, 15%; Alando Tucker, Julian Wright, Greg Oden, 8% each
“Yi will need time to get accustomed to the League. In doing so, he may overexert himself while trying to impress his new teammates or the Chinese government and pull a groin muscle or something.”—Khalid Salaam
Fade Into Obscurity: Spencer Hawes, 23%; Brandan Wright, Yi Jianlian, Thaddeus Young, Aaron Gray, Arron Afflalo, Stanko Barac, Greg Oden, Aaron Brooks, Nick Young, Jason Smith, 8% each
“By the year 2012, instead of on an NBA court, you will be able to catch Hawes choppin’ it up with Patrick O’Bryant, Robert Swift, and Nikoloz Tskitishvili on NBA TV’s version of The Surreal Life. Mark it down.”—Vincent Thomas