NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 13, 2008 -- In two days, the best of the best of this year's rookie class (or at least the nine guys selected by the league) will square off with nine sophomores in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge.

The game will probably feature a lot of points, not a lot of "D" and not much of a chance for the rookies to win (the sophomores have won the game the last five years).

While the game will surely be a spectacle worth watching, it's really just an exhibition. What will really count for this year's crop of first-year players are the 30-some odd games that each of them have coming down the stretch to complete their first go-round in the league.

Will they get bigger, faster and stronger or end up being pretenders? (Yes, those were two very thinly veiled Grammy references.)

While we're asking questions, here are the 10 burning questions on my mind about this year's rookie crew heading into the final third of the season:

Line of the Week
Jared Dudley (CHA)
Feb. 8 vs. NJN
15 points, 5 reb
6-7 FG, 2 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk Video
1. What happened to the whole "Acie Law is Atlanta's savior at point guard" idea?

2. Is Joakim Noah a proven winner with exceptional will, grit and determination, or is he a hyperactive garbage man with an ugly jumper and even uglier hair?

3. Can Al Thornton continue to climb the rankings and become a threat to Durant and Horford for Rookie of the Year?

4. Will Joe Dumars get the credit he deserves for integrating Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo into the Pistons program to breathe new life into an aging team?

5. Who will be the last man standing in the HNPAMY club?

Dave's Picks
T-Mobile Rookie Challenge:
Kevin Durant
Haier Shooting Stars:
Phoenix
Playstation Skills Challenge:
Deron Williams
Foot Locker 3-Point Shootout:
Peja Stojakovic
Sprite Slam Dunk:
Jamario Moon
All-Star Game (most points):
Carmelo Anthony

Make Your Picks!

6. Will Glen Davis ever get enough consistent minutes to warrant a top 10 spot in the rankings?

7. Will my nickname "Odysseus" for Jamario Moon catch on like when Kenny Smith called a young Shawn Marion, "The Matrix"?

8. How many 50-point games does Morris Almond have to drop in the D-League before he gets another chance in the Jazz rotation?

9. Who is the best 27-year old rookie -- Moon, Luis Scola or Juan Carlos Navarro?

10. Who has the highest ceiling? Sure Durant is only 19-years old, but so is Thaddeus Young ...

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  • Korleone Young slide of the week: J.C. Navarro (-2).
    Eddie Gottlieb rise of the week: A. Thornton LAC (+3).

    Overall Rankings - Week 15

    1. Al Horford, F-C, Atlanta
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    47 31.4 9.3
    10.0
    1.2 0.9 1.0 .469 .000 .659
    Last Week: 2 | Drafted: 3
    Why does Horford deserve to overtake the No. 1 spot from Durant 15 weeks into the season? Let's take a quick look at the résumé through 47 games: 23 games with 10 boards or more (including eight games with 15-plus bounds), 17 games of 10-points or more, 14 games with two blocks or more, nine games with two steals or more and the Hawks would be in the playoffs if they started today. If that's not enough, he has already lapped his father's production as a NBA player several times over. Tito Horford had 93 points and 84 rebounds in his three-year career, while his son already has totals of 435 and 468.

    2. Kevin Durant, G-F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    49
    33.1
    19.4
    4.1 2.3 0.9 1.1 .402 .287 .865
    Last Week: 1 | Drafted: 2
    Last week consisted of one game, one loss and 10 missed shots on 12 shot attempts for Durant Durant. When he's at his best, there's no rookie in his realm. The problem is, KD's "best" only seems to come around once every four games or so. The only award you should be in the running for if you're performing at 100 percent in only 25 percent of your team's games is the Cy Young, I'm sorry.

    3. Luis Scola, F-C, Houston
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    51 21.5 8.5 5.3 1.2 0.6 0.2 .512 .000 .602
    Last Week: 4 | Drafted: 56 by San Antonio in 2002
    Houston has won 11 of its last 12 games and Scola has upped his production during that span to 9.8 points and 5.9 rebounds while stepping into the starting lineup. With two stars in Yao and McGrady, two glue guys in Battier and Scola and two more talents in Alston and Wells, the Rockets are a team that the rest of the West doesn't want to draw come playoff time.

    4. Al Thornton, F, L.A. Clippers
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    46 22.1 10.2 3.6 0.9 0.5 0.4 .426 .333 .702
    Last Week: 7 | Drafted: 14
    Thornton is climbing up the rankings at a rapid rate after averaging 20.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in three games last week - two of them ending in Clippers wins. The only young pup to have a better week was Uno the dog.

    5. Jamario Moon, F, Toronto
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    46 28.2 8.1 6.1 1.1
    1.0
    1.4 .455 .290 .688
    Last Week: 3 | Drafted: Undrafted
    Is Jamario Moon a better player or a better story? In support of the "player" argument, Odysseus had versatile outputs of 16 points vs. the Clippers, eight points on 4-for-4 shooting and two blocks against the Timberwolves and eight points and eight rebounds against the Spurs last week. In support of the "story" argument, consider the fact presented to me by D-League expert Matt Brennan: Moon only averaged 5.0 points in 59 games in the Developmental League! Your numbers are supposed to be inflated in the minors, not the other way around.

    6. Sean Williams, C, New Jersey
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    47 21.0 7.5 5.5 0.4 0.5
    1.9
    .543
    .000 .622
    Last Week: 6 | Drafted: 17
    Will the future core of the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets feature Williams at the five, Josh Boone at the four, Boki Nachbar at the three, Antoine Wright at the two and Devin Harris at the one? More importantly, is that a good team? If Williams keep swatting MVPs like in this picture, I think the team will be OK.

    7. Juan Carlos Navarro, G, Memphis
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    51 25.5 10.8 2.6 2.2 0.6 0.0 .419
    .386
    0.814
    Last Week: 5 | Drafted: 40 by Washington in 2002
    Navarro has been in and out of the starting lineup this season and I don't think Coach Iavaroni has settled on what version of JCN helps the team more. Is it the starter who pours in 14.2 points per game, but shoots .403 from the floor and .361 from three, or the substitute who scores 9.1 per, but is more accurate with percentages of .432 from the floor and .407 from deep?

    8. Thaddeus Young, F, Philadelphia
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    44 17.1 6.5 3.8 0.6 0.7 0.2 .519 .250 .705
    Last Week: 9 | Drafted: 12
    We know about Florida's and Ohio State's representation in last summer's draft, how about some ink for Georgia Tech? Thaddeus Young is coming on strong and Javaris Crittenton dropped 10 points in his third game with the Grizzlies.

    9. Yi Jianlian, F, Milwaukee
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    50 27.1 9.6 5.8 0.9 0.6 1.0 .433 .286 .831
    Last Week: 7 | Drafted: 6
    Yi was relegated to the bench, but it looks like he could be back in the starting five now that Charlie Villanueva is resting a sore ankle. More games like the 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting and five rebounds he had on Monday, and the starting spot will be his to lose.

    10. Rodney Stuckey, G, Detroit
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    26 16.0 5.7 1.7 2.4 0.9 0.0 .394 .143 .756
    Last Week: The Next 10 | Drafted: 15
    Stuckey is finally showing the type of game that had draft pundits comparing him to a young Dwyane Wade last spring. He appears fully recovered from the broken left hand that sidelined him for the first six weeks of the season as he scored in double figures (while shooting .615 from the floor) in three Pistons wins last week.
    RED = Rookie Leader (Must Qualify)

    The Next 10 (alphabetical order): Corey Brewer (MIN), Aaron Brooks (HOU), Mike Conley (MEM), Daequan Cook (MIA), Glen Davis (BOS), Jared Dudley (CHA), Jeff Green (SEA), Carl Landry (HOU), Joakim Noah (CHI), Nick Young (WAS)


    Noteworthy

    Davis

    Glen Davis (BOS) helped preserve the Celtics' perfect 16-0 start against the West this year by coming up huge against Tim Duncan in the Spurs with Kevin Garnett out with an abdominal injury. Big Baby put up nine points, eight rebounds and three steals in the contest.
    Mike Conley (MEM) is back from a chest contusion and had a solid week as he averaged 11.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in three games.
    The HNPAMY (Have Not Played A Minute Yet) Club: Herbert Hill** (PHI), Greg Oden** (POR), Ramon Sessions* (MIL), Marcin Gortat* (ORL), JamesOn Curry* (CHI) and Adam Haluska** (NOH)
    * = 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.