Pooh Jeter — Because we’re trying to get away from the obvious Griffin/Fields/Wall trio, we are going to go with some not so obvious choices in this week’s Rated Rookies. How about a little love for our older, undrafted rookies?
One of our Hot rookies is Pooh Jeter of the Sacramento Kings. While Jeter has only played in nine games this season, he was a big part of an almost-comeback loss against the Clippers last week. Scoring all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Kings gave the Clippers a scare, Jeter finished with 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in just 17 minutes of play. He followed that performance up by scoring 13 points in a victory against the Wizards where he shot 50 percent from the floor and went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He also dished a career-high nine assists without a turnover. Not a bad week for Mr. Jeter.
Gary Forbes — Another undrafted rookie who has had a pretty good week is Gary Forbes. A 25 year-old first-year man for the Nuggets, Forbes is averaging 13 minutes per game on the season, but with Carmelo Anthony sidelined for two games last week with knee tendonitis, it was Forbes who slid into the starting spot. In a win against the Raptors — the victory that gave George Karl his 1000th career coaching victory — Forbes scored 15 points, including 13 in the third quarter where the Nuggets pulled away. Forbes also added six rebounds, an assist and two steals, while filling in for Anthony. He’s only averaging 6.5 points and two rebounds per game, but he’s earning the admiration of his coach and respect of his teammates.
Evan Turner — I’ve tried my best to stay away from putting Turner in this category, but when the number two pick in the draft is averaging almost the same amount of points per game as Gary Forbes, his time has come to be in the “Not” section.
In an average of 24 minutes per game, Turner is putting up 6.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and two assists per game. While Turner hasn’t been terrible, he hasn’t been very memorable, especially of late. Turner has reached double-figures just once in his last five games and was scoreless in two of his last five because he was stuck on the bench for most of the game. Here’s hoping the rookie can dazzle his coaching staff in practice, earn his minutes back and start putting numbers on the board again soon.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Philadelphia 76ers — On Wednesday night the Clippers will head to Philly to take on the Sixers. Blake is always fun to watch, but the Clippers also have Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu. The Sixers, of course, have Turner, who I’m hoping will have a solid week of performances to get himself out of the “Not” category of this column.
While the Clippers are still losing, each of their five victories has been fun to watch and most of their 20 losses have also been fun. (At least, all of Blake’s dunks during those losses have been fun.) The Sixers are coming off of an 18-point win against the Hornets, a game where Turner was relatively quiet, although he did connect on 3-for-4 field goals. Let’s see if we can have some solid rookie performances in this one on Wednesday night.