SECAUCUS, NJ, Jan. 2, 2008 -- As I mentioned before in this space, I do a lot of thinking about my writing when I'm driving and every morning when I manuever my way out of Manhattan headed through the Lincoln Tunnel to NBA.com headquarters in New Jersey, my last glimpse of New York is a billboard for the movie The Bucket List.

The premise is Grumpy Old Men meets Brewster's Millions as Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman share a journey to do all the things they ever wanted to do before they "kick the bucket."

The trailer shows the unlikely pair doing activities like skydiving, visiting the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China, drag racing and rekindling old relationships.

Line of the Week
Yi Jianlian (MIL)
12.22 vs. CHA
29 points, 10 reb, 2 blk
14-17 FG, 43 min
After driving past the billboard day after day, the question that emerged in my mind was, "If I was a rookie in the NBA, what would be on my 'Bucket List' of things I would want to accomplish before my rookie season was over?"

You only live once, and you're only a rookie once.

With that said, here is my top 10 of things I'd like to do if I ever got the chance to be an NBA rookie:

1. Take a game winner (like Yi Jianlian)
2. Make a game winner (like Kevin Durant)
3. Sing the National Anthem (like Jamario Moon ... only have it sound a little bit better)
4. Date somebody famous (like a lot of NBA rookies have done over the years)
5. Make a key defensive stop in a late-game situation (without it resulting in a flagrant foul like Al Horford)
6. Be selected to the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam (and not get robbed for MVP like my man Kobe Bryant back in '97)
7. Compete in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk (and not take it for granted like Tyrus Thomas)
8. Get "in the zone" at least one game (like Juan Carlos Navarro)
9. Straight up dominate in one statistical category (like Corey Brewer on the boards or Sean Williams with the blocks)
10. Win Rookie of the Year (and not have to share it like like Jason Kidd and Grant Hill)

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  • Overall Rankings - Week 9

    1. Kevin Durant, G-F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    30
    32.9
    19.7
    4.2 2.1
    1.0
    1.2 .407 .314 .861
    Last Week: 2 | Drafted: 2
    Can I plead "Temporary Insanity"? Shame on me for dropping Durant to the No. 2 slot in Week 7. The K(i)D returned to form last week, scoring 27, 23 and 25 points in a three-game stretch vs. the Raptors, Blazers and Celtics, respectively. Let's hope his sprained left finger heals in time for his national TV date with the Suns on Thursday.

    2. Al Horford, F-C, Atlanta
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    27 30.9 9.2
    9.5
    1.1 0.9 1.1 .500 .000 .649
    Last Week: 1 | Drafted: 3
    Horford scored just five points against Miami as he was saddled with foul trouble for the most of the game, but followed that limited output by scoring double digits in back-to-back games for the first time all season.

    3. Yi Jianlian, F, Milwaukee
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    30 28.3 11.0 6.1 0.9 0.5 1.1 .471 .357 .800
    Last Week: 3 | Drafted: 6
    As Tom Endlund of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it, the Pistons "pummeled" the Bucks on New Years Eve. It's easy to be depressed as a Milwaukee fan, with the Bucks losing by 45 to extend their losing streak to lost four in a row and six of their last seven, but Yi remains as hopeful as a gift under the tree for the team with Christmas-colored jerseys.

    4. Sean Williams, C, New Jersey
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    25 21.0 7.3 5.2 0.4 0.6
    2.2
    .548
    .000 .697
    Last Week: 7 | Drafted: 17
    Williams is on the rise after registering double digits in points or rebounds in four of his last six games, including an impressive 14-point, 10-rebound, five-block performance in a win against Washington. When the 6-10 jumping jack has stayed out of foul trouble, he's been an important contributor for the Nets who have won four of their last five games.

    5. Jeff Green, F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    31 23.4 9.0 5.2 1.3 0.4 0.6 .455 .143 .670
    Last Week: 6 | Drafted: 5 by Boston
    Green is fifth among all qualifying rookies in points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game. Makes sense to have him at fifth in the Rookie Rankings as well.

    6. Jamario Moon, F, Toronto
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    28 27.8 7.7 6.4 0.9 0.8 1.6 .440 .250 .600
    Last Week: 4 | Drafted: Undrafted
    Moon's minutes are down, and as a result, his numbers have dipped across the board. Maybe the fact that he has to carry a pink High School Musical bag with him on the road is starting to take its toll. Hey, at least it's not a Cabbage Patch doll in a stroller.

    7. Juan Carlos Navarro, G, Memphis
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    30 23.6 10.2 2.1 2.1 0.7 0.0 .426
    .381
    0.897
    Last Week: 5 | Drafted: 40 by Washington in 2002
    JCN seems to stand for "Just Cold Now" as he's 16-for-47 (.340) from the field in his last six games and an even worse 7-for-26 (.269) from three-point range. Now that Mike Conley is back in the mix for the Grizzlies, it will be interesting to see what Marc Iavaroni does with Navarro's playing time if he continues to struggle.

    8. Luis Scola, F-C, Houston
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    31 19.6 7.4 5.1 1.0 0.6 0.2 .510 .000 .659
    Last Week: 9 | Drafted: 56 by San Antonio in 2002
    Godfather III is decidely not a good movie, but there is all-time classic line in it where Michael laments, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." That's how I feel about Scola who had been slipping in the rankings for the last several weeks before a three-game stretch of 14 points and 11 rebounds, 18 and nine and 22 and five has him back on the upswing.

    9. Daequan Cook, G, Miami
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    22 20.1 8.9 2.6 0.7 0.4 0.1 .422 .310
    .944
    Last Week: 8 | Drafted: 21 by Philadelphia
    Cook is mired near the bottom of the top 10 because he's a one-trick pony. He scores and is inconsistent as bad flan (15 points against the Jazz sandwiched by two zeros vs. New Jersey and Cleveland).

    10. Al Thornton, F, L.A. Clippers
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    26 17.7 7.2 3.2 0.4 0.4 0.3 .387 .345 .654
    Last Week: The Next 10 | Drafted: 14
    The curse of the No. 10 spot continues as Glen Davis joined Nick Young and Corey Brewer as the third consecutive rookie to vault into the top 10 one week, only to fall back into The Next 10 the following week. Thornton earns the bump up thanks to 25 points and six rebounds followed by 14 points and six boards in back-to-back games against top flight competition in the Spurs and Suns.
    RED = Rookie Leader (Must Qualify)

    The Next 10 (alphabetical order): Arron Afflalo (DET), Corey Brewer (MIN), Aaron Brooks (HOU), Glen Davis (BOS), Aaron Gray (CHI), Acie Law (ATL), Joakim Noah (CHI), Jason Smith (PHI), Rodney Stuckey (DET), Nick Young (WAS)


    Noteworthy

    Stuckey

    Rodney Stuckey (DET) was one of the most impressive rookies in the preseason before breaking his left hand. The 6-5 guard out of Eastern Washington is back on the court, averaging 5.2 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals in six games of action.
    Darius Washington (SAS) had his rookie season end the same day that Keith Langford (SAS) had his begin as the Spurs waived Washington to make room for the lefty Langford out of Kansas by way of the Austin Toros.
    If the Celtics end up breaking the Bulls record of 72-10, Brandon Wallace (BOS) may one day be the toughest name to remember when answering the trivia question, "Who was on the opening-day roster for the Boston Celtics in their record-breaking 2007-08 season?" Wallace was waived on December 19.
    Acie Law (ATL) was the silver lining in the Hawks' cloudy contest against the Mavs that broke Atlanta's five-game win streak. Law had 12 points, two assists and three steals as he reached double-digit scoring for just the third time of his career.
    Jermareo Davidson (CHA) has new teammate Nazr Mohammed to thank for still being on the Bobcats instead of playing the the D-League. Hours after Davidson was assigned to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Charlotte traded Walter Hermann and Primoz Brezec to the Pistons for Mohammed and Davidson was called back to the big league.
    The HNPAMY (Have Not Played A Minute Yet) Club: Herbert Hill** (PHI), Greg Oden** (POR), Oleksiy Pecherov** (WAS), Ramon Sessions* (MIL), Marcin Gortat* (ORL), JamesOn Curry* (CHI), Adam Haluska** (NOH) and Kosta Perovic* (GSW)
    * = assigned to the D-League
    ** = injured

    Got beef with the rankings or have a comment or question for the Rookie Report? Send the Report an e-mail.