Shot Clock Violation: 24 Things We Learned on Nov. 25

As we all know, teams have 24 seconds to get a shot off.  Some times, teams are successful; other times, they fail miserably.  Here at NBA Rookie Class, we plan on succeeding time and time again in bringing you the 24 best, worst, and most interesting things that our NBA rookies did from that day’s games, or the night before.

1) Jonas Valanciunas played like a veteran.  22 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 assists.  He made his other foreign Toronto big man Andrea Bargnani look extremely useless, as Bargnani finished 2-of-19 from the field for a total of 4 points.

2) Valanciunas has now issued at least one block in his last five games.  The big man knows how to play defense.

Andre Drummond really, really, really likes playing defense (probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com)

3) Some other rookie big men also know how to play defense.  Detroit’s Andre Drummond had three blocks including this nice one against Carmelo Anthony.

4) Drummond still doesn’t have a clue on offense, as he went 1-of-6 from the field, finishing the game with two points.  Offensively, he’s just challenged.

5) Drummond’s rookie teammate (or super-rookie) Kyle Singler is far from offensively challenged.  Singler finished the night with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting (2-of-4 3-point, 4-of-5 free-throw) and 3 rebounds.

6) Singler needs to stop fouling.  He had five fouls tonight, the fifth time this season that he’s had 4 or more fouls in a game.  Too many fouls will start to equal too much bench time, and not enough development.

7) Detroit’s Kim English is ineffective in only four minutes of play, but that’s on the coaching staff for not playing him enough.  It’s also difficult to make a difference with only two shot attempts, as well.

8) English should ask the Knicks’ Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland, as the two of them know a thing or two about limited opportunities.  The two Knickerbocker rookies only had 5 attempts between the two of them in 16 combined minutes of action.

9) Evan Fournier of the Nuggets excelled with his few shot attempts.  2-of-2 from the field; however, it took Fournier 11 minutes to get those looks, showing that the team still isn’t that confident in his abilities.

10) The Orlando Magic also didn’t give 15th overall pick Maurice Harkless many looks tonight.  Harkless scored 5 points on 2-of-3 shooting, but the Magic coaching staff must like what they see, as Harkless received the nod to start tonight.  Harkless showed his appreciation by contributing on the defensive end with 3 rebounds, a steal, and a block.

11) Andrew Nicholson came off the bench for the Magic, and was extremely efficient offensively: 4-of-6 shooting from the field.  Nicholson, however, needs to work on his aggressive nature on the defensive side of the ball so that he too can one day start for Orlando.

12) Playing off the opposing bench, Jared Sullinger scored 11 points and pulled down 6 offensive rebounds.  With numbers like that, it seems that Sullinger could be in the starting line-up again very soon.  The personal fouls, though, need to be taken care of (4 fouls in 20 minutes of play).

13) Austin Rivers is trying to work his way back into New Orleans’ starting line-up as well.  He’s not having much success, however: 2-of-10 from the field with 3 turnovers.  Rivers did fill out the stat sheet quite nicely, though: 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and a block.

14) Anthony Davis didn’t play.  Again.  That doesn’t bode well for his future, as injuries this early can never be a good sign.

15) You know you’re good when someone refers to a night during which you scored 13 points and handed out 7 assists as a “bad night”.  Portland’s Damian Lillard did struggle with ball control (4 turnovers) and getting open shots (blocked 3 times), but anytime a rookie point guard can make a heads up play such as this, the turnovers and blocks against become afterthoughts.

16) Lillard also recorded 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.  Even when we try to find faults with his game, he still plays an all-around great game.

17) It’s nice to see Lillard’s rookie partner-in-crime Meyers Leonard getting a few starts.  Leonard scored 12 points and added 3 rebounds and a block.  Given more time to develop as a young big in the league, Leonard could be recording double-double’s in no time.

18) Only time will tell if several Lillard-to-Leonard alley-oops will be highlighted on this site, but it sure would be nice to see some.

19) All rookies combined tonight posted a -72 +/-rating.  Granted, one player can’t be accounted for a whole team, but that number does not look very appealing.

20) At least some rookies played.  Detroit’s Khris Middleton, Boston’s Kris Joseph and Fab Melo, Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn, Denver’s Quincy Miller, Phoenix’s Kendall Marshall, and Brooklyn’s Tornike Shengelia didn’t get to hit the court at all.  A few of the aforementioned weren’t even allowed to dress.

Arnett Moultrie needs more time to develop, something that Philly hasn’t been giving him (nba.com)

21) Philadelphia’s Arnett Moultrie probably would’ve been better off not playing.  He was only given 7 minutes off the end of Philly’s bench, and wasn’t given many opportunities to do anything.

22) Considering Moultrie lead the SEC in rebounds per game last year (not Anthony Davis, as many assume), it’s surprising Philly isn’t giving him more playing time.

23) It’s still surprising that Anthony Davis is out with an injury; it’s not a good sign for longevity in the league.  Just ask Greg Oden.

24) It’s even more surprising that this list made it to 24 things…even if this one isn’t extremely official.

Thanks for reading.  You can comment about any one of the 24 “things”, or bring up something that we failed to mention.  We’re always looking for opinions and ways to improve.

Also, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Rookie Impact: Drummond Records Four Blocks, Henson Injured

Yesterday was a great day to be big.  Young bigs all around the league found themselves contributing to their teams in preseason action yesterday, as we creep steadily closer towards the regular season opener on October 30th.  With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of some of the rookies’ performances from yesterday:

Player(s) of the Game:

This award goes to three rookies who played well yesterday in the limited time they saw: 28th overall pick Perry Jones III of the Oklahoma City Thunder, 54th overall pick Tornike Shengelia of the Brooklyn Nets, and 9th overall pick Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons.  Jones III had 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting with 5 assists of the bench for OKC.  Shengelia led the way with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in 26 minutes of play.  Drummond also played well off the bench, scoring 9 points in 17 minutes off the bench.  Drummond’s most impressive stat of the night, however, might have been his 4 blocks; Drummond was also foul free for the evening.

Jones III has increased his scoring output in all three games with an improved shooting percentage each game.  Jones III also flashed a bit of his all-around game yesterday with the assists, to go along with 4 rebounds, a steal and a block.  Jones, who was sometimes criticized going into the Draft for not putting in the effort at the collegiate level, has been pleasantly surprising this preseason.  Much of his work, however, has been during the abscence of key players, meaning that his minutes (and, therefore, his numbers) will probably drop when certain players return.

Very little has been said about Shengelia this offseason, as the Nets clearly have a set starting rotation with several key backups (MarShon Brooks, Andray Blatche) already in place.  Yet Shengelia showed as to why he should be left on the roster as a possible 11th or 12th man to provide depth and a scoring spark at multiple forward positions.

Drummond’s impressive night has also helped to quiet doubters who have said he’s not ready for the next level.  Drummond’s plus-minus on the night was +24, a sign that he worked well with everyone he stepped on the court with last night, and that his 4 blocks truly made a difference.

End of the Bench, Rook:

Charlotte rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a rough outing last night with only 3 points on 0-of-4 shooting in 18 minutes of starter’s play last night.  While Kidd-Gilchrist grabbed 5 rebounds, it was all-for-naught in helping Charlotte’s cause, as they fell hard to the Oklahoma City Thunder.  MKG will continue to get the starts as he is the best available option for the Bobcats, but it seems he’s now reaching the inevitable “struggle-bus” of being a rookie.

Keep an Eye On:

Robert Sacre of the Los Angeles Lakers recorded another start for the Purple and Gold.  With Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill both out with injuries, Sacre is gaining valuable experience with some of the best in the league, including Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, and Paul Gasol.  Sacre was also a very efficient 2-of-3 from the floor last night with 4 rebounds and a block.

Kyle O’Quinn showed off his skills as a big man, recording four blocks and eight rebounds last night.
(bigstory.ap.org)

Kyle O’Quinn of the Orlando Magic also showed off his intangibles side last night.  While O’Quinn struggled from the floor shooting only 2-of-7, he did record 8 rebounds and 4 blocks, further cementing his value to the team, even as the 49th overall draft pick.Also, John Henson of the Milwaukee Bucks suffered a knee injury during yesterday’s matchup against the Chicago Bulls, when he collided with teammate Mike Dunleavy going for a rebound at the end of the 3rd quarter.  The terms of the injury were undisclosed, but Henson did not return to the game.

A big day for the big men.  What will they do next?

Rookie Impact: Davis makes his debut, Beal shines amid loss

Yesterday was the first taste of many for the incoming rookie class.  The top three draft picks all saw playing time, and faced much more serious competition than they’ve previously seen in college and the Summer League.  Here’s a breakdown of the rookies’ performances from yesterday’s games:

Boston Celtics 105 — Emporio Armani Milano 75
Washington Wizards 88 — Charlotte Bobcats 100
Miami Heat 79 — Atlanta Hawks 92
Orlando Magic 80 — New Orleans Hornets 85
Golden State Warriors 110 — Los Angeles Lakers 83

Boston Celtics 105 — Emporio Armani Milano 75

All four Celtics rookies saw action against their European opponent yesterday.  Jared Sullinger, who got the start, led the way with 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block in 18 minutes of play, as he tries to work his way into a permanent role as a starter.  Kris Joseph and Fab Melo only scored a combined 2 points in 12 minutes, as the starters and other bench players ahead of them on the depth chart (i.e., Jeff Green and Darko Milicic) had much more productive afternoons, giving the rooks little time to show their stuff.  Also, super-rookie Dionte Christmas saw some solid action coming off of the end of the C’s very deep bench; he recorded 9 points and 4 rebounds in only nine minutes of play.

Washington Wizards 88 — Charlotte Bobcats 100

Charlotte’s second overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist squared off against third overall pick Bradley Beal’s Wizards, with the upstart Cats getting the win, thanks in part to MKG’s effort on the defensive end.  This steal led to an easy two points, en route to Kidd-Gilchrist finishing the day with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals.  Fellow rookie Jeffrey Taylor scored a single point in a mere two minutes of action.  Beal, however, had the most impressive numbers on the day, as he led all scorers with 18 points off of the bench.

Miami Heat 79 — Atlanta Hawks 92

The returning champion Heat feature no incoming rookies on this years roster, and all those on the Hawks roster were healthy scratches in yesterday’s lineup.  First round pick John Jenkins, second round pick Mike Scott, and super-rookie Keith Benson all observed yesterdays matchup, in what one assumes is a ploy by head coach Larry Drew to have the players watch and learn before hitting the hardwood.

Orlando Magic 80 — New Orleans Hornets 85

First overall pick Anthony Davis made his preseason debut with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in 23 minutes as a starter as he and fellow rookie Austin Rivers (10 points, 1 assist) helped contribute to a late comback by NO.  Darius Miller also added 5 efficient points off the bench in a quick eight minutes of work.  The Magic’s incoming rookies Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn didn’t experience as much success, as the two combined for 4 points off the bench in 24 minutes of work.  Fifteenth overall pick Maurice Harkless (received in the Dwight Howard trade) is recovering from a sports hernia and did not play.

Golden State Warriors 110 — Los Angeles Lakers 83

Two of Golden State’s three rookies played high-efficiency games in the teams win over the Dwight-less Lakers.  Festus Ezeli recorded 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block and a plus/minus of (+20) on the day, while Harrison Barnes scored 13 points off the bench and finished with a plus/minus of (+22).  The Warriors’ other rookie Draymond Green sat out the game with left knee inflamation.  In Dwight’s place, the 2012 Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant Robert Sacre got the start in Superman’s place and finished the day with 6 points and 4 rebounds, but also 4 fouls in only 18 minutes.  Sacre did, however, score off a beautiful highlight reel pass from Steve Nash.  Other Lakers rookie Darius Johnson-Odom played a brief six minutes, recording only 2 points.

It’s the Final Countdown

We are on the verge of a big breakthrough…not necessarily a medical breakthrough, but a big one nonetheless.

We are just days away from NBA training camps opening in colleges and universities across the country (and in Halifax, Nova Scotia, of course).  This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

Well, not exactly.  Everyone’s still waiting for opening night, but training camp is close enough.  It’s also the perfect time for rookies across the league to begin to integrate their Summer League experience with the rest of their teammates.  It also gives undrafted players an opportunity to find a long term home with an organization.  A few key names to keep an eye on over these next few weeks, for one reason or another, are:

Anthony Davis: The Brow will make his much anticipated NBA “debut”, as he squares off against much stiffer competition than the competition he faced in the Olympics (see: Latvian bench warmers).

Lillard proved his worth in the Summer League. Now he’ll have to prove himself again the rest of the NBA.
(eugenedailynews.com)

Damian Lillard: The prospective point guard of the future in Portland, Lillard had an extremely impressive Summer League, as he showed he could play with all the “big boys” from major collegiate conferences.  Now, he will once again have to prove doubters wrong as he squares off against more than just his incoming rookie class.

Jae Crowder, Draymond Green, Quincy Acy, and Kyle O’Quinn: These four have possibly the most to gain in training camp.  All four play a very blue-collared style game; strong defense and a strong will that results in stuffing stat sheets to no end.  All four were drafted in the second round, yet they all have a decent shot at making their teams rotation based off of their hard work and will power.

Training camp is a time for the incoming rookies to show what they can bring to the table before the season begins.  It’s their final shot.

It’s the final countdown.