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NBA / Mar 30, 2011 / 1:00 pm

Forget Rookie Of The Year, Here Are The Real Freshman Awards

Evan Turner

Evan Turner (photo. Li-Ning)

The ability to progress forward or move backward; the chess rook and the NBA rook both follow a similar path. With the regular season nearing its end, teams are either gearing up for the playoffs, fighting to get in or prepping for the NBA Draft. With that said, now may be as good a time as ever for teams to take stock on their first-year experiments and weigh-in on their overall impact. Although the Rookie of the Year is all but wrapped up for Blake Griffin, I decided to bestow some unconventional awards on rookies who – like the aforementioned chess piece – either made strides forward or submitted to retreat this season.

Not Fitting-In Award
As the No. 2 overall pick, Evan Turner is not exactly living up to expectations. Though the Sixers are surprising everybody with their stellar play of late – especially with that big win over Chicago a couple nights ago – Turner is struggling to get minutes and is seemingly lost in translation. Philly is loaded with solid perimeter/wing players, but need a guy who can spread the floor and shoot a decent percentage from three; Evan Turner is not that guy. But I do think it’s definitely too early to designate him a bust. He has the ability to create for himself off the dribble, plays good D and can rebound well for his position. Maybe a new environment can bring out the best in him…

Most Valuable For A Playoff Push Award
With the Rockets two games behind Memphis for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff race, Patrick Patterson will be crucial for them in their final eight games. In his last six contests with the Rockets, Patterson has put up averages of 11.2 points 9.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks, helping catapult his team to a 5-1 record over that stretch. He exhibits a great inside game, brings plenty of energy and is an overall athletic marvel that has shown he can be relied on to step his game up – especially when Luis Scola was missing time with a knee injury. His Wildcats’ success must be rubbing off on him.

Post-Trade Emergence Award
Jordan Crawford‘s move to Washington may have been the best thing to happen to him in his brief NBA career. Drafted 27th overall by the Hawks (via a draft day trade with the Nets) onto a team that is deep at his position, Crawford was sent in a package with Mike Bibby to Washington in a trade deadline deal. He has clearly made the most of his time there, putting up a healthy 14.6 points, 3.2 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals since the trade, with a threefold increase in minutes from his time in Atlanta. More recently, Crawford was integral in getting the Wiz their second road win of the season, as he finished with 25 points and the game-tying shot with 4.4 seconds left in regulation against the Jazz. And who said he would only be remembered for dunking on ‘Bron in college?

Post-Trade Submergence Award
I guess it was only a matter of time before Landry Fields hit that rookie wall. It seems as though Landry is struggling to find his role on offense, and perhaps the ‘Melo trade triggered that. Whether it’s due to fatigue, playing in a new dynamic or just being caught up in his own stardom (Modell’s ad, Andy & Landry show, etc.), this is a different Landry than Knicks fans were used to seeing a little over a month ago. Playing reduced minutes – coming off the bench periodically – he seems a bit lost on offense and more hesitant to shoot when open. Frankly though, he’s a second-round pick and has far and away exceeded what anyone expected of him this season.

Still Growing Up Award
DeMarcus Cousins is the poster boy for rookie immaturity. There was that one incident against the Warriors where he made that choking gesture after Reggie Williams missed a FT with 19 seconds left on the clock; the Warriors ended up winning that game in OT and Cousins was subsequently benched and fined by the team. (Karma’s a bitch I guess.) And how could we forget the skirmish between DeMarcus and Donte Greene in the Kings locker room after a close loss to the Thunder back in February. Apparently Boogie was livid over that fact that Donte didn’t feed him the ball during the last play of the game when the Kings were down two. What happened to abiding by the mantra, win as a team, lose as a team? Coming off his most recent ejection against the Wolves, Cousins failed once again to take the higher road when he was provoked by Luke Ridnour and opted to get in the face of a guard half his size. Dude needs to work on taking smart shots, being a more efficient all-round player and maybe a little Tae Bo for that aggression.

What rookies have caught your eye this season?

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  • rban

    This site needs to start giving more love to Greg Monroe. The guy shuts his mouth does what the coach says and produces while being over looked by disgruntled vets!

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    @1, Agreed. Monroe deserves some props for what he’s doing.

    On the other hand, the amount of love giving to DMC on this site and throughout the media is beyond weird to me. I just don’t get it. the guy is avg 14ppg 8reb 2ast. Ok so on the surface that looks pretty good for a rookie.

    then you take a look into the real numbers and see that he is shooting 43% from the field as a 6’11 270lb center! That’s unforgivable. Maybe he’ll improve it with better shot selection and IQ but it’s not looking good, because he is so stupid.

    He also avg 4 fouls per game in 28 min per. That is just crazy. Again the IQ and perhaps studying the game would help that.

    He also is getting 3.3 TO’s per game. Clearly this IQ thing is his main factor, but more importantly, why does he have the ball that much to get 3.3 TO’s per? You have Tyreke Evans who is a beast, give him the damn ball and let him create. Stop trying to run that high low/princeton style off with a retard like DMC.

    and lastly, if you watch the games you’ll see something worse than his stats. You’ll see him bulling his way through the lane only to trip over himself and cry for a foul. He pouts if he doesn’t get the ball. His form on his jumper is the most lazy jumper i’ve seen since Dennis Rodmans FT routine. You’ll see him handling the ball away from the basket as if he is Derrick coleman when in reality he is much closer to Roy Tarpley. you’ll also notice that his 4 fouls per game come because he has terrible foot movement on defense (as well as offense) and cant guard anyone to save his life let alone play help side defense.

    This guy is an embarassment to basketball players like Carl Landry, Taj Gibson, Landry Fields, Gerald Wallace, Joakim Noah, and Rip Hamilton. Guys who put in hours of work in practice to get better. Guys who are hustle guys on the court and make the most of their talents and then some. Guys like Rip who works tirelessly to run through screens and make the correct play once he catches the ball. Guys like Kevin Love who took his rookie year 3pt % of 10% and increased it 4X up to 42% through HARD WORK and DEDICATION to his craft.

    In essence FLUCK Demarcus Cousins and all that he stands for! I hope the kid gets it together, but i’ve seen this story played out one too many times in the past.

  • kdog78

    @ rban

    I agree. I was just about to say something about Monroe but you said it for me. He has played his way into a starting spot and significant minutes by improving himself and just playing basketball. Let’s give him the “Real Basketball Player” award!

  • First & Foremost

    Monroe will be a great fantasy pick up in the 7th round next year. Dude is very professional. Great decision by him to stay in school that extra year. Once the Pistons revamp their roster the team is his.

  • Scott

    One guy who’s started to show up with more minutes, albeit in only the last 2 games is Ed Davis for the Raps putting up 18 and 11, then 21 and 11, 7.1pts and 6.9 boards a game per season while shooting 58% from the field is pretty solid especially when he could be putting up every shot he wanted on a team like the Raps and no one would really care…

  • matt

    I’m a raps fan and ED Davis is far and away our best player. Very sound defensively and can rebound quite well. He is the steal of the ’10 draft. Most ppl said he could be a top 5 pick, top 10 for sure. His injury scared off many teams and my Raps got a huge steal in getting this former tar heel at 13th.

  • Ekstor

    Marcus Thornton has been a bigger surprise to me than Jordan Crawford post-trade. His numbers since going to Sac-town have been outrageous.

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    @Ekstor

    Thorton is a 2nd year pro. this is about rookies…

  • Ekstor

    @ Chicagorilla

    My bad…

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    @Ekstor

    Thornton is not a rookie.

    @Dime

    Crawford’s numbers are the product of a jacker on a terrible team.

  • Detroit Dave

    DMC has so much talent. How did the Kings manage to draft him without signing a well respected veteran big man to be in his corner. They could really use a C-Webb type of guy to help him out. This man has 20 and 10 talent and is actually a pretty good talent. We will see how he pans out, especially with the lock out coming. Remember guys like Vin Baker and Shawn Kemp coming back 20 lbs overweight.

  • http://dimemag.com Arie Stark

    Monroe and Davis will be part of my Part 2 awards’ list

  • yentron

    john wall doesn’t get enough love. he’s puttin up better numbers than cp3 did in his rookie year.

  • Mtx

    @Chicagorilla

    Agreed w/ every single statement made about DMC.
    What pisses me the most is when he thinks he is a guard skills. He tries crossovers, 30 feet bounce passes on the break, perimeter shots when he should be banging down low.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ Chicagorilla – AMEN

  • Hot Fiyah

    @ yentron

    Did you not read the article on Dime earlier today?!

  • JAY

    @Arie
    Perhaps you should put “Part 1″ in the title then.