SECAUCUS, NJ, April 16, 2008 -- Kevin Durant started the season with the rest of the rookie pack in his rear view mirror and ends the year the same way, only now the objects are a lot closer than they appear.

After Greg Oden went down with microfracture surgery in September, Durant's main competition for the Rookie of the Year trophy was out of the picture.

With a glistening resume that included relevant job experience of being the first freshman to ever be named the NCAA's national player of the year and a summer internship practicing with USA Basketball, it seemed like ROY was Durant's before he ever stepped onto the floor.

Well, it turns out Durant didn't win the award in October -- Al Horford with his double-doubles and Luis Scola with his inspired play in Yao's absence made sure that it wasn't a one-man race -- but, he did win it in March.

The month that killed Caesar breathed new life into Durant.

And what a month it was, especially after a February when it appeared that KD ran into the fabled "Rookie Wall" harder than a guard defending the guy bringing the ball up the court and getting dropped to the floor by a blindside pick.

The 19-year old put up 21.8 points on .526 shooting in March and seemed to really "get it." Instead of forcing up threes from a distance he'd yet to become comfortable with, he made like Rip Hamilton and worked the midrange game. When the midrange game wasn't there, he used his quickness and his length to get to the foul line where he's already established himself as one of the game's best charity collectors.

If Durant ends up as one of the game's all-time greats, there is something appropriate about being named Rookie of the Year. It means you were above your peers from Day 1. Cut from a different cloth. A horse of a different color. Destined for something more.

Line of the Week
Ramon Sessions (MIL)
April 14 vs. CHI
20 points, 24 ast, 8 reb, 1 stl, 7-12 FG,6-7 FT Video
He didn't run away with the top spot, but he certainly earned it. He dealt with a rotating cast of teammates, a fanbase that went from being described as "ecstatic to have a young talent like Durant" to "depressed that they could lose that same young talent along with their team", playing shooting guard when he was a forward in college, being hoisted up as the team leader whether he liked it or not and carrying the responsibility of being the only player the media and the opposing teams cared about when the Sonics came to town.

I have a feeling this is just the first stop along the road paved with success for Durant.

  • E-mail your feedback
  • Korleone Young slide of the week: Green, Moon, Noah (-1).
    Eddie Gottlieb rise of the week: Stuckey, Thornton, Young (+1).

    Final Overall Rankings - Week 24

    1. Kevin Durant, G-F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    79
    34.5
    20.0
    4.2 2.4 1.0 0.9 .424 .286
    .873
    Last Week: 1 | Drafted: 2
    In the end, despite all the jostling and criticism, Durant occupied the No. 1 spot for 17 out of the 24 weeks this season. If the much ballyhooed draft class of 2007 is going to end up having an '84, '96 or '03-sized impact on the league in the future, it's going to be Durant leading the way.

    2. Al Horford, F-C, Atlanta
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    80 31.4 10.2
    9.7
    1.5 0.8 0.9 .500 .000 .729
    Last Week: 2 | Drafted: 3
    The Rookie of the Year race isn't as tight as the almost impossible-to-pick league MVP contest this year (unless you pick Kobe, in which case you'd be making both the easy and correct decision), but there are still a fair share of basketball writers calling for Big Al to take KD's ROY trophy. I spoke to SLAM's Russ Bengston the other day and he was convinced that averaging 10 rebounds as a rookie is far more impressive than scoring 20 points per game. We made like Burgandy and Corningstone and agreed to disagree. This ranking isn't meant to slight Horford at all. I mean, Tiger Woods finished second to Trevor Immelman at The Masters last weekend and nobody is going to hold that against him in the grand scheme of things. Horford has a bright career ahead of him full of many more potential first-place finishes.

    3. Luis Scola, F-C, Houston
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    81 24.6 10.2 6.4 1.3 0.7 0.2 .511 .000 .671
    Last Week: 3 | Drafted: 56 by San Antonio in 2002
    Scola doesn't finish in the top two, not because of his age or his unconventional shooting form or his early season inconsistency, but because Durant and Horford just had better individual years. Plain and simple. Not that Scola has anything reason to hang his head after stepping up in the absence of Yao Ming and performing as a key cog in the Rockets' historic 22-game winning streak.

    4. Al Thornton, F, L.A. Clippers
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    78 27.3 12.9 4.5 1.2 0.6 0.5 .432 .333 .743
    Last Week: 5 | Drafted: 14
    It will be interesting to see if Elton Brand and Corey Maggette are still wearing the Clippers' red, white and blue next season (they both have player options in their contracts). If they aren't, Al Thornton is the odds-on favorite to become L.A.'s go-to guy and the face of the franchise.

    5. Jamario Moon, F, Toronto
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    77 27.8 8.5 6.2 1.2
    1.0
    1.4 .485 .325 .741
    Last Week: 4 | Drafted: Undrafted
    After having his shooting percentage hover around the .500 mark all season long, Moon went 6-for-21 (.286) in four games last week. Nevertheless, his rookie season will be remembered for how he seized an opportunity and made the most of it, going from Jamario -- formerly of the Albany Patroons to Jamario -- the man who got everybody to tune in to the Sprite Slam Dunk contest to see him try to jump over the moon.

    6. Thaddeus Young, F, Philadelphia
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    73 20.8 8.1 4.2 0.7 1.0 0.1 .538 .267 .733
    Last Week: 7 | Drafted: 12
    "A lot of people say I play like Lamar Odom and Tayshaun Prince," Young told me last month in Philadelphia. "They're left handers who can handle the ball a little bit, are versatile and mix in left-hand hookshots and stuff like that and like to get off the ground quicker than their opponents." After Young averaged eight points and four rebounds in just 20 minutes per game this year, it's already safe to say that the Sixers got away with a draft day steal by picking him at No. 12. If he ends up getting to Odom or Prince's level, Philly will have gotten away with draft day grand larceny.

    7. Jeff Green, F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    79 28.0 10.3 4.7 1.5 0.6 0.6 .423 .276 .741
    Last Week: 6 | Drafted: 5
    He started 51 games and came off the bench in 26. He had brilliant nights (35 points against Denver, 8-for-8 shooting against Cleveland) and blunderous ones (4-for-13 shooting with six turnovers against Washington, 0-fers against San Antonio, Atlanta and Utah). He may have been the second best rookie on his team, but he certainly had a better season than the vast majority of the rest of the rookie field.

    8. Rodney Stuckey, G, Detroit
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    56 18.8 7.6 2.2 2.8 0.9 0.1 .405 .188 .807
    Last Week: 9 | Drafted: 15
    Thanks to the Pistons clinching the No. 2 seed with weeks to spare and his left hand fully healing from an early-season break, Stuckey's minutes spiked in April as Detroit rested its veterans. He enjoyed an impressive month, averaging 14.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

    9. Joakim Noah, F, Chicago
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    73 20.6 6.5 5.6 1.1 0.9 0.8 .479 .000 .688
    Last Week: 8 | Drafted: 9
    Noah will be the first to admit that it's been a bit of a rollercoaster year getting adjusted to life in the NBA, but give him credit for sticking to his guns and never settling for losing. In the end, he built character and might have already carved out a niche as a leader on the Bulls and becoming a true leader as a rookie is just as hard as averaging 20 points or 10 rebounds.

    10. Ramon Sessions, G, Milwaukee
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    16 24.8 7.0 3.2 7.1 0.9 0.2 .400 .400 0.789
    Last Week: The Next 10 | Drafted: 56
    Who would have thought back in December when Yi was in the top five and Sessions was in the D-League that the fifth to last pick in the 2007 Draft would end up as the highest ranked Milwaukee rookie when the season came to a close? Sessions earned his spot with a tremendous finish to the season -- five double-digit assist games in his last six games out including an NBA season high 24 dimes against the Bulls on Monday.
    RED = Rookie Leader (Must Qualify)

    The Final Next 10 (alphabetical order): Corey Brewer (MIN), Mike Conley (MEM), Daequan Cook (MIA), Glen Davis (BOS), Spencer Hawes (SAC), Carl Landry (HOU), Juan Carlos Navarro (MEM), Sean Williams (NJN), Nick Young (WAS), Yi Jianlian (MIL)

    Noteworthy

    Hill

    The HNPAMAY (Have Not Played A Minute All Year) Club: Herbert Hill** (PHI), Greg Oden** (POR), JamesOn Curry* (CHI)
    * = assigned to the D-League
    ** = injured


    ROOKIE RECORDS  
    STAT 07-08 GAME 07-08 AVG 07-08 TOTALS ALL-TIME GAME ALL-TIME AVG ALL-TIME TOTALS
    Points 42
    Kevin Durant
    SEA
    20.3
    Kevin Durant
    SEA
    1,624
    Kevin Durant
    SEA
    58
    Wilt Chamberlain
    PHI '59-60
    37.6
    Wilt Chamberlain
    PHI '59-60
    2,707
    Wilt Chamberlain
    PHI '59-60
    Rebounds 22
    Aaron Gray
    CHI
    9.7
    Al Horford
    ATL
    785
    Al Horford
    ATL
    45
    Wilt Chamberlain
    PHI '59-60
    27.0
    Wilt Chamberlain
    PHI '59-60
    1,941
    Wilt Chamberlain
    PHI '59-60
    Assists 24
    Ramon Sessions
    MIL
    7.5
    Ramon Sessions
    MIL
    222
    Mike Conley
    MEM
    25
    Ernie DiGregorio
    BUF '73-74
    Nate McMillan
    SEA '86-87
    10.6
    Mark Jackson
    NYK '87-88
    868
    Mark Jackson
    NYK '87-88
    Steals 5
    Four Players
    1.0
    Jamario Moon
    TOR
    80
    Jamario Moon
    TOR
    8*
    Brevin Knight
    CLE '97-98
    2.6
    Dudley Bradley
    IND '79-80
    211
    Dudley Bradley
    IND '79-80
    Blocks 8
    Sean Williams
    NJN
    1.5
    Sean Williams
    NJN
    108
    Jamario Moon
    TOR
    10*
    Dikembe Mutombo
    DEN '91-92
    Josh Smith
    ATL '04-05
    5.0
    Manute Bol
    WAS '85-86
    397
    Manute Bol
    WAS '85-86
    * = STATS LLC only carries stat back to 1991-92

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

    Rookie Rankings Weekly Leaders
    Preseason: Al Thornton, Clippers
    Week 1: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 2: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 3: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 4: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 5: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 6: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 7: Al Horford, Hawks
    Week 8: Al Horford, Hawks
    Week 9: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 10: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 11: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 12: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 13: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 14: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 15: Al Horford, Hawks
    Week 16: Al Horford, Hawks
    Week 17: Al Horford, Hawks
    Week 18: Al Horford, Hawks
    Week 19: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 20: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 21: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 22: Kevin Durant, Sonics
    Week 23: Kevin Durant, Sonics