Rookie report: Disappointments and a surprise ROY
Updated: December 11, 2006, 12:17 PM ETBy John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
Earlier this week, our Chris Sheridan wrote about a number of players who were in the NBA last year and aren't this year. Want to know why they're gone? Because a bunch of rookies came in and replaced them. Think of it as the birth and death cycle for NBA careers -- a new generation comes in and, in equal numbers, the old one leaves. This year's new generation isn't exactly off to an eye-popping start, as many of the top first-round picks were drafted more with an eye toward long-term development than immediate impact. Nonetheless, we've played about a quarter of the season already, so it's time to take stock. Obviously, in a draft like this one with so many players who were picked more for what they can do in 2009 than what they can do in 2006, it's way too early to start pegging guys as busts, steals or anything in between. But what we can do is come up with some loose groupings to describe their progress so far, especially when compared to the expectations for these players heading into the season. I've done that below for every first-round pick who's in the league (sorry, Oleksiy Pecherov fans, you'll have to wait 'til next year), as well the second-rounders, Europeans and other hangers-on who are getting regular minutes. (I stress the latter part; you'll see no updates on the Chris McCrays or Robert Hites of the world in this column. Maybe their fans can hold a candlelight vigil with the Pecherov fan club or something.) Here's one man's analysis of how they stack up so far, including the worst, the best, and my pick for Rookie of the Year (so far): The Disappointments They all came in with high hopes, but all have seen their PERs in single digits for most of the season: Adam Morrison, Bobcats: Look, we knew he'd be fairly one-dimensional, but lordy. This guy makes Lara Flynn Boyle seem well-rounded. Morrison is a 6-9 forward playing 35 minutes a night, and yet he's grabbed three offensive rebounds the entire season. While I'd expect the 38.5 percent shooting mark to improve, Morrison's marks of 2.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists aren't nearly enough to offset his occasional scoring outbursts. In fact, his 4.5 rebound rate is the worst of any player 6-7 or taller, and only one player bigger than 6-3 (more on him below) is worse.