Rookie Notes and Mail -- What, No Veterans?
Posted Jul 26 2007 12:03PM
SECAUCUS, NJ, July 26, 2007 -- The Rookie Report does not take the summer off.
Most of that will start in October, but tomorrow (Friday) will actually be a big day on the blog, as the Report and a couple of NBA.commrades will be at the annual Rookie Photo Shoot. For an idea of exactly what that is, check out our report from last year's shoot.
This year, there will be 43 rookies in attendance, including 13 of the 14 lottery picks. And we'll have more coverage than we've ever had. So, check the blog again on Friday, and then tune into the Rookie Report next week for the full rundown of events.
Before the Report get to the rest of the mail, I'm going to put several people on blast. You see, when we posted the Summer League Rankings on Monday, we got a lot of mail from people wondering why the following players were mistakenly left out: Jose Barea, Rodney Carney, Brandon Bass, Randy Foye, Jason Maxiell, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Craig Smith, Tyrus Thomas and Louis Williams.
"mat" from Austin, Tex. wrote in about five of the above players (and not one rookie), so he's the one who gets his name published.
Now, the Report knows that, on the NBA.com homepage, the link was called out as "Summer League Rankings", but if you actually read the feature (and if you wrote to complain about the above players being omitted, I'm assuming you did click on the link), you should have seen the large title that began with the word "Rookie", as well as the bright pink Rookie Report banner above it.
Reading comprehension is a beautiful thing, folks. And we're making it a point of emphasis on the Rookie Report this season (but let's not let our spelling, grammar and punctuation suffer!). So, before you write your scathing e-mails, make sure you've actually read through what you're writing about. Otherwise, you're getting chewed out in this space (or perhaps in the blog if I'm feeling frisky on a non-Thursday).
And how come no one complained about Renaldo Balkman not being on the list? He was a beast in Vegas!
Now that we got that out of the way, let's get to the mail from those of you that realize that Rookie Rankings are limited to players who haven't played in the NBA before.
T-Mobile Rookie Report: OK. That's a legit beef. Almond was definitely under consideration, but his numbers (12.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.7 APG, .432 FG%, 2-11 3PT) at the RMR didn't stand out to the Report, and at press time, I hadn't had the chance to watch him play.
But since the Report received several e-mails about Almond's omission, I TiVo'd the NBA TV replay of Jazz-Hawks from July 19 and stayed up late (because I had to wait for Mrs. Report to finish watching So You Think You Can Dance) last night to watch it and take notes. Here are my thoughts...
Offensively, Almond is a pretty complete player. He's obviously a good shooter, but he can also put it on the floor if the defender closes out on him. And he had a pretty nice baseline turnaround over the right shoulder on a post-up, as well as a big step-back jumper from the baseline that made it a three-point game in the final minute of regulation.
His defense is another story. His effort wasn't bad, but his footwork needs a lot of work and he even made a couple of fundamental mistakes such as not positioning himself between the ball and his man when he was one pass away. As a result, he got beat both off the dribble and when his man dove toward the basket to receive a pass.
So, the Report stands by our decision to not include Almond in the top 20 (21 or 22 sounds about right), but he probably should have been mentioned in the Noteworthy section, and I wouldn't argue if another observer had him in the 15-20 range.
RR: Watching the Jazz-Hawks game also allowed the Report to get a closer look at both Law and Al Horford. Law was pretty impressive. He's quicker than I thought, and he was able to get into the lane off the dribble with ease, either finishing at the rim or kicking it out to an open shooter. There was also a nice spin move into the lane and drop-off through traffic to Horford for a lay-up, as well as a couple of pull-up J's off the dribble.
Defensively, Law wasn't anything to write home about, but he wasn't bad either. So, you could maybe bump him up to No. 8 or 9 perhaps, but he was a little too inconsistent to call him top five.
RR: Ummm... check the Report's profile.
I liked the Williams pick. I thought it was a good risk to take given the players that were left on the board at 17. And he looked good at times during the PPSL, but he was still quite raw offensively and was definitely not one of the 10 best rookies of the summer.
Also, with Krstic, Collins, Magloire and Boone probably ahead of him in the rotation to start the season, the Report would be surprised if he contributes much early on. He may turn out to be a nice long-term investment and the right pick at 17, but he's not an immediate answer to the Nets' frontline issues.
For more on Williams though, check out the Report's notes from a couple of weeks ago.
RR: Milwaukee. The Report thinks (and hopes) that something will eventually be worked out.
RR: The Report still has Durant as the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award, but these were Summer League rankings, and he was clearly not as good as the players above him. His performance in the State Farm Challenge was terrific, but that didn't count toward the rankings. I'll just keep it in the file for future reference.
RR: It's either a gross miscalculation, or there was just a lot more talent in Las Vegas than there was in Orlando or Utah.
RR: The Report pretty much agrees with everything you wrote, Sam. Like the Nets at 17, the Rockets didn't have anyone left on their board at 26 who was going to fill their biggest need and contribute right away. And like the Nets, they're in a win-now situation.
Now, I'm still not sure where Brooks fits in the depth chart, but I like the Scola move and I think the Rockets are set up to make a lot of noise this season ... as long as they can get past the first round.
RR: Green was good, and he was in the Report's 11-20 group, but other than points per game, Dudley's numbers were better across the board.
I was actually pretty impressed with Wallace the couple of times I watched him. His numbers weren't great, but he was an energy guy who seemed to be everywhere on the floor, especially defensively. Now, according to this, his contract is not fully guaranteed, and the Celtics still have some roster trimming to do, so we'll see if Wallace sticks in Boston or not.