SECAUCUS, NJ, Jan. 16, 2008 -- On the day of the NBA Draft Lottery back in May, the Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics had the best statistical chance of any team in the NBA of landing either the No. 1 or No. 2 pick.

The team execs brought lucky charms, ping pong balls bounced and the draft order was set. A stroke of luck carried in a wind gust from the Northwest United States to the NBA Entertainment studios in New Jersey jumbled the expected results and the Blazers and Sonics were one and two, with the Grizzlies and Celtics nestled at four and five.
Line of the Week
Carl Landry (HOU)
Jan. 11 vs. MIN
15 points, 11 reb
7-7 FG, 20 min Video

Maybe the Grizzlies' lack of luck on that night actually ended up being a great turn of fortune.

If Memphis had landed one of the top two picks, they most certainly would have gone with either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. Take a look at that potential decision eight months later now that Oden is out for the season and Rudy Gay has blossomed into a legit rising star at the three (creating little need for Durant) and you realize that the Grizzlies might have ended up with the best-case scenario.

Their selection at the No. 4 slot -- 6-1, 180-pound point guard Mike Conley -- might have taken longer to pay off than Memphis' brain trust expected because a right shoulder injury sidelined Conley for most of the first two months of the season, but now that the 20-year old out of Ohio State is going, there seems to be no stopping him.

His quickness combined with his steady game management and decision-making beyond his years have lifted Conley into the Grizzlies' starting lineup. To get there, Conley didn't just have to rehab his shoulder but outplay three players while doing so -- Damon Stoudamire, Kyle Lowry and Juan Carlos Navarro all saw time at the starting one spot before Conley took it over.

Back in May, Conley was known as an Olympian's son and Greg Oden's teammate.

Now, he's a starter, a stroke of luck and an emerging Rookie of the Year contender, making his way out of The Next 10 into the No. 8 spot in the standings.

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  • Korleone Young slide of the week: Jeff Green, SEA (-4).
    Eddie Gottlieb rise of the week: Jamario Moon, TOR; Luis Scola, HOU (+3).

    Overall Rankings - Week 11

    1. Kevin Durant, G-F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    36
    33.3
    19.8
    4.2 2.1 0.9 1.2 .399 .291 .864
    Last Week: 1 | Drafted: 2
    Durant's stats took a hit last week as his scoring dropped below 20 points per game (19.8), his field-goal percentage dipped under basketball version's of the Mendoza Line (.399) and his three-point accuracy went south of .300 (.291). KD will try to correct that trend tonight against the Hornets, who beat the Sonics the last time they played on an admitted "lucky shot" by Chris Paul.

    2. Al Horford, F-C, Atlanta
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    33 31.1 9.0
    9.8
    1.2 0.9 1.1 .492 .000 .643
    Last Week: 2 | Drafted: 3
    Big Al took his rebounding to another level against the Wizards on Jan. 11, snagging a career-high 19 boards just two nights after corralling 15 caroms vs. the Cavaliers. The next aspect of the game for the 6-10 big man out of Florida to master is staying out of foul trouble as he's been whistled for five fouls in three of his last five games.

    3. Jamario Moon, F, Toronto
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    34 29.4 8.2 6.4 1.0 0.9 1.6 .455 .265 .656
    Last Week: 6 | Drafted: Undrafted
    The biggest story surrounding Moon last week was the 27-year old rookie leaking the news that he's been invited to participate in the Sprite Slam Dunk at this year's All-Star Game in New Orleans. After seeing him throw down during lay-up lines turned impromptu dunk contest in Rome, all I can say is, "Getcha popcorn ready."

    4. Yi Jianlian, F, Milwaukee
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    38 27.8 10.2 5.9 1.0 0.7 1.1 .448 .353 .793
    Last Week: 3 | Drafted: 6
    Yi was 4-for-15 in his last two games, both of them Bucks losses. Despite that fact, HoopsWorld wrote a 2007 Draft Do-Over today and they are of the opinion that Yi would have gone with the No. 2 pick to Seattle if we knew back in June what we know today. Go figure.

    5. Luis Scola, F-C, Houston
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    39 20.2 8.1 5.1 1.2 0.6 0.2 .523 .000 .652
    Last Week: 8 | Drafted: 56 by San Antonio in 2002
    John Schuhmann watches games on League Pass as often as Ty Pennington does something annoying on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition -- that is to say, far too often. Schuhmann's top "tale of the homer announcers" this week comes courtesy of the Houston crew who he heard discussing the potential roster for the nine first-year players in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam. The first announcer said that Scola should be a lock. Fair enough. The second announcer said that Aaron Brooks has a decent shot as well. That's a stretch, but I'll give it to you. The third announcer said that Carl Landry could be considered if he starts to see more playing time. Oh, come on, it's mid January and the guy's only played in six games!

    6. Sean Williams, C, New Jersey
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    32 21.0 7.1 5.3 0.5 0.7
    2.0
    .534
    .000 .671
    Last Week: 4 | Drafted: 17
    Williams had a down week, picking up almost as many fouls (11) in three games as he did points (12). Tonight he faces the Knicks who he averaged 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds against in two meetings this season.

    7. Juan Carlos Navarro, G, Memphis
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    38 23.8 10.4 2.1 2.1 0.6 0.0 .431
    .396
    0.825
    Last Week: 9 | Drafted: 40 by Washington in 2002
    Navarro bounced back from a 2-for-13 clunker against the Kings to score 54 points over his next three games as he went 12-for-22 from downtown. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies lost the game JCN played poorly in as well as the three he played well in. Memphis is 4-18 over its last 22 games.

    8. Mike Conley, G, Memphis
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    14 24.8 8.8 2.4
    4.6
    1.0
    0.0 .455 .346 .686
    Last Week: The Next 10 | Drafted: 4
    The fact that Conley has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games is nice, but the stat that is more impressive is that he hasn't had more than four turnovers in any game so far this season. For a rookie point guard, that's impressive. To get an idea of how impressive, look at the similarly sized Allen Iverson's rookie season where A.I. had five-plus miscues in nine out of his first 14 games, including a game with nine turnovers and another game with 10.

    9. Jeff Green, F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    37 24.8 9.0 5.0 1.3 0.5 0.6 .440 .118 .685
    Last Week: 5 | Drafted: 5 by Boston
    Green had the unenviable task of sticking Kobe Bryant on Monday in the Sonics' 123-121 overtime loss to the Lakers. Sure, Bryant missed 23 shots, but he also made 21 and the game winner. Still, the fact that Green was up to the challenge of sticking KB24 should only serve him well in the future.

    10. Daequan Cook, G, Miami
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    27 21.4 9.1 2.7 0.9 0.3 0.2 .417 .348
    .944
    Last Week: 7 | Drafted: 21 by Philadelphia
    Cook must look up to the rafters in AmericanAirlines Arena and wonder how 2006 could seem so long ago. He was in high school and the Miami Heat were NBA Champions. Now he's in the NBA and the Heat have lost 10 straight.
    RED = Rookie Leader (Must Qualify)

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


    Noteworthy

    Pecherov

    Oleksiy Pecherov (WAS) was No. 9 in the Preseason Rookie Rankings, but missed the first two months of the season because of a hairline fracture in his right ankle. He returned to the court on Jan. 11 and scored nine points on Jan. 15 against the Knicks. Pecherov, nicknamed "Oily" by his teammates, is a regular subject of entertainment in the D.C. Sports Bog. When asked about his 7-0 Ukrainian teammate, Gilbert Arenas told me, "Heís just so happy to be an American. Heís so funny. The only thing weíre trying to break him out of is the cuss words. This is the second foreigner Iíve been with as a teammate, and for some reason, itís like they pick up the cuss words easier. Every other word out of his mouth is something that he isnít supposed to say."
    Joakim Noah (CHI) took his teammate-imposed two-game suspension in stride as he returned to the court on Tuesday and recorded the first double-double of his career with 12 points and 11 rebounds against the Magic.
    The Lakers' seven-game win streak has done more than vault Kobe Bryant to the top of Mo Brooks' Race to the MVP column. It's afforded Javaris Crittenton (LAL) and Coby Karl (LAL) some consistent playing time. L.A.'s frequent leads have given Phil Jackson the confidence to play Crittenton 38 minutes over the Lakers' last four games and Karl has seen spot duty as well.
    D.J. Strawberry (PHX) and Alando Tucker (PHX) are learning the importance of sharing as they continue to take turns occupying the Suns' 12th active roster spot. Strawberry is back in the NBA, recalled by Phoenix after being named the D-League Performer of the Week, while Tucker is averaging 32.7 points per game in three games since being re-assigned to the Albuquerque Thunderbirds.
    Corey Brewer (MIN) may not win Rookie of the Year, but he could take home the Mr. Unpredictable Trophy. Earlier this season he exploded for 38 rebounds over a three-game span from Dec. 6-11 (despite averaging just 3.9 rebounds per game this season), and on Jan. 11 he scored 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting (despite scoring just 16 points total on 6-for-18 shooting in the other six games he's played this month).
    The HNPAMY (Have Not Played A Minute Yet) Club: Herbert Hill** (PHI), Greg Oden** (POR), 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.