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News » NBA Beat 2009-03-16


NBA Beat 2009-03-16


NBA Beat  2009-03-16
BASELINE CUT

Bulls' Rose heads talented rookie class

This year's rookie class has shaped up as one of the deeper classes in recent seasons.

When a first-rounder taken as late as Spurs guard George Hill becomes a crunch-time regular for one of the few legitimate title contenders, you know the draft was deep.

Chicago's Derrick Rose, the No. 1 overall selection, has done nothing to diminish his status as the likely Rookie of the Year. He won't be a unanimous choice, but the engravers should practice their D's and R's.

But which rookie will be second?

O.J. Mayo no longer seems like a certain runner-up. He's averaging 18.9 points and 4.0 rebounds, but may not even be the most valuable rookie on the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol, making 53.8 percent of his shots, averages 11.6 points and 7.6 rebounds.

Gasol, though, isn't the best big man among rooks. That would be Brook Lopez, who has started 58 games for a Nets team that is in the hunt for a playoff berth, something Mayo and Gasol can only dream about. Lopez also averages 1.9 blocks, which makes him the Defensive Rookie of the Year, if there were such an award.

Then there is Timberwolves big man Kevin Love. He spent most of the first half of the season deflecting criticism that he wasn't Mayo, who was actually drafted by Minnesota, but in a prearranged swap of picks with the Grizzlies.

With Al Jefferson sidelined by a knee injury, Love has blossomed. He is averaging 10.2 points and 8.8 rebounds and has 20 double-doubles. That makes him only the second Wolves rookie with at least 20 double-doubles. The first, of course, was ... Christian Laettner.

The Thunder had last season's ROY, Kevin Durant, and you could vote for another Thunder rookie for the award this season with moderate justification. Russell Westbrook averages 15.8 points, 5 assists and 4.8 rebounds.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 16, 2009

 

 
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