Every week, we’ll take a look around the league at how the 2010 rookie class is doing. No, there won’t be rankings; there are enough of those out there. Instead, we’ll look at who’s hot, who’s not, and who will have big weeks coming up.
Blake Griffin — I know, I know, Griffin was on the list last week, but after another solid week, he’s here again. Get used to it. With how easy he’s making it look, he’s likely to stay on this side of things throughout the season. After a fantastic opening week, Griffin continued to put up big numbers with the Clippers, coming a couple buckets and a few boards shy of posting his first 20-20 game in a double-overtime loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday night where he finished with 16 points and 17 rebounds. Had he posted a 20-20 game in just his seventh NBA game … well, yes, this is how good this guy is. The thing about Griffin is how effortless he is making the transition to the NBA game look. With averages of 18 points, 11 rebounds (10th in the league) and two assists per game on 50 percent shooting from the floor, Griffin is already looking like he’s been here before.
John Wall — My goodness. I know, I know, how could I add a rookie who decided to give his home crowd something to smile at and dance rather than “focusing on the game” at hand? How can I put a player who is averaging 5.8 turnovers a game — enough to lead the entire league — on this list? Because he’s badass, that’s why. Coming in second on that turnover list is Steve Nash with five per contest. Bet you weren’t expecting that. Anyway, getting yourself into the record books in game one pretty much ensures you a spot on this list. Wall has been everything we expected him to be while also showing tremendous maturity and awareness both on and off of the floor. His performance against the Sixers was the first time in NBA history that a player has posted a line of 29 points, 13 assists and nine steals. He is also the first rookie since Oscar Robertson to record at least 70 points and 30 assists through his first three games. His 31 assists through three put him in a three-way tie with Damon Stoudamire and Jamaal Tinsley. He’s got the numbers, he’s got the ability, he’s got the whole package. Now, to work on those turnovers. Through seven games Wall is averaging 19.4 points, 9.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game. Those 9.6 assists are good for fifth in the league.
Evan Turner — With Andre Iguodala out of the lineup with a strained Achilles’ tendon, Evan Turner got his first NBA start under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden and he didn’t disappoint. Putting up 14 points and 10 rebounds in 35 minutes of action, Turner helped his team to their 106-96 victory over the Knicks. On the season Turner is averaging 9.3 points and six rebounds per contest.
Eric Bledsoe — Not a huge fan of what I had seen from Bledsoe during his predraft workout with the Toronto Raptors and during his summer session in Las Vegas, I’m happy to see the Clippers rookie slowly getting comfortable and showing the reason why he was taken with the 18th pick in the draft. With Baron Davis sidelined by a sore knee, Bledsoe is getting plenty of time to adjust to the pro game and his numbers have spiked as a result. To date, his best performance came in the Clippers’ double-overtime loss to the Jazz where he put up a 12-point, 13-assist performance. Good enough to earn a congrats via Twitter from former teammate John Wall.
Greivis Vasquez and Xavier Henry — We’re going with the Memphis Grizzlies rookie duo this week and it pains me, because Xavier Henry is at the top of my list for rookies I was looking forward to watching this season. He’s a player who breathes the game and looked happier than anyone on draft night. After all of the contract negotiation drama the twosome went through with the Grizzlies’ front office, I had hoped things would settle in once the season started. That hasn’t happened yet. Henry, the 12th pick in the 2010 NBA draft, is averaging 13 minutes per contest and is scoring 6.2 points per game on 40 percent shooting. Not bad, but with those numbers he’s going to have a hard time cracking the rotation and earning more minutes when the Grizz have O.J. Mayo penciled in for more than 37 minutes per contest. Vasquez has “played” in just two contests this season getting under three minutes of total playing time and is yet to score his first basket as a pro. In fact, the only stat he’s got on his career file is a personal foul. Can’t help but wonder if the D-League may become an option for Vasquez so he can continue to work on his game and get valuable playing time under his belt.
Okay, have to break the rules a little bit on this one and go with the Miami/Boston rematch on Thursday night. With Dexter Pittman, Semih Erden, Luke Harangody and Avery Bradley, it’ll work. Got complaints? Tell me you won’t be watching. Yeah. I thought so.
“He got picked two, I got picked one, so I just wish the best of luck for both of us in our careers,”
— John Wall on Evan Turner
“I thought it was a great idea. I think it will really help the team … because I’m still learning. Coming in off the bench, I can see how the game is, I can learn how aggressive to be and not be. I get the feel of the game a lot better.”
— DeMarcus Cousins showing maturity after being moved from starting lineup to the bench with the return of Samuel Dalembert
“Minor set back for a major comeback”
— Avery Bradley/@Aabradley11