Monday , Mar , 16 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Backseat Rookies

Backseat RookiesIn this time of year it’s natural, and I’m not going to knock it. Everybody is discussing who the NBA’s MVP is, or it’s a debate centered around one of the league’s lighter individual awards. Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, I think you get the point.

On this beautiful Sunday morning, I’m going to look at some rookies. But I can guarantee you I’m not speaking of the high profile "ROTY" candidates. I’m talking about some young players who have the makings of championship rotation players, and a couple players with star potential, that we need to stop overlooking.

Courtney Lee

Let me tell you what’s most impressive about Courtney Lee. Often, you think of him as a seasoned vet. The 6’5 SG from Western Kentucky has done more than contribute for the Orlando Magic, he’s served in some high profile roles. Specifically, drawing the tough defensive assignments. I’ve watched Lee do a solid job on guys like Vince Carter, Caron Butler, etc. Lately, Lee has finally struggled a bit offensively. And if he wasn’t such a good perimeter defender, he probably would have lost his starting job.

Nicholas Batum

Granted, Batum hasn’t had the playing time compared to a guy like Courtney Lee. But I’ve still been lucky enough to get multiple looks, and I must say, I like what I see. I’ll start with Batum’s freakishly long arms. His lateral footwork has a little bit of work to do, but even with  getting beat off the dribble, he can recover by following the ball and blocking the shot. That’s how long he is. Batum can benefit from packing on the pasta as he is a skinny kid. Offensively, he’s a bit rough, but in the next couple years he’ll exclusively be needed to defend and hit jump shots off of Brandon Roy’s penetration.

Luc Mbah a Moute

I feel bad for Luc, he’s proven to be a solid player in his rookie campaign, but being in Milwaukee is like being in witness protection. Luc is a versatile ball player, 6’8, and has shown the promise of guarding multiple positions. Mbah a Moute was figured to be a SF or 4, but is now starting as the Bucks shooting guard after the Michael Redd season ending injury. It speaks to his value, because as a SG logging an average of 26 minutes, he still grabs 6 boards a game, and logs 1 steal. That’s impressive. His mid range game has been decent also, showing more comfort facing the basket and hitting the 18 footer. 

Eric Gordon

Gordon has the makings of a star scorer, averaging 15.5 ppg in his rookie season.  Unfortunately, the Clippers organization doesn’t have a clue as to how to run a franchise. Specifically, pure basketball decisions. Question number one: Why would you trade for Zach Randolph? Question number two: Why are you so content on trading away Chris Kaman? If Randolph were never to be acquired, and coach Dunleavy would go to a up tempo system, Eric Gordon could touch the ball even more. Gordon has been gotten his touches, but bringing in a ball stopper like Randolph isn’t the best idea when you have young players to develop. I’m sorry to insult Zach, who’s going through a tough time after the death of his father, but in terms of basketball moves, I just don’t get it. All of this has to do with Gordon, because I’d like to see Davis leading a fast break approach, with Gordon being a big contributor. Regardless of my hate rant, I’d keep an eye on Gordon even tough it’s tough to watch a team like the Clippers.

Is there any rookie who has caught your eye? If so, lets hear it. Drop us your opinions below for some good rookie debate.