Rookie Rankings Mailbox - April 28, 2006
By John Schuhmann
We apologize for the lack of a mailbox in the last few weeks, but hopefully, there's enough rookie talk here to satisfy you. Most of the mail was about the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in the rankings, but we tried to dig up a couple of letters on other subjects.
Enjoy the playoffs, stay tuned to the Rookie Report for the Rookie of the Year announcement (coming soon), and keep it locked on NBA.com for the best Playoffs, Finals and Draft Day coverage on the web.
Let's get to the mail...
Chris - Salt Lake City, Utah
T-Mobile Rookie Report: Numbers don't mean everything, but they do tell you a lot. In comparing Paul and Williams, we can overlook points, rebounds, assists and steals if you'd like. Let's just look at games started and minutes per game. Paul started all 78 games that he played in and he led his team in minutes. That tells us that he must have been a significant part of their success. By watching the games, we saw that he was the team leader. There were no veteran stars like Kirilenko or Okur on the Hornets.
Now, we loved what Deron Williams brought to the Jazz, and we think he is going to be a great point guard down the line, but he just did not have nearly the impact on the Jazz that Paul had on the Hornets. Okur became a much better player this year and Kirilenko played in 28 more games than he did last season.
How can you people not mention Rashad McCants? He has to be the most gifted, explosive, dynamic and underrated rookie this season. If he did not have to play behind players such as Wally S., Ricky D., and Trenton H. he would be a strong candidate for ROY. You people still want to judge him because of the lies that was put out on him at UNC. That is so unfair to him. To not mention him with Chris P., Ray F., Charlie V, is crazy. Rashad will make the biggest impact next season mark my words.
RR: We're not sure what was said about him down in Chapel Hill, but we really liked what McCants did over the last month or so of the season, and we did mention him quite a bit during that time. He's a very talented offensive player who knows how to put the ball in the basket. We're looking forward to seeing what he'll bring to the Wolves next season.
HLK 3 - Fredericksburg, Virg.
RR: We're still not sure why Felton wasn't on the rookie squad in Houston, but it certainly kept him motivated in the second half. We're big Brevin Knight fans here too (been watching him since his sophomore year at Seton Hall Prep), so we're not sure how to handle that situation in Charlotte. It will be an interesting summer for sure.
I am shocked you had Andrew Bogut ahead of Deron Williams for a lead candidate for ROY. With Williams late-season push, as well as outperforming most-likely ROY winner Chris Paul, and his great defense, he clearly seems ahead of Bogut. Bogut has had a good season, but much of his hype is just due to his No. 1 selection in the draft.
RR: We paid no attention to when a player was drafted, hype or critcism. We really like what Bogut brings to the Bucks and he's one of those players whose value is greater than his stats show, in our opinion. Simply put, he has a high basketball IQ. Not that Williams doesn't, but Bogut clearly deserved the No. 4 spot from our perspective.
Chrissy - Hamilton, Ont.
RR: We're not sure why you think we've been negative about Charlie all season. Read through the archive. We may have called out his inconsistency at times, but we certainly don't dislike him or the Raptors. We've met Charlie more than once and he's a great guy. We think what he does for victims of Alopecia Areata is nothing short of amazing. Of course, the off-the-court stuff doesn't affect our rankings.
Also, if you think we're biased against the Charlie, the Raptors or the city of Toronto, why would we have ranked him No. 1 in our preseason rankings or have had him at No. 2 for a good part of the season? Did we suddenly become biased one random day in April? The reason he dropped to No. 3 was because of the play of Raymond Felton, not because of any bias.
I'm from Canada, so naturally, I like the Raptors. However, I can't say that I agree with most of their fans. Toronto: the league doesn't hate you. The fact is, Chris Paul has by far been the best rookie, and Raymond Felton deserves second because of his strong finish. Specifically, to Jack from Mississauga, there's a reason that Charlie V. isn't the number one option in Toronto: Chris Bosh, Morris Peterson, Mike James etc ... Here's something that should be clarified to some uneducated fans: More minutes and more touches don't always mean more points. When you become the first option, teams make a point of shutting you down. Villanueva isn't ready for that. If he became the first look on offense, the shooting percentage drops and the turnovers rise. Watching him this year, I can't help but get excited about what type of player he will become, but for now, he'll have to settle for being the third best rookie.
RR: That's why it can be difficult to judge individual players in totally different situations. In the end, our Rookie Rankings are just one person's opinions. We think Felton was the second best rookie. Some think it was Bogut and some think it was Villanueva. There's a valid argument for each and we're not going to tell you that you're wrong for thinking differently. Comparing and arguing about players in different situations is one of the great things about sports.
You over ranked Gomes. He played only 61 games and wasn't even that great. Just because it's fun to have second round picks on there, it doesn't mean he had a better year that McCants, who averaged more points and played the entire season in the NBA.
RR: Believe us, we had a hard time trying to figure out how to handle Gomes, who was pretty silent for most of the season, but then exploded when he was given an opportunity to play. Every week, we thought about whether or not he belonged where he was, but in the end, we think that No. 8 is appropriate. We were ready to put McCants in there in each of the last few weeks, but Marvin Williams finished strong enough to hold him off.
Abe - Springfield, Mass.
RR: Potentially? Yes, he could be better than Pierce somewhere down the road, but there is a lot of work to be done before that ever happens. It is far from a guarantee.
This is a three part question:
RR: 1. Tough to say, but he was consistenly around eight or nine for most of the season. He did drop out right before he got injured though. He was a bit inconsistent and his disciplinary problems did not help.
2. We think Marvin Williams could be a breakout player next season. For Stoudamire, it could depend on his attitude. Either way, we don't think he's ready to be a starter in this league, but if he can be more consistent, he could be a valuable offensive weapon off the bench.
3. We're not sure what will be available when the Hawks select, but they would benefit from a true point guard and/or some frontline depth.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE name me one good basketball player who shoots under 40 percent from the field. I would really love to know. Felton at No. 2 is a joke, period! He's either a chucker who can't shoot or a chump who cant hit lay ups. Take your pick, because that's the type of pro baller who shoots under 40 percent. You guys are pathetic and Charlie V will prove that to you next year, just like he did this year.
RR: Jason Kidd has shot under 40 percent six times in his career, including 2001-02, when he was runner-up for MVP. Thanks for writing.