NBA Rookie Class Mock Draft: Version 2.0

Another week, another mock draft, and there has been plenty of movement amongst the guys' selections (hoopsworld.com)

Another week, another mock draft, and there has been plenty of movement amongst the guys’ selections (hoopsworld.com)

After a rousing week of more player profiles and Draft related conversations, Nate and Connor decided to take another stab at a mock draft. Once again, the mock only covers the first round, yet there have been many changes from the week before, including one of the guys’ first overall selections: Continue reading

NBA Rookie Class Draft Conversation: What Should the Cleveland Cavaliers Do?

Could Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and the Cavs use the No. 1 pick, or would they be better trading it away? (cleveland.com)

Could Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and the Cavs use the No. 1 pick, or would they be better trading it away? (cleveland.com)

Here at NBA Rookie Class, we figured it’s about time to start debating, and what better topic than the NBA Draft? In the first ever debate, our insiders Connor and Nate discuss what they think the Cleveland Cavaliers should do with the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Continue reading

NBA Rookie Class Mock Draft: Version 1.0

Where will Shane Larkin, Alex Len, Trey Burke, Nerlens Noel, and Anthony Bennett land? Our writers decide (hoopsworld.com)

Where will Shane Larkin, Alex Len, Trey Burke, Nerlens Noel, and Anthony Bennett land? Our writers decide (hoopsworld.com)

Here at NBA Rookie Class, it’s about time a bit of a rivalry began. Both fortunately and unfortunately, the staff gets along pretty well, and has no qualms with one another. Yet, when it comes to mock draft’s, everyone thinks Continue reading

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Trey Burke

Trey Burke is looking to be the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, but it might not happen (sbnation.com)

Trey Burke is looking to be the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, but it might not happen (sbnation.com)

As much as the NBA is shrinking in stature, size still trumps all. Otherwise, the average fan would have heard Trey Burke’s name many more times by now in regards to who should be selected first overall in next month’s Draft. Burke –who won just about every award this year aside from the Academy Award for Best Actor –even led the Michigan Wolverines back to the National Championship game, something that Continue reading

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Anthony Bennett

Anthony Bennett is seeing comparisons to Cavs big man Tristan Thompson (www.draftexpress.com)

Anthony Bennett is seeing comparisons to Cavs big man Tristan Thompson (www.draftexpress.com)

 

The pure power forward position seems to be somewhat of a dying breed in the NBA today. Many teams are utilizing forwards that specialize in a single area like primarily rebounding, blocking, or scoring, but the combination of the all-around pure power forward hasn’t been seen as often as past eras. UNLV big man Anthony Bennett is bringing some love for the less often seen position back to the league, proving to be the best pure power forward in the draft class and drawing comparisons to the Cavaliers’ Continue reading

NBA Draft Lottery Winners and Losers

Thirteen other fan bases around the league can fume as much as they please, but the fact remains that the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night for the second time in three years. Also, as much as those other fan bases say, the Lottery is –in fact –not rigged (see below).

Yet the order is now set, and every draft prospect who’s hoping to hear their name called on June 27 will probably Continue reading

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!

BBVA Rising Stars Challenge: Rookies Play Well, Chuck Victorious Again

While we were hoping the game would highlight just the rookies of the league, Kenneth Faried and the rest of the sophomores had a different idea.  Faried led Team Chuck to a 163-135 victory with 40 points and 10 rebounds.

While we were hoping the game would highlight just the rookies of the league, Kenneth Faried and the rest of the sophomores had a different idea. Faried led Team Chuck to a 163-135 victory over Team Shaq with 40 points and 10 rebounds. (nba.com)

Team Shaq is going home sad tonight.  For the second time in as many years, Team Chuck came out on top, overcoming the lack of the first overall draft pick for the second year in a row, and not having the opportunity to have Kyrie Irving play for him again this year.

Regardless of which Team you were rooting for tonight, everyone came out a winner.  Both squads featured the best young talent in the league, and it showed tonight…on the offensive side of the ball.  In terms of statistics, this night was fantastic: Team Chuck 163-Team Shaq 135 with both teams shooting at least 62% from the field.  Numbers aside, it was a great way for the nation to see just how much the League’s rookies have grown in their short time in the season.  Here’s a running commentary/breakdown of tonight’s first-half action that can only make us salivate about what’s to come throughout the rest of this weekend: Continue reading

Rookie Rankings: Pistons’ Rookies Kyle Singler and Andre Drummond Impress

Now that everyone has successfully recoverd from the stuffing, turkey, and grandma’s green bean cassarole, it’s time for another week’s Rookie Rankings, leading us right into the most wonderful time of the year.  It’s been a wonderful year for some rookies, but not others.  Did your favorite have what it takes to stay on the list this week?

Pistons rookie Andre Drummond has plenty to be happy about this week, as he worked his way back into our Rookie Rankings (mlive.com)

Pistons rookie Andre Drummond has plenty to be happy about this week, as he worked his way back into our Rookie Rankings (mlive.com)

1) Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, PG

It’s getting harder and harder to find faults with Lillard’s performances.  Game after game and week after week, it seems as though no one will be able to unseat Lillard from this top spot on our Rankings.  Lillard averaged 18.3 ppg and 6.8 apg over four games this week; unfortunately, Damian’s offense couldn’t help the Trail Blazers in all aspects, as the team went 1-3 during this weeks games.
Last week’s ranking: 1 (no change)

2) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats, SF

Kidd-Gilchrist has cooled off ever so slightly, as noticed in his offensive numbers lately (11, 10, 8, 6 points respectively last four games), yet his effort on the defensive side of the ball is still noticed and very much appreciated by the Bobcats.  MKG is still averaging 1.2 spg and 1.4 bpg, very impressive numbers for any SF not named LeBron James and/or Kevin Durant.
Last week’s ranking: 2 (no change)

3) Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors, C

Valanciunas is starting to look like the steal of the Draft…the 2011 Draft, that is.  While Cleveland got a sure-fire All-Star in Kyrie Irving, Minnesota, Utah, and Cleveland are all kicking themselves for passing up on the big man from Lithuania.  J-Val had another impressive week, shooting 54.5% from the field and 75% from the free-throw line, a very impressive number for a 7-footer.  Valanciunas also shot the ball 33 times from the field and 12 times from the free-throw line, so you know those numbers are battle tested.
Last week’s ranking: 3 (no change)

4) Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors, SF

Barnes had himself a solid week of work, including one double-double and one dunk that shocked the NBA world.  While his other numbers may show a still-timid Barnes who is still trying to figure out his role on an ever-evolving Warriors team, plays like the aforementioned show as to why Barnes was drafted 7th overall, and that once he puts everything together, he could be posterizing people like that for years to come.
Last week’s ranking: 4 (no change)

5) Kyle Singler, Detroit Pistons, SF

Singler has shot up our rankings in the last few weeks, moving from an unranked-afterthought to someone who could find themselves still moving up if he continues to perform at this level.  Singler scored in double-digits in three of his four games this week, and also recorded his first career double-double with a 16 point, 10 rebound performance in a 108-101 win over Portland.
Last week’s ranking: 6 (+1)

6) Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers, SG

Waiters must have heard what we had to say about his performance last week.  Waiters immediately began scoring with a higher rate of efficiency, and getting to the free-throw line more, something that he had been doing a poor job of last week.  He’s also helped in other ways during Kyrie Irving absence, including dishing out 4.3 apg, an improvement over his season average of 2.9.
Last week’s ranking: 10 (+4)

7) Jeff Taylor, Charlotte Bobcats, SF

Taylor has been turning heads as of late, and it’s not simply because of his defense.  A solid all-around four-year player out of Vanderbilt, Taylor makes our list due to his increased contributions on the offensive end for the Bobcats; Taylor scored in double-figures in five straight games before only posting 6 points in a loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.  However, Taylor’s confidence has improved greatly, and he’s much more inclined to take a shot now than he was at the beginning of the season.
Last week’s ranking: N/A

8) Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons, C

Drummond fell out of our rankings last week due to some inconsistencies, and because he was out-performed by his fellow rookies.  This week, however, Drummond returns with a mission in mind: defense wins championships…and gets you on NBA Rookie Class’ Rookie Rankings.  Drummond, while horrible offensively this week, has contributed on the defensive side of the ball, averaging 9.8 rpg and 1.8 bpg.  Drummond also recorded his first career double-double with a 13 point, 13 rebound effort in a close 91-90 win over Toronto.
Last week’s ranking: N/A

9) Alexey Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves, PG

Shved’s playing time may quickly dwindle due to Ricky Rubio’s impending return, but Shved surely won’t go down without a fight.  The upstart Russian has averaged 9.8 ppg, 1 spg, and 2.5 apg this week, primarily off the bench.  While it’s Rubio’s job once he returns, Shved still has the opportunity to make his presence known off the bench for the T’Wolves.
Last week’s ranking: 9 (no change)

10) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets, PF

It’s difficult to see a player with so much promise and potential plummet this far in our Rookie Rankings; however, it’s also very difficult to rank Davis much higher than 10th, considering that he hasn’t played in almost two full weeks now, due to a nagging ankle injury.  Should Davis return soon, he could easily find himself ranked much higher.  Should Davis not return soon, he could easily find himself off of this list.
Last week’s ranking: 5 (-5)

Don’t agree with our rankings?  Leave a comment below letting us know who deserves to be where on this list.  Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Rookie Rankings: Anthony Davis Drops, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist Rises Again

As we recover from mounds of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and even more turkey, it’s time to check in with our rookies and see how they’ve performed as of late.

Super-rookie Kyle Singler makes his debut in this weeks Rookie Rankings(freep.com)

1) Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, PG

It continues to amaze me how well and how quickly Lillard has adjusted to the professional level.  He leads all rookies in the following categories: points per game (19.5), assists per game (5.8), and steals per game (1.5).  If teams can’t start to slow him down soon, the Rookie of the Year contest will be over by the time everyone’s done with their Black Friday shopping.
Last week’s ranking:1 (No change)

2) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats, SF

The Bobcats somehow keep winning, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist keeps putting up strong numbers across the board.  Correlation?  You bet.  MKG’s energy and ball pressure on the defensive side of the ball has led to easier looks and opportunities for Kidd-Gilchrist on the offensive end.  While the Cats will probably drop off at some point, don’t expect MKG to do so; don’t expect him to fall very far from this list, either, unless someone is outhustling and outperforming him.
Last week’s ranking: 3 (+1)

3)  Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors, C

Valanciunas must have really good ears.  After ranking fourth last week, Toronto’s new big man has posted two straight double-doubles and three consecutive games with at least one block (not factoring all of the other shots he’s altered).  J-Val’s one weakness so far has been his discipline on the defensive side of the ball, or lack thereof.  Valanciunas has fouled out twice in the past week, and has recorded two other games of four or more fouls.
Last week’s ranking: 4 (+1)

4) Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors, SF

After a rather lackluster start to the season for such a high draft pick, Barnes has seemingly put all the pieces together, scoring at a higher clip, playing tougher defense, and taking care of the ball much better.  Barnes’ improved 11.3 ppg now ranks fifth among rookies, and if he continues to score as he has the past week (12, 20, and 9 in 3 games), that number should only climb higher.
Last week’s ranking: 7 (+3)

5) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets, PF

Anthony Davis has played better than advertised…when he actually plays, that is.  Davis has seemingly caught the injury bug and just can’t seem to shake it.  After dealing with a minor concussion earlier in the season, Davis is now battling an ankle injury (the same ankle that bothered him during the Olympics this summer).  When he’s in the starting line-up, though, teams will soon need to put their best defender on him; he put up 28 points and 11 rebounds in his only game this week, a close 117-113 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-3)

6) Kyle Singler, Detroit Pistons, SF

While fellow Detroit rookie Andre Drummond provided some flash in his game that helped to land him on our Rookie Rankings, Kyle Singler (the super-rookie) is starting to perform at a level that not many anticipated from the former Duke Blue Devil.  Singler recently strung together three straight double-digit point games and, aside from a disappointing 2-point performance against the Magic, looks to keep the numbers up.
Last week’s ranking: N/A

7) Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics, PF

It seemed as though it was only a matter of time before Sullinger started to receive legitimate starters minutes…and the ball.  Sullinger, while being given the nod early in the season to start, has been moved around as Doc Rivers and the rest of the C’s look to find a balance in their offense.  It looks as though more of their offense will need to go through Sullinger now, after posting his first career double-double this week, and shooting an impressive 57% from the field.
Last week’s ranking: N/A

8) Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors, SG

If you give him minutes, he will perform.  Terrence Ross has scored 10 points or more in games in which he’s been given 14 minutes or more; that feat occurred twice this past week, as Ross’s contributions on the offensive end have been efficient and well-needed.  Given more time, Ross can continue to grow as an all-around player; in his most recent game against the Bobcats, the newest Toronto shooter scored 11 points, while also filling the stat sheet with 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, and no turnovers.  Landry Fields should be on his guard, or else he’ll soon be turning over his starting spot to Ross.
Last week’s ranking: N/A

9) Alexey Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves, PG

He’s a foreign point guard for the Timberwolves, and yet his game-play has kept others from asking “How soon will the other foreign point guard (Rubio) return?”  Shved only played once this week (L 101-94 to Denver) but still played well enough to earn himself a second week in our rankings.  Should he continue his strong play until Rubio returns, he will have earned himself minutes even after the better-known foreigner hits the floor again.
Last week’s ranking: 6 (-3)

10) Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers, SG

Dion Waiters continues to make the list, but barely.  Waiters shot an abysmal 25% this week, and hasn’t gotten to the free-throw line as often as of late.  With a big game against the difficult Miami Heat tomorrow night, it doesn’t look as though Dion’s percentages will improve anytime soon.  He can only hope to contribute in other ways to help the struggling Cavs.
Last week’s ranking: 5 (-5)