NBA / Jul 16, 2010 / 1:54 pm

10 Rookies (not named Wall or Turner) Who Will Make an Impact

Gordon Hayward at Butler

In the Dime office for the past couple weeks we have been watching NBA summer league basketball. I’ve gotten a chance to see most of the rookies play, and here are the 10 rookies — minus first and second overall picks John Wall and Evan Turner — I think will have the biggest impact next season after watching them go to work in the Orlando and Las Vegas leagues:

10. Derrick Caracter (Lakers) — The Lakers appear to have found a steal in Caracter, who fell into the second round of the draft. He has averaged just over 15 points and 8 rebounds in Vegas while shooting nearly 60 percent from the field. With Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga both free agents, expect Caracter to slide into the role of L.A.’s fourth big man in the rotation after Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. And given Bynum’s injury history, Caracter could find himself playing significant minutes while the Lakers go for a three-peat.

9. Luke Harangody (Celtics) — Harangody not only earned himself a spot on the roster during summer league, but also a spot in the rotation. He played at 110 percent whenever he was on the court, and has the cuts and bruises to prove just how hard he played. He will come off the bench and provide energy, tenacity, and rebounding for a Celtics frontcourt that is aging fast.

8. Jordan Crawford (Hawks) — Crawford is a flat-out scorer. When he is on the floor he knows how to create his own shot and get buckets (16 points per game in Vegas), even if he doesn’t take the smartest shots. The Hawks reportedly love him, and Jordan should team with Jamal Crawford (no relation) to provide instant offense for Atlanta off the bench.

7. Damion James (Nets) — James can put the ball in the hoop. He is a great scorer (18.8 points per game in Orlando), who can get to the rim and knock down the three. Expect James to provide a scoring punch off the bench in New Jersey in addition to excellent perimeter defense.

6. Gordon Hayward (Jazz) — Hayward only averaged a little over 10 points in Orlando, but that doesn’t tell the full story. He shot 61 percent from the field, and took incredibly smart shots. His basketball IQ is off the charts, and with Kyle Korver gone in free agency, Hayward will replace him as the backup three.

5. Larry Sanders (Bucks) — Milwaukee brought in Drew Gooden to be the starting power forward, but Sanders is clearly the future for the Bucks. He has shown great athleticism for a four and an ability to significantly alter shots even if he doesn’t block them. He will bring rebounding and defense as Gooden’s backup while also having the ability to run the floor with Brandon Jennings and Co. and finish strong.

4. Lance Stephenson (Pacers) — Indiana’s point guard problems are well-chronicled at this point. With no terribly enticing options for the starting position on the roster barring a T.J. Ford trade, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stephenson begin the season as the starter for coach Jim O’Brien. Stephenson played with the ball in his hands most of the time in Orlando, and had much better shot selection than he showed in college, which led to him shooting over 70 percent from the field.

3. Derrick Favors (Nets) — Favors showed what he is capable of doing in his last game in Orlando. That game, he put up 23 points and 11 rebounds. With the Nets currently having no starting power forward, Favors may be forced into that role earlier than envisioned. He can provide defense and rebounding immediately, but it will take awhile for his offense to catch up.

2. Paul George (Pacers) — Even though George plays the same position as the best player on the Pacers (Danny Granger), Jim O’Brien will find minutes for him. George has incredibly long arms, and proved to be a very good defender, registering seven steals in one game. George is a solid all-around player whose unique skill-set will ensure lots of playing time.

1. DeMarcus Cousins (Kings) — I have always been a huge fan of Cousins, and stated my desire for the Nets to take him over Derrick Favors. In Vegas, Cousins has dominated games with the diversity of his skill-set. He can overpower his opponents but also knock down jumpers from up to 18 feet on his way to averaging 18.3 points and 11.3 rebounds. He will be starting in no time for Sacramento and forming a scary tandem with Tyreke Evans.

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  • yoda

    i hate when people use 110% expression. its lame and its impossible to do 110 percent.

  • H-Man

    I have been watching alot of the summer league too (leading my spouse to ask, “What are you DOING?”) but it is interesting to get an early read on the rooks and wannabes. Agree 100% — no make that 110% — with Cousins. He will be unstoppable. Nets will have regrets by November, even if Favors plays well.

  • IGP

    @ Yoda

    I was thinking the exact same thing and was about to comment on that. 110% is impossible when talking about effort. It’s science.

  • K Dizzle

    Y’all need some oat brn in your diet. 110% is an expression just meanin to push yourself and play hard.
    Gettin tired of all the grammar police and whiners on dime, cryin about “‘you can’t say this or you spelt this wrong.”
    Too much time on your hands.
    Turn the computer off and go get yoself a life…

    Back to the article: I was givin love to that Paul George pick cuz he was the best player when Indy picked whether they had Granger or not.
    And I’m gonna go out on that limb and say the Sixers and Wolves gonna regret bypassin on Cousins cuz he gonna be a straight beast!

  • ShaqFu

    The heck with the Nets, what about the T-Wolves.
    They passed on Cousins, traded away Jefferson and now are left with Darko to start at center!

  • Daniel Marks

    110% is an expression used to mean plays hard as K Dizzle said.

    @K Dizzle

    Totally agree about Cousins, he is going to be top 3 center in NBA in 3 years, I have never seen anyone with the diversity of skills and size he has. Just an incredible talent. Not high on Lance being the starting PG in Indy but may need to be

  • Boom DIzzle

    I heard em’ say…JEREMY LIN! Boy doin’ work on John Wall

  • IP

    @shaqfu: That was Kahn’s master plan all along (Darko in a prominent role). Now let’s wait and see if it will backfire….

  • Stunnaboy09

    I love the list but the guy I really want to see succeed is Hayward. He has AMAZING basketball IQ, an above average shooter, ca handle it and is decent enough to take it to the hole. I hope by either the end of the year or start of next season Hayward is starting at the 3.

    D Marks, your Nets may have made the not so smart choice of drafting Favors ahead of Cousins. However they kind of redeemed it by taking D-James. Just hope James being good doesn’t mean that they trade T-Will.

    And also why do people say George and Granger can’t play together? If Stephenson is a 2 who can play point why cant George play the 2 with Granger at the 3? I’d already take George over Rush or Jones or whoever starts there.

    Cousins may actually turn out to be the best player out of this draft, all depends if Wall gets a consistent J.

  • SJ

    I agree with everything Stunnaboy says. A lot of people said this is a bust draft, but I see some all star talent already. Cousins will dominate and if he can keep his head on right and put in work in the gym, there won’t be anything to hold him back. Wall will get his jumper down and probably stick around 44% this year, but I look forward to the number of triple doubles he puts up. Dime, you should do a contest at the beginning of the year to guess how many triple doubles Pope posts next season.

  • UncheckedAggression

    As a Kings fan, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about Sac. After watching summer league ball, I swear I wouldn’t trade Cousins for Wall, Griffin, or even a young Dwight Howard. If he has the work ethic (he’s showing a lot of competitiveness) then he will be the best center in the league before long. He is just a very smart player with skills that almost no big has.

    Funny that the last two years I was furious when we got dicked out of our spot in the draft lottery. Last year we ended up with the ROY and this year we got somebody that can be flat out dominant in the league. He might not end up with ROY but it will likely be due to the fact that Wall runs his team and will get all the PT he wants. Griffin will be impressive but I’d still like to see how he plays on a team that has a decent amount of talent around him.

  • ReddiRed

    yep, i’m gonna give 110% in this assessment.

    Cousins has been out there killin’em!!
    Flat out!!
    My man has nice moves and some nice-nice no look passes. He WILL be a beast!!!

    I gotta give it to Paul George too. he is EVERYWHERE on the court and he has decent hops to go with that nice defense.

    Evan Turner – womp woomp. lol. I know, he will get better……right?

    DCaracter has been workin it out as well. he’s nice down low and has has that 16-17 footer. He is a high energy guy to. Only downside is his height, but then again, at his level of play that may not be a really big factor.

    I like that kid Luke Harangody to. He has a funny lookin shot, but it goes in!!

    Now, for my team….the pistons….
    Terrico White is looking like he will be a steal. He does not panic and he’s lookin like he can run an offense.
    As he’s shown, he has soome range and some pretty good handles.
    Greg Monroe, well, what can I say about him that hasn’t been said about bread…….he’s kinda soft.
    I like the kid, but I don’t see alot of heart there.
    He has decent passing ability and a good basketball sense, I just don’t see that “gimme this ball mutha fuka” type atitude. Plus his conditioning is very suspect.
    His first two games, he looked like he blew a pack of newports before the game! lol.
    I think he will turn out to be decent…..mos def no Cousins, not even a DFavors.

    thats all yall !!


  • Daniel Marks

    @reddi red

    Agree about Terrico White. Very controlled player, who plays smart. Sometimes a little too passive though, especially if he plays off the ball. Very athletic and good range though

  • Chaos

    The lakers mght hav a better team than they did last year to tell the truth…or at least athletic…..if gerald green makes the team their bench lineup wiill be
    blake/fisher (depends on who starts
    brown (if he resigns)
    derrick caracter
    luke walton
    devin Ebanks

  • Big Island

    Hayward and Cousins. I love the guys who make shit look so easy. I don’t think there is a better fit for a team than Hayward in Utah. He’s like a mega Hornacek!

  • boto

    “Too much time on your hands. Turn the computer off and go get yoself a life…”

    …….says one of the guys who posts the most comments on this site.

  • ReddiRed

    LOL @ Chaos!!!!

    Though I really, really thought GGreen was that deal, he is now pretty much garbage.
    Yeah, he can jump out of a gym, but he will not pass, he takes broke ass shots, he’s uncoachable, just a real waste of talent.

    I commented on him in the:
    “I got a kid who’s 15, he’s gonna be the next Jordan.”
    By Austin Burton

    posted today…..

  • s.bucketz

    Landry Fields is gunna turn some heads in NY

  • DVS

    Monroe 27 and 14 in the last game of SL. And he put up 20 the game before. Not saying SL matters much, but he just needs to be given time and he’ll be a Star.

  • Ben1en

    Hey Dime, did you see this? Jeremy Lin was balling out against JWall!

  • lifep

    Both teams played hard.

  • K Dizzle

    @ boto

    It’ll be ok…
    When you actually have something basketball related to discuss, you can post as many times as you like too…

    it’s free…..”boto”

  • MoTown

    I’m giving this a good 100% with the assessment, but I’m going an extra 10% with saying you left off Greg Monroe (Pistons), he also has a high IQ and will be forced in a role where he will see made minutes.

  • Tim

    @ ReddiRed

    Wait till Ben Wallace shows Monroe what it means to work out…I think Monroe will be a solid contributor…and from what I’ve seen or read during summer league, he’s improved every game out. 27pts and 14 rebounds in the finale against the Knicks.

  • http://none tom

    Greg Monroe got better from game to game during the Summer League. He shows signs of improvement already! He did finsih strong with 20 pts 8 rebs, and 27 pts 14 rebs in his last 2 games….

    Once he meets ben wallace… watch out NBA, Greg Monroe could be the 1st or 2nd best big man in this draft.

    I think its Cousins, Monroe, Favors, Sanders, and Character… The rest might be busts…

  • Alan

    Agree with your assessment of Cousins. That team is gonna be fun to watch. I understand why the Nets took Favors; they were pairing him with B.Lopez. I don’t understand the T’Wolves opting for Darko.

  • Kevin

    What about my boy landry fields from the new York knicks!!!!!

  • http://www.ballineurope.com Os Davis, BallinEurope

    I presume you’re not including Tiago Splitter because he’s been playing professional ball on The Continent, but he is the first-year NBA player who will make *the* biggest difference immediately among the 2010-11 newbies…

  • Dean Chaban

    Caracter will make the team and so will Ebanks, whom you left out. Ebanks is another Ariza and Caracter will be a better Odom in 2-3 years if PJ will give them time to play during the season when it doesn’t matter.