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.
Wesley Johnson — The Timberwolves swingman is on our list after putting together a solid start to his rookie campaign. Reaching double-digit scoring in his last three games, Johnson is averaging 10.7 points per contest. Logging 29 minutes of action per game, he is looking more and more comfortable at the NBA level and is being rewarded by his coaches. In his last two contests, Johnson received 37 and 36 minutes of burn and in the Wolves most previous loss, a 111-105 decision to Atlanta, he was left on the floor until he fouled out with nine seconds remaining. Getting valuable experience in crunch time situations will accelerate Johnson’s learning curve.
Eric Bledsoe — After being named an honorable mention in this column last week, Eric Bledsoe continues to impress. Although his total numbers on the season won’t blow you away (9.4 points, 5.2 assists), the point guard has been steadily stepping his game up since that 12-point, 13-assist performance in the Clippers loss to the Nuggets. In Bledsoe’s most recent contest, a disappointing loss to the Pistons, he finished with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. He also added a steal and a block. While teammate Blake Griffin has been the bright spot for the Clippers, Bledsoe’s also providing reason to smile. He’s doing it efficiently, too. Shooting 50 percent from the floor and 45 percent from beyond the arc, Bledsoe’s been a pleasant surprise.
Landry Fields — Yes, the Knicks have been about what I expected from them. Currently on a five-game losing streak, the team that gave up 31 boards to Kevin Love isn’t so happy as of late. Landry Fields, though, is a pretty thankful guy. Starting all 10 of the Knicks games this season, Stanford alum Fields is averaging 9.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest. He’s also shooting 57 percent from the floor in his 27 minutes of action each night. In that historic game against Love and the Timberwolves, Fields had his best game as a pro, finishing with 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists and three steals. Bet you didn’t expect Fields to be one of the biggest storylines for the Knicks in November. I know I didn’t.
DeMarcus Cousins — After starting out the season with some noteworthy performances, DeMarcus Cousins has been demoted from his starting spot and has slowed a bit, statistically speaking. In the four games he has played since giving up that starting role, he has turned the ball over 14 times and has not reached double-figures. The positive is that his rebounding numbers have remained strong. The negative is the news that Cousins was fined for some words he had with an assistant coach. Coming into the draft with concerns about his maturity, the Kings took a chance on Cousins because of his talent. This is a slight hiccup, but hopefully that is all. With head coach Paul Westphal showing support for his rookie, it’s time for Cousins to slow down when he is on the floor, pick his shots wisely and learn to take care of the ball.
New York Knicks at Sacramento Kings — Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET
With two of the rookies mentioned in this column featured, this is a game to make sure you watch. Will the Knicks be able to turn things around on the road? Currently in a five-game slump, they will head to Denver before taking on the Kings in Sacramento. Can Fields continue to impress in his starting role? Will Cousins take a breath and take his time when he hits the floor against Amar’e Stoudemire and the Knicks? I’m waiting for a big breakout game from Cousins. It sure would be fun to see it happen against Amar’e.
#shoutout to the UK girls for winning today!!!
— John Wall (@jimmywa11), showing what an inconsiderate young man he is by taking the time to think of others.
“I think it’s going in the right direction. We have a great relationship. He’s a very honest player. He tells you what he thinks, and I’m an honest coach,” Westphal said. “I will not lie to him, and I’ll tell him when I think he’s doing well and I’ll tell him when I think he needs to work on something. And he’ll tell me what he thinks about what I think, and we’ll work it out. That’s what happens, and I like our relationship.”
— Paul Westphal on his relationship with DeMarcus Cousins
“I swear that’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get…That’s a huge accomplishment, especially at a young age.”
— Derrick Rose, talking about John Wall’s first career triple-double
John Wall’s first career triple-double against the Rockets in the Wizards’ 98-91 victory: 19 points, 8-for-16 fgs, 2-for-4 3pt fgs, 1-for-2 fts, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, 1 turnover, 6 steals, 1 block, 41:59 minutes.