SECAUCUS, NJ, April 2, 2007 -- It's that time of year again. The time when rookies you've never heard of come out of nowhere to put up numbers you might never see again.
As teams are eliminated from playoff contention and the veterans' minutes are cut, coaches turn to those guys who have spent most of the season in a suit or in Albuquerque. And that makes it a fun, but busy time at the Rookie Report, because we're always on the lookout for standout performances by those guys you've never heard of, so you can read about them in this space.
And of course, the guys you have heard of have exactly 16 days of basketball left to earn their spot in the Top 10.
If you missed it last week, check out Thursday's Notes and Mail. Keep writing and we'll answer more this Thursday (as long as Mrs. Rookie Report doesn't give birth to the 2029 WNBA Rookie of the Year between now and then. If she does, you're on your own until next week, and you'll need to talk amongst yourselves.
THIS WEEK'S RANKINGS
1. Tarence Kinsey (MEM)
19.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.00 SPG, .507 FG% in 5 games 2. Rudy Gay (MEM)
15.2 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.40 SPG, 1.80 BPG, .412 FG% in 5 games 3. Tyrus Thomas (CHI)
12.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.25 SPG, 2.50 BPG, .486 FG% in 4 games 4. Walter Herrmann (CHA)
19.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, .650 FG% in 3 games 5. Josh Boone (NJN)
14.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, .720 FG% in 3 games
Last Week: 3
Gay recorded his fourth career double-double in Tuesday's win over the Lakers with 20 and 12, throwing in five assists, a steal and four blocks. That ties him with Roy for third among rookies.
Last Week: 5
Aldridge looks to be OK after leaving Saturday's loss to the Clippers with dizziness and a fast heartbeat. Earlier in the week, he had scored 20 points and grabbed eight boards in a loss in Chicago.
Last Week: 7
Foye's shooting has been rather erratic lately. Over the course of two games on Wednesday and Thursday, he shot 1-for-11 from downtown, but then he made all three he took from beyond the arc in Sunday's win in Orlando.
Last Week: 10
The Bulls have won 12 of their last 16 games, which has pretty much coincided with increased production from Thomas. He's averaging 9.6 points, 6.3 boards and 1.50 blocks in 21.3 minutes during that stretch while shooting .529 from the field. This week, he had a double-double in a big win over Detroit and the Line of the Week (above) in a close loss to Cleveland.
After making a splash in January and February, Kelenna Azubuike's (GSW) hasn't scored more than six points since March 2, and he has four DNPs in the Warriors' last five games. Renaldo Balkman (NYK) has grabbed at least five boards in 10 of his last 11 games and is averaging 8.0 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting .638 from the field in his last 13. Josh Boone (NJN) followed up his 21 and six game last Saturday with 22 and 10 in a big win over Indiana on Wednesday and then 17 and six in a loss in Detroit on Friday. Over the last four, he's averaging 16.3 points and 6.5 boards while shooting an incredible 80 percent (28-35) from the field. Mardy Collins (NYK) has been getting regular burn over the last five games and recorded career highs with 14 points and six assists in Saturday's loss in Oklahoma City.
On Sunday, Jordan Farmar (LAL) became the first player to ever play in a D-League game and an NBA game on the same day. Walter Herrmann (CHA) has started the last four games for the Bobcats and is averaging 16.5 points and 5.4 boards while shooting .606 from the field and .421 from downtown in the 10 games since he has been getting regular burn. Ersan Ilyasova (MIL) has started the last five games for the Bucks and has made 14 of his last 24 shots from downtown. Solomon Jones (ATL) has blocked 12 shots (in 46 total minutes) in the last three games he has played.
In addition to the impressive numbers (19.5 PPG, 1.67 SPG, .523 FG% over the last six games - all on the road) Tarence Kinsey (MEM) hit two game-winning shots this week: a three with less than a minute to go to beat the Lakers on Tuesday, and another jumper to beat the Blazers on Thursday. Randolph Morris (NYK) made his NBA debut in Wednesday's win over Cleveland, scoring one point in seven minutes. Rajon Rondo (BOS) has started 12 of the last 13 games for the Celtics and is averaging 7.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.31 steals during the stretch. He had 16 points, five boards and eight assists while shooting 4-of-6 from the field and 8-of-8 from the line in a nice win over Toronto on Monday. James White (SAS) played in his first NBA game on Monday, scoring nine points and grabbing three boards in 15 minutes as the Spurs blew out the Warriors. Marcus Williams (NJN) dished out a career-high 11 assists in Wednesday's win over Indiana and another five in just 14 minutes against Philly on Saturday, but he has made just one of his last 21 shots from the field. Shawne Williams (IND) scored a career-high 19 points (much of it in garbage time) on 6-of-10 from the field in that loss to the Nets on Wednesday.
RED = Rookie Leader (Must Qualify)
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