SECAUCUS, NJ, Oct. 24, 2007 -- The 2007 NBA Draft class has already been more celebrated by the media than Terrell Owens treats his touchdowns. It's already been mentioned in the same breath as 2003 (LeBron, Dwyane, Carmelo), 1996 (Kobe, Nash, A.I.) and 1984 (Jordan, Olajuwon, Barkley) before any of its players have even played a game.

Now it's time for the rookies to live up to the hype.

While the class will miss No. 1 pick Greg Oden as he recovers from knee surgery, there is no reason that picks No. 2-60 can't take the league by storm.

John Schuhmann finished his tour of duty as the curator of the Rookie Report with his Summer League rankings back in July and I'll be following the young guys this year from their garbage time to the day they earn starting spots. This week's rankings are based purely on the preseason. Check back on November 7 and every Wednesday throughout the season to keep tabs on the race for the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy awarded to the Rookie of the Year.

Line of the Preseason
Al Horford (ATL)
10.18 at CHA
22 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks
7-10 FG, 8-11 FT
As always, my mailbox is open so if you feel like I'm giving too much attention to one rook and not enough to another, let me know. Plus, I invite you to check out the rookie forum on the Fan Voice where you could find yourself on your computer in Toronto at 2 a.m. telling a fan in Argentina that you think that Jamario Moon is better than Luis Scola.

That's what it's there for.

Overall Rankings - Best of the Preseason
1. Al Thornton, F, L.A. Clippers
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
6 29.2 18.7 5.7 0.5 0.33 0.67 .489 .692 .867
Drafted: 14
With Elton Brand out as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles' tendon, the ball has to go to somebody for the Clippers and Thornton has willingly filled the void. Seeing the 6-8 slashing forward score close to 20 points per game has been impressive, but it's how he puts the ball in the hoop that's truly special as it's hard to pick his best stat: 48.9 percent from the field, 69.2 percent from three or 86.7 percent from the foul line.

2. Al Horford, F-C, Atlanta
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
7 30.1 11.7 8.9 2.0 0.71 1.43 .516 .000 .750
Drafted: 3
Going into the draft back in June, the buzz surrounding Horford was that he had the most NBA-ready body out of the group and he could immediately step onto the court and contribute. Four months later that statement still appears to be true.

3. Kevin Durant, G-F, Seattle
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
6 30.0 18.8 4.3 1.0 1.67 0.50 .396 .407 .688
Drafted: 2
Listen, just because Durant scores more than Quagmire on The Family Guy and has a freakish athletic body as he stands at 6-9 with a 7-5 wingspan doesn't mean he has the ROY locked up just quite yet. He'll be Seattle's go-to guy which is both a blessing and a curse as he'll learn what it's like to carry an NBA team very quickly, but he'll also learn the pressure that comes with that task.

4. Luis Scola, F, Houston
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
5 23.8 8.6 6.4 2.0 1.00 0.20 .588 .000 .500
Drafted: 56 in 2002 by San Antonio
The Rockets traded Vassilis Spanoulis and a 2009 second-round pick to San Antonio back in July and hope what they got in return is a potential starter at power forward. Scola has been praised for staying active on the court and always moving, two qualities that should shine even brighter in new Houston head coach Rick Adelman's scheme.

5. Aaron Gray, C, Chicago
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
6 17.5 10.2 5.5 1.0 0.33 0.83 .568 .000 .760
Drafted: 49
Despite making it to the playoffs each of the last three seasons, one knock against the Bulls was that they lacked a low-post scorer. Maybe General Manager John Paxson had that in mind when he took a flyer on Gray with a late second-round pick. Gray saw several starts at center during the preseason and showed a soft touch around the basket and converted his free throws when he got to the line. Shaq he is not, but think Todd MacCulloch in his prime and Gray and Chicago might have something there.

6. Rodney Stuckey, G, Detroit
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
7 27.3 10.7 3.4 3.6 1.43 0.71 .338 .143 .792
Drafted: 15
The other day I was talking to David Thorpe, who did a rookie rankings of his own for ESPN.com, and he pointed out to me that the last guard from a mid-major conference to be picked in the first round was Kevin Martin. Not bad company for Stuckey to be in. With all the veterans in Detroit, Stuckey should be able to naturally play his game and contribute as another piece to a puzzle rather than run the whole show.
Update: Stuckey broke his left (non-shooting) hand on Oct. 24 against the Wizards. The timetable for his return is uncertain.

7. Marco Belinelli, G. Golden State
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
6 28.5 12.8 2.3 2.2 2.0 0.00 .394 .167 .739
Drafted: 18
We all know that Belinelli can play, the question is, "How much will he play?" The Warriors were guard-heavy already with Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Kelenna Azubuike and Stephen Jackson sharing time in the backcourt last season. Remember, Sarunas Jasikevicius didn't see much court time as a designated shooter last season.

8. Juan Carlos Navarro, G, Memphis
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
6 25.5 14.0 1.5 2.0 0.50 0.17 .463 .432 .857
Drafted: 40 in 2002 by Washington
In a similar move to what the Rockets pulled off by getting Scola, the Grizzlies got Navarro by sending a future first-round pick to Washington. Navarro will pair with Pau Gasol as two Spanish National Team members on Memphis and the inside-outside combination should be potent.

9. Oleksiy Pecherov, C, Washington
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
5 20.6 9.6 6.0 0.8 0.60 1.20 .425 .133 .923
Drafted: 18 in 2006 by Washington
It took Pecherov a year to make it to the NBA after being drafted in 2006, but it appears that it was worth the wait. Standing at 7-0 with legit three-point range, "Oily" (as he's called by his teammates) should give the Wizards a different look at center in stark contrast to the bruising Brendan Haywood.

10. Joakim Noah, F, Chicago
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
6 25.0 8.2 6.0 2.0 0.67 0.83 .425 .000 .750
Drafted: 9
He doesn't look like a marquee ballplayer with his crazy mess of hair and disjointed jump shot, but in Scott Skiles' system, Noah will do his best Tasmanian Devil impression and cause chaos on the floor. When the Bulls press (which they are known to do), having the 6-11 Noah covering ground out there with the 6-8 Tyrus Thomas could make one of the hardest traps in the league to get through.

The Next 10 (alphabetical order): Arron Afflalo (DET), Corey Brewer (MIN), Nick Fazekas (DAL), Jeff Green (SEA), Taurean Green (POR), Acie Law (ATL), Dominic McGuire (WAS), Darius Washington (SAS), Yi Jianlian (MIL), Nick Young (WAS)


Noteworthy

Brewer

Corey Brewer (MIN) exploded for 27 points on 10-for-15 shooting on Oct. 20, a night after scoring just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. The life of a rookie is not a consistent one.
Aaron Brooks (HOU) had a stellar showing in the Las Vegas Summer League, but now the diminutive guard seems to be at the bottom of the Rockets' point guard rotation behind Rafer Alston, Mike James and Steve Francis.
Arron Afflalo (DET) is shooting 52.4 percent from the field in seven games and had his best outing on Oct. 20 against San Antonio when he scored 20 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
Brian Chase (MIA) spent the summer working out with Gilbert Arenas and the Wizards, but after going 9-for-20 from three in seven preseason games for Miami he might be spending the regular season on another Southeast Division roster.
Thomas Gardner (CHI) started three preseason games for Chicago. Who is he? A 6-5 guard out of Missouri with a physical game, that's who.
Adam Haluska (NOH) must have been receiving pointers on the bench from sharpshooting teammate Peja Stojakovic on Oct. 15 when he went 7-for-8 from the field (and 3-for-3 from three) en route to 20 points in a loss to the Pacers.
After grabbing only 14 total rebounds in his first four preseason games, Yi Jianlian (MIL), hauled in 12 in his fifth game to go with 15 points in a Oct. 20 win against the Wolves.
Gabe Pruitt (BOS) patiently waited for court time during Europe Live and was rewarded when the Celtics got back to the states. He put up 13 points and four assists in 17 minutes against the Knicks on Oct. 17.
Brandan Wright (GSW) has yet to prove how he'll fit in with Nellieball. In five preseason apperances, he's averaged 5.2 points in 14.6 minutes per game.

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