SECAUCUS, NJ, Nov. 21, 2007 -- What's so hard about being a rookie anyway? Why can't everybody step in from jumpstreet and put up the same numbers that they did in high school and college? What's the secret?

These questions were circling around my head like Lloyd Carr circling want ads in the classified section as I prepped to write the Rookie Rankings this week.

It all seemed like a crapshoot to me after I had one guy in my top 10 one week and then totally off my radar the next. The biggest example is Al Thornton.

I was perplexed as to why a guy like him, who tore it up in the preseason, could be starting to disappear from the rotation out in La La Land.

And then I found my answer in this article by Jonathan Abrams of the L.A. Times:

Al Thornton has frequently changed his appearance in the early season -- his hair from a short afro, to cornrows, to closely cropped. He wears long socks and a headband one night and neither the next.

I think I figured out success; It's all about finding a routine and sticking to it.

After all, everybody has a routine. I jump in the shower every morning, then turn on my TV to Mike & Mike in the Morning and fire up my laptop to cruise NBA.com as I get dressed for work. Then I drive to the office listening to Mike & Mike and turn to the right when I pull into the parking lot here and leave my car on the same side of the building every day. Then I go in the building, turn on my computer, and go upstairs to get a cup of coffee from the cafe while it boots up.

That's my everyday. It puts me in my comfort zone and allows me to perform.

The problems for NBA rookies is that they have too many options to choose from:

- Do I take the early bus or the late bus to the arena?
- Do I wear white socks with black shoes or black socks with white shoes?
- Do I eat a big full meal of spaghetti and meatballs or do I stick to the fruit and vegetable trays in the locker room?
Line of the Week
Juan Carlos Navarro (MEM)
11.16 vs. NOH
28 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists
10-16 FG, 8-9 3-PT FG
- When everybody is shooting around before the game, do I try to get legit shots up from the free throw line or do I start a tradition and play Tim 1-on-1 before every game?
- Last game I played Johnny and we lost, should I see if Brevin wants to play today?
- Do I watch the pregame film or read the pregame notes? Or do both? Or do neither?
- Do I sit near the coach during the game or sit at the end of the bench with my buddies?
- Do I check my phone before the game, or ignore all the texts and try to concentrate?

The list goes on and on, however I'm pretty confident that Thornton and the rest of his rookie comrades will start to get it sooner than later. I mean, hey, there aren't many more hairstyles left for him to try.

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  • Overall Rankings - Week 3

    1. Kevin Durant, G-F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    12 33.8 19.0 4.2 1.8 1.3 0.90 .374 .283 .841
    Last Week: 1 | Drafted: 2
    His numbers (most notably his field goal percentage) have gone down slightly since his dynamic debut week, but how many rookies have the stones to make this shot with the clock winding down in double overtime? Just the fact that he wants to be the guy who takes that shot reminds me of Kobe Bryant as a rookie against the Jazz in the playoffs. Only KD didn't throw up an airball.

    2. Al Horford, F-C, Atlanta
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    10 33.0 9.0 10.3 1.2 1.0 1.7 .515 .000 .611
    Last Week: 3 | Drafted: 3
    Horford has moved from the Hawks' starting power forward to the team's seventh man as the first guy off the bench after Josh Childress. The demotion hasn't hurt his production in the least as he continues to be a legit double-double threat every night.

    3. Sean Williams, C, New Jersey
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    8 20.6 9.6 4.8 0.1 0.6 2.5 .634 .000 .714
    Last Week: Unranked | Drafted: 17
    I haven't missed the boat on something so bad since I disagreed with my 13-year old buddy Adam when he thought our junior high classmate was cute and she grew up to be a model. Sean Williams' athleticism reminds me of a young Amare Stoudemire, only STAT didn't fully matriculate until he had Steve Nash at the point, whereas Sean has Jason Kidd from Day 1. Scary.

    4. Yi Jianlian, F, Milwaukee
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    9 25.8 9.7 6.1 0.7 0.8 1.6 .415 .500 .708
    Last Week: 2 | Drafted: 6
    Yi went 5-for-21 in three games last week and saw his minutes reduced significantly in the Bucks' games against the Hawks and the Cavaliers. Despite all that, he's still right in the thick of it for ROY consideration.

    5. Jamario Moon, F, Toronto
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    7 26.7 7.9 6.7 1.1 1.1 1.1 .431 .364 .583
    Last Week: 6 | Drafted: Undrafted
    Moon officially arrived last week when my man Cory in London, ON invited me to the "Jamario Moon Fan Club" on Facebook. Now that's big time. His 15 points vs. Utah and 12 rebounds vs. Dallas proved he can get it done against some of the best competition out there.

    6. Jeff Green, F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    12 22.2 9.8 5.4 0.6 0.6 0.5 .453 .000 .738
    Last Week: 4 | Drafted: 5 by Boston
    Green got the first start of his career on Tuesday and rewarded coach P.J. Carlesimo for his confidence in him by racking up 11 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.

    7. Daequan Cook, G, Miami
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    6 18.3 9.0 1.8 0.8 0.5 0.0 .465 .364 .857
    Last Week: 7 | Drafted: 21 by Philadelphia
    Things might be starting to turn around in the right direction for Miami, as Dwyane Wade is back, Shaq is holding himself accountable and Daequan Cook is turning into a potent scorer when used in small doses.

    8. Luis Scola, F-C, Houston
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    11 19.8 6.8 4.4 1.0 0.4 0.2 .530 .000 .455
    Last Week: The Next 10 | Drafted: 56 in 2002 by San Antonio
    The only other rookie to have 20-point outings in back-to-back games this season is Kevin Durant. Scola followed up his 20-point, 10-for-11 from the field gem against the Spurs with a 20-point, 11-rebound, four-assist showing vs. the Suns.

    9. Juan Carlos Navarro, G, Memphis
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    10 17.8 8.0 1.5 1.7 0.6 0.0 .424 .474 1.000
    Last Week: The Next 10 | Drafted: 40 in 2002 by Washington
    It's not J.C. It's not Juan Carlos. It's "La Bomba." Navarro earned the nickname on November 16 by tying a rookie record with eight 3-pointers in a game, joining Chris Duhon and Jason Kidd as the only other rookies to do so.

    10. Jason Smith, F, Philadelphia
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    10 17.0 5.9 3.3 0.6 0.5 0.8 .500 .000 .688
    Last Week: The Next 10 | Drafted: 20 by Miami
    The old addage goes that slow and steady wins the race, so maybe we'll be handing Philadelphia's Jason Smith the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy come May. The 7-0, 240 pound Smith has improved seemingly every game and followed up a season-high 12 points last Friday with a respectable eight points on Tuesday.

    The Next 10 (alphabetical order): Arron Afflalo (DET), Corey Brewer (MIN), Mike Conley (MEM), Jared Dudley (CHA), Thomas Gardner (CHI), Spencer Hawes (SAC), Acie Law (ATL), Joakim Noah (CHI), Al Thornton (LAC), Nick Young (WAS)


    Noteworthy

    Law

    Acie Law (ATL) took the biggest tumble since last week, both on the floor and in the Rookie Rankings. He hurt his ankle against the Bobcats when Ryan Hollins landed on him. The good news is that he plans to return on Saturday.
    NBA scouts drool over 7-footers like Homer Simpson yearns for donuts. We finally got to see what 85-inch tall Cheikh Samb (DET) could do as he blocked two shots in 15 minutes in his debut on November 16.
    Stephane Lasme (GSW) was waived to make room for DJ Mbenga.
    Nick Fazekas (DAL) and Ian Mahinmi (SAS) are the newest assignees to the D-League.
    Aaron Brooks (HOU) broke through the Rockets' stacked backcourt to score five points in three minutes in his first game action.
    The Bulls' trio of Aaron Gray, Joakim Noah and Thomas Gardner combined for 37 points, 16 rebounds and five assists on Tuesday in bench duty as Denver romped Chicago.
    Nick Young (WAS) is stepping up his game in Gilbert Arenas' absence. The guard out of USC scored 28 points on 10-for-18 shooting in his last two games.
    Thaddeus Young (PHI) erupted for a season-high 14 points on Tuesday after scoring just 15 points combined in his first five appearances.
    The HNPAMY (Have Not Played A Minute Yet) Club: Herbert Hill (PHI), Brandon Wallace* (BOS), Oleksiy Pecherov (WAS), Joel Anthony (MIA), Rodney Stuckey (DET), Kyrylo Fesenko* (UTA), Ramon Sessions* (MIL), Marcin Gortat* (ORL), JamesOn Curry* (CHI), Carl Landry (HOU), Adam Haluska (NOH), Demetris Nichols (CLE) and Kosta Perovic* (GSW)
    * = assigned to the D-League

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