NBA Rookie Class Welcomes Own Rookie

Every superhero is only as good as his sidekick. Well, even if it’s not true, I’d like to think that’s how Nate Brown (founder of Rookie Class) and myself operate when it comes to the NBA. As the newest member of the Class, consider these my first playing minutes off the bench where you can get a taste of what I’m all about.

My name is Connor Getz, and I am currently a senior at Springfield College majoring in Communications/Sports Journalism. Along with my love of basketball I have a natural knack and passion for the world of entertainment. I write TV show and movie reviews for MassLive.com’s Entertainment section and for the campus newspaper, The Springfield Student. My campus endeavors also include directing and producing the SCTV3 live weekly news show. My favorite TV show is Lost, and my favorite movie is Silence of the Lambs, but let’s get back to ball.

Growing up in a family with extremely little sports interest (especially NBA) gave me the blank slate I needed to choose my own teams and favorite player, however, that loss of influence prolonged my love of sports and basketball until I was 10. For Christmas I got aDarius_Miles PlayStation 2 and it didn’t take long to get my hands on NBA Live 2003 with Jason Kidd on the cover in a (then New Jersey) Nets jersey. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with basketball in a time when the NBA Live franchise was much stronger than it is now.Rather quickly, my passion for the Cleveland Cavaliers grew exponentially fueled by the athletic Darius Miles. Despite his short career and problems both on and off the court, he was my hero and is responsible for my extreme loyalty to the wine and gold.

The question I receive most often is: “Are you still a Cavs fan without LeBron?”, to which my answer is: “I was a Cavs fan before LeBron, I’ll be one long after”.

It’s especially fitting my first post is today as Cleveland has won the first overall pick in the draft for the second time in the last three years. I love what they’ve been doing to rebuild. Drafting Kyrie Irving was huge, Dion Waiters has provided the necessary firepower, Anderson Varejao was starting to make huge changes in his all-around game before his season-ending injury, the trade with the Grizzlies gave them Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington who are excellent relief from the bench, and role players like Tristan Thompson and C.J. Miles are beginning to get comfortable in their roles as well.

The player talent is obviously there and the young guns are beginning to blossom, but the head coaching position has left me scratching my head for a few reasons. First of all, Mike Brown was fired the year that LeBron took his sorry keister to Miami which is understandable because Cleveland wanted to do a lot of cleaning of the James-era to start over fresh. Cue Byron Scott, a phenomenal talent during his players years and two-time Coach of the Year.

Over his short two-year stint with the Cavs, Scott seemed to be responsible for the 9219285-largeincreasing talent of the players as individuals and as a team, that’s why there’s no surprise that fans as well as Scott himself were shocked to hear that he was fired just last month. But, for who? Mike Brown is back and it’s by no means a move that I’m upset with, but genuinely confused by. Give Scott the reigns of a young, up-and-coming team in the Eastern Conference and then strip it away for the return of the man you fired only two years ago. The formula is mind-boggling, but all I know is that as long as Kyrie is still the general, Cleveland is in good hands.

I’m excited to be a part of NBA Rookie Class, and am thankful Nate has brought me on! It’s going to be fun bringing you guys all the latest on the great young talent in the league. Don’t forget to follow me individually on Twitter @C_G_FOE and NBA Rookie Class on Facebook and Twitter @NBARookieClass.

For continued coverage of the NBA’s rookies, keep visiting NBA Rookie Class. Also, stay tuned as we begin to look towards the next year of rookies and the 2013 NBA Draft!

Conclusion of NBA Regular Season Provides Opportunities for Rookies

Houston's Terrence Jones drives against Detroit's Greg Monroe.  Jones has played well as of late, which could lead to more playing time in the postseason (kentuckysportsradio.com)

Houston’s Terrence Jones drives against Detroit’s Greg Monroe. Jones has played well as of late, which could lead to more playing time in the postseason (kentuckysportsradio.com)

The National Basketball Association is days away from concluding its regular season in fine fashion, with plenty still left to play for in these final hours. Teams are still jockeying for position in the postseason field, the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz are still both desperately trying to make the postseason, and the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats will be duking it out (in separate games) to see who claims the title of Most Futile Franchise for the 2012-2013 season.

With so much taking place in the seasons’ final days, it’s easy to forget that there is still plenty more at stake for the NBA’s rookies. Continue reading

Anthony Davis: Still Down and Out

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The first-overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft Anthony Davis is still out with an ankle injury. (www.bleacherreport.com)

It appears as though fans in New Orleans will continue to have to bide their time before they get to enjoy the full potential of their team’s first overall draft pick.

Anthony Davis, who is out with a stress reaction in his left ankle, will be out with the injury for Continue reading

Rookie Impact: Looking Back While Looking Ahead

It was quite a preseason, to say the least.  The Toronto Raptors were an Eastern Conference-best 6-1, the Los Angeles Lakers were an NBA-worst 0-8, and the rookies came out to play.

With the preseason officially coming to a close Friday night and everyone resting before tomorrow night’s season opener, it’s time to review the top performances from the league’s newest members in the final Rookie Impact before tip-off.

Player(s) of the Preseason:

Damian Lillard lead the Class of 2012 with an impressive 16.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, and an impressive 5.8 apg.  His point total was higher than that of any other rookie, as well as his output of assists.  Lillard also showed consistency in his play by never scoring fewer than 12 points in a game and averaging no less than 3 assists per game.

Anthony Davis should have an enjoyable rookie season, where he could challenge for DPOY, and ROY is between him and Lillard. (ksrcollege.com)

Anthony Davis is living up to his draft expectations, as he average 14.9 ppg and 9.9 ppg for the New Orleans Hornets during the preseason.  He was also third among rookies in blocks per game with 1.57 behind only Jonas Valanciunas and John Henson.  While Davis sometimes struggled to put the ball in the basket (2-for-12, 4-for-12, etc.), his effort on the defensive end was obvious, and helped the Hornets to a 4-4 finish.

Undrafted rookie Chris Copeland earned himself a roster spot with the New York Knicks after averaging 15.5 ppg for the New York Knicks with a .517 clip from the field.  Copeland should be able to spell Carmelo Anthony should he fall flat during a game, or need long periods of rest.  Copeland is also very accurate from the free-throw line, shooting 81% during the preseason.

Jared Sullinger proved that he can play with the big boys of Beantown.  While he didn’t record a single double-double in the preseason, Sullinger filled the stat sheet on an otherwise deep roster, showing that he can play when other stacked teams come to town.  Sullinger also impressed head coach Doc Rivers, which is not an easy task, as Rivers has been impartial to younger players in the past; Sullinger earned the coach’s trust, and could be the starting power forward for doing so.

End of the Bench, Rook:

Charlotte’s second-overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist struggled mightily during the preseason as he averaged only 5 ppg.  It’s hard to expect much out of MKG offensively, given that his jump shot is still developing, and that Charlotte is now focusing more on the defensive side of the ball.  Yet it’s hard to see MKG battling for the all-rookie first-team at the end of the season if his offensive output doesn’t improve.  His defensive intensity, however, and overall knowledge of the game will help him to remain involved as he works through his growing pains.

Kendall Marshall of the Phoenix Suns also had a frustrating preseason.  The North Carolina product averaged a mere 3 points per game this preseason.  Marshall, who was drafted to coincide with Steve Nash leaving, is expected to be the point guard of the future for Phoenix.  Yet it is clear that the team doesn’t think he’s ready just yet, especially with Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola in their primes, and Michael Beasley finally starting to play better basketball.  Give him time, though, and Marshall should excel as he did at UNC.

Golden State got an absolute steal in the draft when the polished collegiate product Draymond Green fell to them at 35 overall.  Green, however, didn’t get a lot of court time, and his numbers suffered greatly because of it.  The Warriors’ rookie only averaged 3.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 1.8 apg.  For someone coming off a triple-double in his last NCAA Tournament, Green has quite a lot of competition to get back to that level of productivity.

Dallas drafted Jared Cunningham with the thought of him taking over for either Jason Terry or Vince Carter in the long run, due to his solid shooting skills, and his athletic ability.  Yet the Mavs, who are in win-now mode, signed O.J. Mayo this offseason, which limited Cunningham’s minutes.  The Mavs’ first-round pick only averaged 3.9 ppg, 1 rpg, and 0.9 apg.  While he has the time on the bench, Cunningham should be asking as many questions as he can of his veteran teammates now, so that he can take over for them when the right time comes.

Keep an Eye On:

While Cunningham struggled, his teammate Jae Crowder had a very enjoyable preseason.  Crowder, who found himself starting several games due to injury, took advantage of the opportunity and could also start the season opener due to a lack of big men.  The Marquette alum averaged 11.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and led all rookies with 1.88 steals per game.  Expect the rookie’s defense to keep his name in constant conversation throughout the season for the all-rookie first-team.

With John Wall out for six or so more weeks, Bradley Beal will have a lot of pressure from hardcore Washington fans to produce for the team.  Beal, though, is up for the task.  While his play was inconsistent throughout the preseason, he still finished with averages of 11.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, and 2.5 apg, and should provide Washington with a wonderful two-guard for years to come; for now, he will most likely fly under the radar without Wall by his side, but it’s probably best for him to focus on his play rather than the critics.

Andre Drummond had a productive preseason coming off the bench for Greg Monroe.  While not expected to do much, Drummond had an exciting month of putback dunks and alley-oops.  Yet his defense was the most exciting part, as he had multiple games where dunks and rebounding looked as second nature to the man as breathing.  Drummond’s role probably won’t expand much in his rookie campaign, but if he can consistently deliever 8 to 10 points and 7 to 9 rebounds off the bench, Detroit could have found themselves a solid big-man in the making.

Halftime Entertainment

Seeing as it’s about that time of the week where everyone can’t wait for Friday to come, it seemed like as good a time as ever to introduce a new segment to the site: the halftime entertainment.  Every Wednesday, a new goofy and strange NBA photo will be posted to the site, and the person with the funniest caption will win bragging rights for the next week.

This weeks picture is of the Orlando Magic’s DeQuan Jones after being fouled by the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan:

What’s so funny about this picture? You tell us.
(bigstory.ap.org)

The winner will be announced next Wednesday as a new picture is released.  So keep those funny ideas flowing, as bragging rights are on the line.

Leave your caption in the comment section below.

Blog is Such a Dirty Word

I assure you, this will not be me, sitting at a computer in my parents’ basement, telling you that my opinions are “right” all the time. (www.harkable.com)

In this day in age, there are several types of journalists.

There are the up-and-coming, who aspire to be the next Bill Plaschke, Jackie MacMullan, or Red Smith, who aren’t quite there yet.  Whether they need a bit more experience before they get to that next level, or they just need they’re big break, they just haven’t made it yet.

And then there are the bloggers.  It’s hard to know where to begin to analyze this crew, but I do know this: they sure aren’t professional.

I’m not talking about an up and coming journalist who’s created their own blog in the hopes of improving their opportunites for hire after college (i.e. me), and to enjoy what they’re doing (i.e. also me).  I’m referring to the blogger that sits in their parents basement, uses some of the worst grammer anyone in the 21st century has ever seen, and always seems to have the “right” or “correct” opinion on everything (when in reality, all they do is complain about everything).

The technical term for this…entity…that I’m working with is usually referred to as a “blog”.  However, I’d like to break the cycle of poorly produced, basement-originated blogs by seperating myself from the rest of them.

I’d rather not refer to this as a blog at all, but rather an up-and-coming website produced by an up-and-coming journalist.So here’s what you’ll find on this up-and-coming site: NBA Rookies.  And all of them.

This is a site dedicated to the new kids on the block who will take on some of the biggest names and the best games in the league night after night, and how they handle what is to come there way.  Whether it’s the first encounter Anthony Davis has with LeBron James driving down the middle of his lane, or Harrison Barnes launching his first game-winning three-point shot, this site is for all the big moments these rookies will experience, and the little moments that make their journeys so special along the way.

So stop on by every once in a while.  There will be new material up every few days, and plenty for you to discover and enjoy in the meantime.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy NBA Rookie Class.

These gentlemen will be playing the big boys faster than they can say “Rookie of the Year”. The only thing to make their rookie campaign complete is some well-rounded media coverage…and that’s where I come in.
(espn.go.com)