In his latest weekly Rookie Report, NBA.com’s Drew Packham ranks the top 10 NBA rookies for the week of March 17 – 24 as follows: Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Marcus Thornton, Brandon Jennings, Darren Collison, Taj Gibson, Toney Douglas, Jonny Flynn, Wesley Matthews, and Reggie Williams.
Despite the adament protests of Bucks fans, you can’t really argue much with Tyreke being #1. ‘Reke has taken the NBA by storm this season, helping the Kings eclipse their 08-09 win total by 7 games with 11 remaining. No other rookie in this class could have lead to that type of turnaround. Beyond carrying the young Sacramento club, he is on the verge of becoming only the 4th rookie in NBA history to average 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, joining elitest company: Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. Those numbers make Evans the far and away favorite to win ROY, even with his latest injury currently keeping him out of play.
Steph Curry is deserving of his #2 ranking. With all the talk of Jennings vs. Evans, Curry doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done this season. Despite playing for a horrible Warriors team, you can’t argue that he is far more impressive than most believed he would be this season. Although he struggled this week, he didn’t do much to hurt his stock.
Our only real gripe with the ranking is the spots that Packham has Taj Gibson and Toney Douglas. Taj Gibson has been one of the few bright spots of the Bulls season, coming on strong in the home stretch of the season. The Bulls have an outside chance at becoming the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and Taj will certainly play a role in achieving that. He’s getting minutes over the higher drafted James Johnson, and contributing night after night for a team with an already deep front court.
Toney Douglas on the other hand has been an absolute stud since Nate Robinson’s departure via trade to the Celtics. The former Florida State Seminole is finally getting a chance to run the point and do what he did best in college, score the basketball. Toney dropped four 20+ point games in the last week, and has been a ray of hope for depressed Knick fans who have written this season off completely. Last night he took clutch shots for the Knicks as they rallied to beat the Denver Nuggets. We believe Douglas should be ranked #3 behind only Evans and Curry.
The last handful of NBA games may not be great to watch as playoff-bound teams rest their starters, and teams on the outside looking in continue to go deep into their benches. But, it will be nice to see some rookies get substantial playing time. It will give all of us a chance to see what they can do. Look out for Evans, Jennings, and Curry as they make one last push at the Rookie of the Year award. And be thankful that arguably the most exciting rookie this year, the left handed, Gumby hair wearing Brandon Jennings, will be playing for a few more weeks in the Playoffs.
For more on Drew Packham’s weekly NBA Rookie Report check out the full article.