Landry Fields — Mr. Fields has already been on this list, but after watching him live yesterday afternoon, he has to be on here again. Fields was recently given the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award for November, surprising some people who thought that John Wall would be the easy choice. While Wall could have been given the award just as easily, it was nice to see Fields get some shine for being so damn consistent for the Knicks in his first year.
Currently on a seven-game road winning streak, the Knicks are on the come up and Fields is a big part of that. Starting every game for his team so far this season, Fields has proven himself to be a reliable presence on the floor. He is always there, always calm and always finding a way to get to the glass and rebound while hitting those open shots that are available for him. Against the Raptors yesterday afternoon, Fields collected his sixth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He also added three assists and steals.
On the season Fields is averaging 10.8 points, 7.4 rebounds per game. He is also shooting a stellar 53.7 percent from the floor, leading the league at the guard position. Not bad for a second round pick at all.
Blake Griffin — We’re a broken record when it comes to this guy and I suppose we should have seen this coming, but how can we write about rookies balling out of control and not include Blake G? A quick look at his averages over his past five games: 24.8 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, one block and at least two earth-shattering slams per contest. It’s almost getting silly. It’s like there is a permanent “Blake Watch” in effect while watching Clippers games. We wait for him to do something to amaze us and give our DVRs a workout as we rewind each highlight.
While the Clippers are struggling mightily at 4-17 on the season, Griffin is only getting better and more consistent as the games go on. We’ve all seen his game above the rim, now he’s starting to show off the rest of his game. In a loss to the Jazz last week, Griffin finished with a line of 35 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists while shooting 62 percent from the floor. He’s putting together a remarkable rookie season, regardless of his team’s record.
Al-Farouq Aminu — While his rookie teammates (Griffin and Eric Bledsoe) are balling, Al-Farouq Aminu is still struggling to adjust to the NBA game. While he is starting for the Clippers, he isn’t producing as much as I had hoped or as much as you would expect from the eighth pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging just 7.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Pretty underwhelming.
I think what’s more is that Aminu doesn’t really jump out at you when watching him play. Perhaps some of that is because of the stellar play of Griffin, but Bledsoe — this year’s 18th pick — is also out-performing Aminu and that is one thing I did not expect at all. Here’s hoping the rook out of Wake Forest starts piecing things together soon.
Timofey Mozgov — After opening the season starting for the Knicks, Timofey Mozgov has all but fallen off of the face of the basketball universe. Mozgov has topped 10 minutes just three times in his last six games and is now averaging 2.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. What’s worse, the 7-foot-1 big man is shooting a horrendous 38 percent from the floor.
The Knicks were able to get 10 minutes out of him in a game against the Raptors yesterday afternoon while Amar’e Stoudemire was in foul trouble, and press row was buzzing about how the team had dodged a bullet by being able to bridge the gap with those 10 minutes from Mozgov. Not the kind of talk you’d expect after he was starting the season for the team.
Clear your schedules and/or set your DVRs: John Wall and the Wizards take on Landry Fields and the Knicks this Friday. With home games against the Timberwolves and Raptors on tap this week, New York will take their seven-game road winning streak to the Verizon Center to see if they can keep things going. Wall will face the rookie who won the Rookie of the Month award that many thought would be his.
Yes. This is one to watch.