2008-’09 Rookies Most Likely To…

by October 29, 2008

You should have seen the issue by now. You should have checked Lang’s Preview by now. What’s left? The SLAM staff’s annual rookie predictions. Here’s what we have to say…

This is why we get the big bucks. Or not. For real, who else knew that Kevin Durant would be the leading rookie scorer, Al Horford the leading rookie rebounder and Mike Conley the top first-year assist man? P.S. Yes, we rounded off.

Voters: Jake Appleman, Senior Writer; Michael Bradley, Senior Writer; Matt Caputo, Assistant Editor; Adam Fleischer, Editorial Intern; Ryan Jones, Contributing Editor; Ryne Nelson, Online Editor; Ben Osborne, Editor-in-Chief; Dennis Page, Publisher; Susan Price, Managing Editor; Khalid Salaam, Senior Editor; Aggrey Sam, Senior Writer; Bonsu Thompson, Senior Writer; DeMarco Williams, Senior Writer; Ronnie Zeidel, Associate Publisher

Average 20 points:

Michael Beasley, OJ Mayo (43% each), Eric Gordon (14%)

“Mayo and Beasley carried the scoring weight in college. Moving to the NBA, their teams need them to contribute right away. Mayo’s deadly shooting range and finishing skills around the basket should give him the scoring advantage over his Draftmates.”—Matt Caputo

Average 10 rebounds:

Kevin Love (43%), Michael Beasley (36%), Greg Oden (21%)

“I could list his 23 double-doubles last season at UCLA (oops—looks like I just did), but I don’t need digits to justify this pick. Just know that few players understand how to rebound as well as Love does. Watch. You’ll see.”—Ryan Jones

Average 10 assists:

Derrick Rose (57%), Russell Westbrook, DJ Augustin (14% each), Jerryd Bayless, Kevin Love (7% each)

“Starting a true floor leader could uproot fear from the Chicago Bulls’ front office and replant it abroad the East. Derrick Rose is the only handler on their roster with that kind of green thumb. Plus Memphis is currently weeding out the PGs from the OJs.”—Bonsu Thompson

Unfairly get bench splinters:

Jerryd Bayless (29%), Joe Alexander (14%), Ryan Anderson, JR Giddens, Eric Gordon, George Hill, DJ Augustin, Bill Walker, Anthony Randolph, Kosta Koufos (7% each)

“The Trailblazers are stacked front to back like Kim Kardashian. This is a good thing and a bad thing for Jerryd Bayless, who will win more but play less than his counterparts on lesser teams.”—Jake Appleman

Lead the League in Turnovers:

Derrick Rose (36%), OJ Mayo, Russell Westbrook (14% each), Eric Gordon, DJ Augustin, Jerryd Bayless, Brook Lopez, Mario Chalmers (7% each)

“Even if D’Antoni really rubbed off on Del Negro, put on your John Hollinger glasses and try to imagine how Pooh can’t win this category after a year leading the 100-mph Memphis track meet, then going pro.”—Aggrey Sam

Lead the League in Blocks:

Greg Oden (36%), Jason Thompson, JaVale McGee, Roy Hibbert, Kevin Love (14% each), Anthony Randolph (7%)

“While at Ohio State, Oden was a game-changing shot blocker. Now, as Portland’s starting center, his size and patience will allow him to dominate the middle in the NBA as well. What’s more, the ’08 Draft Class severely lacks a solid defensive big man.”—Ryne Nelson

Be Rookie of the Year:

Michael Beasley (43%), OJ Mayo (29%), Derrick Rose (14%), Danilo Gallinari, Greg Oden (7% each)

“A member of the best high school class in years, Beasley consistently stood out whenever he played amongst them, and I don’t see that changing in the NBA. If anything, motivated by future All-Star appearances, long-term contracts and endorsement deals, Be Easy may show the gap between him and his classmates to be even bigger.”—Ben Osborne

Hurt Himself Running Laps:

Roy Hibbert (36%) Alexis Ajinca, Danilo Gallinari (14% each) Robin Lopez, Donte Green, Joe Crawford, Derrick Rose, DJ White (7% each)

“Roy Hibbert seems like a good enough kid, but he just has this certain air of fragility about him. Until I see some more fire in his eyes, I’m afraid he’s going to come off as delicate in mine…”—DeMarco Williams

Fade into Obscurity:

Anthony Randolph, Jason Thompson (14% each), Joey Dorsey, Danilo Gallinari, Roy Hibbert, Serge Ibaka, Robin Lopez, JaVale McGee, Brandon Rush, Sean Singletary, Bill Walker, DJ White (7% each)

“Sh*t, Jason Thompson is forgotten already. Can you name what school he attended? Do you know what position he plays? Do you have any idea about how he even looks? Exactly. And he’s playing in Sacramento? LOL.”—Khalid Salaam