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09-10 All Rookie Team with Derozan?
Moreau: 2009-10 All-Rookie Team
By: Mike Moreau Last Updated: 7/31/09 2:46 PM ET | 10977 times read
I've got another one of those impossible "see into the future" kinds of assignments: Picking who will be the five members of the All-Rookie Team in 2009-10. While choosing now is destined to be a miserable failure, as there are far too many variables involved, I did my best. This isn't an attempt to pick the five best players I saw this summer. I'm making my pick while trying to factor in all of the variables which will allow these players to flourish during their rookie seasons – everything from minutes, to style of play, to who their teammates may or may not be. So, I gave myself a little wiggle room by selecting eight players. Here we go, in no particular order:
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
This one was easy, and I don't think the Clippers or anyone else can find a way to keep Griffin from being not only on the All-Rookie Team, but the hands down favorite for pre-season Rookie of the Year. He is far and away the biggest talent in this crop of rookies, and it was clear in his summer league performance that he is a potential franchise player of the future. With Zach Randolph gone to Memphis, Griffin is in position to flourish with veterans at the point and at center. Without the pressure of having to carry his team, Griffin can grow and develop as he starts all 82 games. He'll play whatever role the Clippers need for them to challenge for the playoffs, and expect that role to increase as the season unfolds.
Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings
Evans will undoubtedly get big minutes and lots of shots for the lowly Kings, much in the way O.J. Mayo did this past season with the Grizzlies. Evans could very well lead all rookies in scoring, and with Sacramento headed for the lottery again, the Kings may just be content with allowing him to play through mistakes and pile up the points. Although a passing point guard is really what Sacramento needed in this draft, Evans mentality and skill set are those of a scorer –either from the point or the wing. And with his size, it's clear that he can take advantage of smaller guards and get to the line, so we could see a lot of Evans posting as a point or attacking off the dribble as a wing. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, it's safe to assume Evans will get his share of scoring chances.
James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder
Harden is the perfect complementary scorer for the up-and-coming Thunder. The two-guard spot is his and he can use his underrated passing ability to set up their big guns, while provided as much perimeter shooting as is needed from night to night. He might be an eight-point, eight-assist guy one game, and come right back with 28 points with six three-pointers the next night as defenses scheme for Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook. Harden should see significant minutes as a starter, and will become more assertive offensively as the season goes on. Look for his scoring and shooting percentage to steadily improve from month to month.
Marcus Thornton, New Orleans Hornets
Thornton may end of up being the biggest surprise of the rookie class, but not just because he slipped to the second round. He landed on a team in New Orleans that is desperate for scoring, and desperate for those points at Thornton's position. He showed in summer league not only a scorer's mentality and confidence, but an already polished game of catch-and-shoot jumpers and one- and two-dribble pull ups that translate perfectly into what the Hornets need. If he isn't starting on opening night, it may only be a matter of time. Whether he is paired with Chris Paul in the starting line-up or with Darren Collison in a now dynamic second unit, you can expect big explosions of points from Thornton in either role.
Tyler Hansbrough, Indiana Pacers
With Indiana knocking on the door of the playoffs, Hansbrough is the perfect guy to come in and do the dirty work. His physical and energetic play should be infectious on a team that needs a tougher and more competitive mentality. Although he may not get the volume of minutes of some of the other rookies, his impact on defense and the effort plays he creates should get him more run as the playoff race gets tighter down the stretch. Look for him to get his minutes rotating with Danny Granger and Troy Murphy, which means he should see consistent playing time right away. If Indiana can stay healthy, Hansbrough could play a most significant role in the Pacers drive to the playoffs.
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
His appearance on the team will be determined by what the Bucks do with Ramon Sessions. If Sessions is gone, then Jennings will run the show and play the majority of the minutes at the point. He showed in Vegas that he has infectious enthusiasm and a pass-first mentality, which made him a very efficient facilitator of the offense and a joy to play with. His teammates will run, cut and post for him, knowing he will get them the ball. Should he get the major minutes, he should easily lead the rookies in assists. Defensively, he attacks and challenges, and his quick hands and anticipation should put him near the top of the rookie steals list as well.
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
DeRozan, like Harden, is on the perfect team to be a complementary scorer and start right away. He should be the Raptors "pin down" guy, coming off screens and using his size and versatility for jumpers and short drives, which he showed an ability to do in Vegas. His efficiency, shot selection and shooting percentages all improved as the week went on. With the creating of Jose Calderon and Hedo Turkoglu, as well as the attention that Chris Bosh and an improving Andrea Bargnani get, DeRozan couldn't have hand picked a better situation in which to spend his rookie season. He doesn't have to provide heroics. He can just fit in and contribute with what he already does. DeRozan may have the best chance to play the largest role of any rookie on a playoff team this year.
Derrick Brown, Charlotte Bobcats
In another one of those bizarre twists of summer, Brown, who was drafted 40th by the Bobcats, played for the Utah Jazz in the Orlando summer league. He was the leading scorer for the team he won't be playing for, as well as proving he has the toughness to play for Larry Brown and the grittiness to be that rugged defender at the power forward the Bobcats are lacking. Against the Boshes and Garnetts of the Eastern Conference, Boris Diaw's presence may not be enough, so look for Brown to play a prominent role on a tougher, more defensive minded front line for Charlotte, and possibly be a starter if the Bobcats make a playoff run.
One of the smartest articles I have ever read. Hansborough is the most NBA ready rookie.