NBA / Oct 30, 2009 / 10:45 am

5 Sophomores You Need To Watch

Ryan Anderson

They fetched donuts, they rode the pine at times and they got their feet wet. Now members of last year’s rookie class are ready to contribute. Of course we know that this year, Derrick Rose will continue his rise to that Deron Williams/Chris Paul point guard status and O.J. Mayo will build on his sensational rookie campaign. But there are several sophomores who have flown under the radar that you might need to start keeping tabs on. Here’s my five.

1. Ryan Anderson (Magic): This name is starting to ring bells for anybody who has read a basketball blog or checked an NBA box score in the past month. Initially thought of as a “throw in” in the Vince Carter trade, this second-year, Keith Van Horn clone is trying to build on his quiet but solid rookie year where he averaged 7.4 ppg and 4.7 rpg with the Nets. He had an impressive preseason, averaging 14 ppg. I expect him to be the x-factor to the Magic’s success in the season and more importantly, the playoffs.

2. Danilo Gallinari (Knicks): Talking to a lot of New Yorkers, a lot of people were baffled when Donnie Walsh used the sixth pick of the 2008 NBA Draft on this unknown international product. It certainly didn’t help when he was forced shut it down for most of last year due to a back injury. At the end of last season and during the preseason, The Rooster has shown flashes of game. Gallinari can really stroke the three and has underrated ball handling and passing skills.

3. DeAndre Jordan (Clippers): If this athletic big man continues to develop and reaches his potential, he could be one of the better centers in the league in a few years. DeAndre showed last year, that he can put up big numbers in limited minutes. In the preseason, he had a 22 and 10 outing against the Warriors in just 25 minutes and a 16 and 9 performance against the Hornets. Minutes will be hard to come by if all of L.A.’s big men are healthy. But given their history (Kaman and Camby), Jordan might get some quality burn, and if he does watch out.

4. Jason Thompson (Kings): Because he played at a small school and is now buried in the league’s least marketable city, very few people are aware Jason Thompson exists. But this skilled big, has some game. He put up 11 points and 7.4 boards per contest in his rookie season. With Sacramento’s talented young core, he will be better this season and will definitely be talked about force in this league in a few years.

5. Brook Lopez (Nets): I’m not going to lie, when I used to see Brook and Robin Lopez, all I could think of were the Collins twins. Because they were twins and went to Stanford, I just saw them as the second coming of Jarron and Jason (no disrespect). I couldn’t have been any more wrong. Brook is a potential all-star someday and he proved on opening night why: 27 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks against the Timberwolves. If he keeps this up, we might see him in an all-star game a lot sooner than later.

What other sophomore will have a big ’09-10 season?

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  • http://twitter.com/anthonyeladjo abpin

    Brook Lopez shouldn’t be on this list. He’s did a pretty good job last year on the Nets already. Who else would be the fifth?

  • Lionheart

    micheal beasley???

  • cveezSF

    Just to name two…

    Anthony Randolph
    Anthony Morrow

    When Jack gets traded (hopefully sooner than later), Morrow will get more minutes and shots…

  • nasirnasqb

    eric gordon will reach semi stardom

  • control

    Is it just me or does Danilo Gallinari have the worse nickname in the league? “The Rooster”? You might as well call him “cock”, “penis” or any one of the 100s of slang names for male genitalia.

    Dunno if Brook is ‘under the radar’…guy was being drafted in 2-3rd rounds of fantasy drafts.

  • G

    Seriously. You can’t make this list without Anthony Randolph. You just can’t.

  • MB

    Lopez “under the radar”? Since when? Guy finished like 3rd in ROY last year, had the highest PER among all Rooks and was drafted way high in fantasy leagues. I mean, how is he on this list?

  • nowwhatyo

    russell westbrook?

  • deeds

    ya, obviously everyone already knows about Lopez. He isn’t sneaking up on anyone this year. But he is a stud

    I might swap him for Beasley since noone is really sure what you are going to get out of him. I know he is a high profile sophmore as well, but he just has so many question marks. Whereas Lopez is almost a sure thing at this point

  • sh!tfaced

    Danilo Gallinari’s nickname, Gallo, is Italian/Spanish for rooster.

    The “Big Cock” is one nickname that sticks out, reminds me of that douche character Jacques “Le Coq” Grandé from the movie The Love Guru. LOL.

    Bill Walker is one soph who would have been fun to watch, too bad he’s still out with a knee injury.

  • Kovalsky

    Pretty messed up list. If it’s like “keep an eye – under the radar” type of list, than what the heck B.Lopez doing here? And if you mention Jennifer’s brother why not Beasley, Westbrook or Randolph then? Pick a concept first, Gerald. That could be a nice innovation for the future lists

  • Billy Sunday

    Marreese Speights

  • http://shootingbasketballtips.blogspot.com/ Dodge Taylor

    @sh!tfaced, so you were the ONE that watched The Love Guru! Other than Jessica Alba … what were you thinking??