Thorpe: Rookie Watch
Old 11-08-2012, 09:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors Thorpe: Rookie Watch

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1. Damian Lillard
There are many things Lillard is doing that are impressive, which we will be discussing at length all season. But what jumps out at me as I watch film on him is his patience and his willingness to think about the 5-on-5 game rather than the 1-on-1 game that so many point guards end up focusing on.

Lillard can score in big numbers, and it would be wrong for him to just ignore that. As a scoring threat that the defense is focused on, he opens up passing angles for his teammates. He understands that and is doing a great job of remaining a threat while looking for the best overall play.

Against a Dallas team that worked to frustrate and attack him the other night, Lillard made a play that greatly exemplifies this part of his game. With a minute to play in the third quarter and Portland trying to hang on in a road game, Lillard came off a side ball screen with Nicolas Batum, causing a defensive switch that put Vince Carter on Lillard and Darren Collison on Batum.

As Lillard squared up at the top of the key against Carter, who was playing high school basketball when Lillard was still in diapers, it looked like Lillard was going to try to take the slower Carter to the rim. But instead Lillard recognized that the Batum-Collison matchup might be the better option. So he patiently allowed Batum to body up Collison. Then in an instant, Batum faked moving up the floor and went backdoor, where Lillard easily hit him in stride. The play resulted in a nice dunk by Batum. Great players make great plays seem routine, and that is what Lillard is doing in this league already.
2. Dion Waiters
3. Anthony Davis
4.Jae Crowder
5.Tyler Zeller

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6. Jonas Valanciunas
You can see that Valanciunas has been well-schooled as a big man. He runs to the rim in transition. He rolls to the rim after ball screens. And when he gets the ball high in the air on a catch down low, he leaves it there when he's trying to score. All of that is "Big Man 101" stuff.

The next step for him is to avoid the baseline, even when it looks kind of open, and to not drop toward the baseline when a double-team comes. He has decent touch and a nose for the ball, which is a good start.
7.Alexey Shved
8.Kyle Singler
9.Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
10.Harrison Barnes

NBA Rookie Watch - Head of the class - ESPN
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I watched Lillard....I'm glad I spoke so highly of him before the draft, he makes us look smart
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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7.Alexey Shved
said it before and will say it again this guy is a steal
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Damn I wish we got Crowder.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Even that Bernard James guy looked good.... even though he's older for a rookie, his physical maturity is evident

Instead we grab a Joey Dorsey clone with less size and more beard.... why can't we find a second round gem?
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by carp View Post
Even that Bernard James guy looked good.... even though he's older for a rookie, his physical maturity is evident

Instead we grab a Joey Dorsey clone with less size and more beard.... why can't we find a second round gem?
If it helps you or anyone else feel better, I've heard Acy is an athletic freak and was considered one of the most athletic in the draft. Don't think Joey was anything close to that, just a baby Dwight..


Any better?
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Damn I wish we got Crowder.
I was pining for Crowder around draft time and thought he would have been the perfect fit on this team and was choked when he went a few spots ahead of us. Ironically, he could've maybe been starting for us at the 3 spot, and his energy in the starting lineup would have been a perfect complement to some of our other starters.
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