Rookie Rankings Mailbox - February 2, 2006
By John Schuhmann

The rosters are set. On Wednesday, we announced the players who will be participating in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge in Houston on Friday, Feb. 17. Now, if you look at our rankings, you'll see that we don't exactly agree 100 percent with the assistant coaches, but we really can't argue against any of the nine guys that are going. Robinson has been in our Top 10 as recently as last week and Granger is probably at 10.5 for us right now, while playing better than a few guys on our list over the last month or so.

Also, in cased you missed it, Rookies of the Month were also announced on Wednesday. Paul wins the West again and Bogut makes it three different ROM winners in the East so far. Who's next?

Do you feel your guy should be going to Houston? E-mail us!

Let's get to the mail...

Granger gets the nod over Graham.
Jamie Squire/NBAE/Getty Images
How did Danny Granger make the rookie team and not Joey Graham?
Vivek - Toronto, Ont.

Rookie Report: You would have to ask the assistant coaches that voted, but first, I would take a look at their numbers for January...

Danny Granger: 26.6 MPG, 9.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.81 BPG, .476 FG%, 12 starts
Joey Graham: 18.6 MPG, 6.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.3 SPG, .00 BPG, .492 FG%, 9 starts

Now, we realize that the season is three months old, not one, but Granger has really come on of late, while Graham hasn't been as productive as he was earlier in the season. does a great job of analyzing the rookies and keeping up with their weekly play. Don't you guys think it is crazy that only one Raptors rookie is going to be in the Rookie Challenge? Jose Calderon has been top 10 all along and Joey Graham has even been playing better than guys like Danny Granger.
Cam - Winnipeg, Manit.

RR: See above for the Graham vs. Granger comparison. Calderon has been in the Top 10 all season, but that is mostly on the strength of his November and early December. If we were listing the top rookies from Dec. 15 on, he'd be on the second team.

Did Stoudamire get snubbed?
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images
Why are there no Hawks represented in the Rookie Challenge, despite having four worthy candidates (J. Smith, Childress, Stoudamire, Williams)? I would have thought that at least Smith and Stoudamire have proved their ability, while Williams and Childress both have the potential to really spice the game up.
RJ: Melbourne, Aus.

RR: Stoudamire has an argument, but the team is pretty small as it is. If you compare him to Nate Robinson, he averages a point more per game and shoots better from the field (.433 to .403), but Nate has him in three-point percentage, rebounds, assists and steals. Both are playing on equally poor teams, but Robinson has probably contributed more to his team's wins. It's a tough call, and both sides have a legit argument.

As for the sophomores, we imagine that both Smith and Childress just missed out. You could probably make a decent argument for Childress over Devin Harris, but Harris supporters could always point to the standings.

That's enough complaints for the assistant coaches. Let's get to the complaints about us...

I noticed that on your West starters you had left out Andrew Bynum but were complaining about the lack of Big men in the West. Andrew is much bigger than petro and is avreging almost as good stats in 48 minutes. He should at least have been a backup center. He is one of the biggest rookies out there. I also wanted to know why Andrew Bynum is not getting more minuts in LA. He certainly is good enough as a backup center just because of his size. He might even do a better job starting than Mihm... just wondering...
Marc - San Bernardino, Calif.

RR: Looking back at our East and West teams, let's swap out Chuck Hayes for Bynum. Now, Hayes has been much better over the last couple of weeks, but he's only been on an NBA roster for those couple of weeks. We'll give the spot to Bynum for the fact that he has been around all season.

We did see him put on a show Tuesday night at the Garden. That just might earn him some more time. He's still a little raw though, and as with any rookie straight out of high-school, he needs time to learn the game.

The Hornets' record speaks volumes about Paul.
Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images
How is a team's record a "valid argument" for whether one rookie is playing better than the other? Last I checked, a TEAM'S record showed which TEAM was playing better, not which player. Are you telling me that, since the Hornets have a better record than the Rockets that Chris Paul is better than T-Mac? A record states the team's ability, not a single player's. Records s hould not be used in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM EXCEPT FOR entrance into the playoffs.
Kyle - Ithaca, N.Y.

RR: A team's record can certainly be used to compare players, depending on their role on the team. When you are talking about Chris Paul, you have to bring up the fact that his team is 23-22, because they were 8-37 at this point last season without him. If you're comparing Bogut and Frye, it's certainly valid because their numbers and their roles on their teams are somewhat similar. Tie goes to the winner.

It's just like the MVP vote. Rarely does the MVP come from a losing team. And by the way, this season, it could be fair to say that Paul is better than T-Mac.

Good lookin' out on the rookies, but it still amazes me why Andrew Bogut's accomplishments are always being compared either to Paul's or to Frye's. Come on people, they're incomparable and i'm still surprised that Bogut keeps on showing up on the 3 spot. Maybe 4 or 5 or 6, but not 3. Admit it folks, andrew's only gonna be a Luc Longley, not your Tim Duncan (as many have presumed).
JV - Parts Unknown

RR: We'll project Bogut as somewhere between Duncan and Longley when it's all said and done, which we admit is a pretty cautious bet.

Wright is finally seeing some PT.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
In response to the Andrew Bynum move against Shaq. First of all, Shaq was playing stagnant defense against Bynum. Just b/c the rookie made one decent move against the "THE GREATEST" center of all time doesn't mean he deserves any type of recognition. Lastly, it's going to take more than a highlight reel to be considered.
Garrett - Los Angeles, Calif.

RR: Ever heard of Bill Russell? Wilt Chamberlain? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?

As of now, it doesn't look like Antoine Wright will get any playing time. What do you think the Nets will do with him? Also, how does Mile Ilic look right now? Will he be any addition to the Nets' frontcourt? Nets Rule.
Indraneel - East Brunswick, N.J.

RR: Wright has actually seen a few non-garbage minutes in the last couple of games. He certainly has talent. It's just an issue of confidence and getting comfortable playing against bigger and faster competition. For now, he seems to have leap-frogged Lamond Murray and Zoran Planinic in the rotation, but he's still not seeing major burn. It's probably a situation where, if he can put together a few solid minutes in the first half of games, Lawrence Frank might give him another short run in the second half. Ilic has shown some promise over in Europe, but the Nets want him to get stronger. He could develop into a decent player down the line, but don't look for him to be a contributor anytime soon (meaning next season).

THANK YOU for finally giving Andrew Bogut his due respect and placing him at #2. I don't thank anyone could argue for him to be ahead of Chris Paul, but his stat lines for the year, the past month, and the past week all beat Frye's stat lines. I also want to just point out the very underrated stat of AST-TO ratio. Bogut is a big man with a ratio of over 1, which easily beats the other rookie big guys. Thanks again.
Casey - Waupun, Wisc.

RR: Bogut's AST/TO ratio is nice, but it's still 1/2 that of Paul and he's a center. AST/TO ratio is a much more significant indicator for point guards than it is for big men.