Rookie Impact: Golden State’s Success Hinges on Barnes, Green, and Ezeli

It’s difficult to ask for a rookie to help carry an NBA team in the postseason. Yet instead of just one rookie, Golden State will need the help of three.

The Warriors' rookies played big the other night; now it's time for them to take over (www.nba.com)

The Warriors’ rookies played big the other night; now it’s time for them to take over (www.nba.com)

Harrison Barnes, the 7th overall draft pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, along with Draymond Green (35th overall) and Festus Ezeli (30th overall) will be expected to contribute beyond their years if the Warriors hope to advance past their Conference Semifinal matchup with the well experienced San Antonio Spurs.

Aside from the Zen-like sorcery-type comeback that the Spurs pulled off in Game 1 (where they came back from a double-digit deficit to win 129-127 in double overtime), the rookies seem more than up for the task at hand.

Barnes finished Game 1 with an impressive Continue reading

Rookie Impact: Bucks’ Henson Not Given His Due

This one is already in the bag.

After last night’s resounding 12-point victory in favor of the champs, this one is in the bag.

Heck, this one was in the bag after Game 1.

Even worse, this series was over before the first round best-of-seven matchup even began.

Maybe it's time to let Milwaukee's young buck John Henson throwdown (jsonline.com)

Maybe it’s time to let Milwaukee’s young buck John Henson throwdown (jsonline.com)

With that in mind, why is Milwaukee continuing to start the struggling veteran Luc Mbah a Moute over the suddenly-hot rookie John Henson?Henson, the 14th overall pick out of the University of North Carolina in the 2012 Draft, has faced his share of trials and tribulations throughout his rookie campaign. Only playing in 63 of the Bucks’ regular-season contests, Henson averaged 6.0 ppg and 4.7 rpg in 13.1 minutes per contest. Per 36 minutes, Henson’s numbers would inflate to 16.5 ppg and 12.9 rpg, along with 1.9 bpg.

Yet, for whatever reason, the Milwaukee brass Continue reading

Rookie Recap: New York Knicks’ Chris Copeland, Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard Awarded Kia’s Rookies of the Month

Copeland joined Jamario Moon, Ivan Johnson, and Jeremy Lin as undrafted rookies to receive Kia's monthly honor. (knicks.lohudblogs.com)

Copeland joined Jamario Moon, Ivan Johnson, and Jeremy Lin as undrafted rookies to receive Kia’s monthly honor. (knicks.lohudblogs.com)

The two most outstanding rookies of April –and possibly the two biggest surprises of the 2012 NBA Draft –were awarded the Kia Rookie of the Month Award on Friday. The winners, Chris Copeland of the New York Knicks and Eastern Conference recipient and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Western Conference recipient, were by far the most dominant rookies of the month of April. Both players posted multiple career-highs during the month (Copeland for points and minutes played, and Lillard for points and blocks) and gained plenty of experience that should carry over into next season.

Copeland, an undrafted rookie from Colorado who’s traveled far and wide to make it to the NBA, was not expected to deliver much off the bench when the season began; however, due to a combination of timely shooting, injuries, and sudden retirements, Copeland has made his presence in New York felt, and should be a key contributor for the Knicks in their first-round playoff matchup with the Boston Celtics. Continue reading

Rookie Recap: Oklahoma City Thunder’s Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones III Reassigned

Despite strong performances in their season finales, both Lamb and Jones III have been reassigned to Tulsa (thelostogle.com)

Despite strong performances in their season finales, both Lamb and Jones III have been reassigned to Tulsa (thelostogle.com)

After career games in the season finale against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, Oklahoma City’s rookies Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III found themselves in transit to Tulsa for the first round of the D-League Playoffs, as the 66ers take on the Rio Grande Vipers.  While it’s unfortunate that the rooks won’t be in attendance for OKC’s first round matchup with the Houston Rockets -where they could have witnessed the playoffs first hand and possibly play some off the bench -it will be better for both players to gain some postseason experience, regardless of the level of competition. Continue reading

NBA Regular Season Finale Recap: Lillard Leads Surge, Copeland, Henson, and Moultrie All Deliver

For many basketball fans, yesterday seemed most likely seemed like the end of a long and trying journey. Fourteen teams now ready themselves for May 21st, when they hope that they can call themselves winners in one of the wackiest annual games of ping-pong known to mankind; sixteen more will continue to battle for league supremacy and the NBA Championship.

Damian Lillard has impressed the entire year, and didn't let up in the season finale. (bleacherreport.com)

Damian Lillard has impressed the entire year, and didn’t let up in the season finale. (bleacherreport.com)

Meanwhile, here at NBA Rookie Class, our season is neither ending nor our postseason beginning; instead, we’re simply savoring the continued excellence of so much new talent in the league, and the bright future so many individuals have –whether they are playing for a ring or not.Yesterday’s regular season finale offered the average viewer minimal opportunities to watch their team’s stars play, as many squads took the time to let their veterans rest. And while the veterans are away, the rookies will come to play. Continue reading

Rookie Recap: Trail Blazers’ Future On Display, John Jenkins Struggles

By now, most franchises have a general understanding of whether or not their team has made the playoffs (unless you’re Utah –which always seems to have every game and season decided in the 11th hour –and Los Angeles –which has a flair for the dramatics).

For some, it is a time to rest the stars and let the kids go out and play, as was the case for the Atlanta Hawks last night. Continue reading

NBA Trade Deadline Reports: Thomas Robinson Blasts Off to Houston

A mere eight months after being drafted by the Sacramento Kings, Thomas Robinson is on the move.  According to reports by Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com, Robinson has been traded from the Kings to the Houston Rockets, along with G/F Francisco Garcia and SF Tyler Honeycutt.  In return, the Kings will receive PF Patrick Patterson, C Cole Aldrich and PG Toney Douglas.

After only eight months in Sacramento, Thomas Robinson is on the move.  He will now battle fellow rookie Terrence Jones for playing time in Houston (sbnation.com)

After only eight months in Sacramento, Thomas Robinson is on the move. He will now battle fellow rookie Terrence Jones for playing time in Houston (sbnation.com)

In another move, Houston is sending SF/PF Marcus Morris to the Phoenix Suns for a second round pick.  Morris, who wasn’t receiving much playing time in a loaded frontcourt for the Rockets, will now be reunited with his twin brother Markieff out in the desert.With all these moves in mind, Robinson (averaging 4.8 ppg and 4.7 rpg) will now have a chance to make a bigger impact on a rotation elsewhere.  While Sacramento was a seemingly perfect place for the youthful big-man (drafted 5th overall in June out of Kansas), he was never really given the opportunity to flourish; in Robinson’s 51 games this season, he never started a single contest and only averaged 16 minutes per game. Continue reading